Raise the minimum wage
$21/hour should be the minimum wage – as it is in Denmark – if there is universal public health care, adequate pensions, subsidized child care and free universal education from pre-school through graduate school, as there exists in the Nordic countries. If these things are lacking, then the minimum wage needs to be even higher – much higher. We are far below the standards required for a decent society, even in Canada, where the quality of life is ranked as being among the highest in the world. The US, of course, is on a race to the bottom; and with repeated, ever-deepening funding cuts and austerity measures, Canada and most of Europe are racing to follow along on the same path. It is the corporatization of society, and the creation of a new feudal age. The current direction is bleak. Time to reverse the tide.
When CEOs “earn” up to $50,000 an hour or more, when the richest 1% pay little or no tax, and when large profitable corporations typically pay less tax than their lowest paid employees – and at the same time, governments give away hundreds of billions, and in the case of the US government, trillions of dollars in subsidies and bailouts to the biggest banks and corporations, then two things are clear: one, our present socio-economic system is radically unjust, and favours the richest few at the expense of the vast majority, who are being driven systematically into the growing underclass; and two, there is enough money available to make the minimum wage a living wage, and not merely a slave wage.
Make the richest 1% and the large corporations pay their fair share of tax; tax pollution and end payroll taxes which create a disincentive to hiring and employment; reduce or eliminate taxes on employment-generating small and medium size businesses, the poor and the middle class; and raise the minimum wage now. There are no more excuses.
September 11, 2014