Monday November 18, 2013, 2:12 am
What is your net-worth? Most Americans answer with a number representing the stuff they have accumulated. I disagree. My net-worth is that I inform people of my political opinions, with the facts that support them, and I give my time to help prisoners learn to become pro-social citizens and succeed in their communities when released. Vulture Capitalism values only those things that generate profit and/or accumulate wealth. A group in Switzerland is taking a completely contrary approach. It’s what I would call a REAL living wage, because it’s a wage just for living.
Monday November 18, 2013, 2:27 am
seriously, I am drowning , after losing everything during the 2010 ecocrash..my fault...after being laid off, I had to take 2007 wages and was laid off again this last spring, because of the sequester and the company is in it's 5th bankruptcy(no crying for them, they are just "working the system"!..I am the one out to lunch and not a penny to pay for it)...I will survive and we will, cuz we will not shutup until we get a wage that reestablishes the middle-class!
Monday November 18, 2013, 6:30 am
"Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear. Economists, needless to say, are sharply divided on what would reappear in its place — and whether such a basic-income scheme might have some appeal for other, less socialist countries too."
One of my favorite books suggests this same approach, world wide, because we have the resources and ability to do it. The argument that comes up about it immediately is that no one would work, ever again. What comes along with the idea is a 10% flat tax on earnings, nothing more, no sales taxes, etc. The argument that no one would do anything is shot down by admitting that some would be content to do little but that most would not be content with a minimum life style and would want, choose, to work because they'd be able to retain their earnings, less the 10%, and there is an inherent drive in us to achieve. So some wouldn't, so what? Most would want more than three meals, a few clothes and a bed in a dorm of some kind. I agree, I think most would want something more than that. And we already have those who would do nothing and who are a drain on all governments. It suggests that the challenge is not to make everyone equal, but to give everyone the basic assurance of survival with dignity, so that each may have the chance to choose what more they want from there. When in doubt, always choose the route compassion offers. It sounds utopian, or socialistic but it isn't really. It simply assures the basic survival of all and the opportunity to strive for more. I think most would opt for me - that is in our nature or we would not have come this far. This idea would simply end the suffering of the world's have-nots while allowing for greater achievement by all who wish it. We could do that, if we chose to. End suffering, famine, death by starvation or lack of health care, all that would be required is to choose it. We're a bit away from that choice, but I think it viable, and compassionate.
Monday November 18, 2013, 6:34 am
A REAL living wage.....imagine how things would change if every business voluntarily paid a REAL living wage! Imagine the impact on welfare programs? Business in general? Talk about ''trickle down".......
Monday November 18, 2013, 7:14 am
Denmark is at the top of happiest countries in the world and no one is left without a living wage there with the blend of programs they have. Henry Ford raised everyone's wages exponentially: he recognized the best way to increase the market for his cars was to make the cars affordable to the people who worked for him.
Monday November 18, 2013, 7:17 am
"The best customer of American Industry is the well-paid worker"- FDR This, of course, applies to all countries and what is so sadly ironic and utterly STUPID is that if the greedy would realize this and apply it, they would become even richer.
Monday November 18, 2013, 7:25 am
Well, this is a surprise. Not so much the idea of a living wage for everyone; this has been discussed in different countries in Europe (among them Holland, of course ;-) ) when economic times were much better than they are currently. But the fact that this comes from Switzerland is surprising, which is certainly not known for its socialism, quite the contrary and despite what the article might suggest.
The European financial crises has changed things for Switzerland too. Many Swiss have realized that their economy was too dependent on their (international) banks and, because they are not a member of the European Union, they are on their own when banks topple. Perhaps this has also lead at least 125,000 to consider more socialist notions like a living wage. I would like it to make a majority vote in a referendum, that would greatly increase chances of a renewed discussion in the Netherlands, but I doubt it will and if it does, Swiss parliament is not likely to implement it.
The discussion in Switzerland will take place, however and with that the way people look at work, remuneration for work and what makes an economy tick, will change. And that is a very good thing and something that could be very beneficial for any country, including the US.
But I can just imagine what will happen if someone just dared to mention ‘a living wage for everyone’ around a Tea Partier. Perhaps spontaneous combustion can happen after all?
Congressmen receive automatic pay adjustments every single year. They're getting their raise, now when do our struggling low-wage workers get their fair treatment? Opponents of raising the minimum wage either don't know that the cost of living has continued to go up or they simply don't care whether working folks can make ends meet. In the past thirty years the minimum wage has been increased 3 times, or to be more correct, barely increased. Congress has not represented the needs or beliefs of the American people in the last 30 years, and out of laziness or a surrender to what seems too big to change, most vote name recognition or party. If the republicans had shown themselves to be honestly fiscally responsible, one could almost under this, but fiscal responsibility and republican make an oxymoron.
Each of us are an untapped power house of social activism. Americans are often reluctant to be the ONE that stands out. I am reminded again, of the one man that many of you will remember, the man that stood alone, without a sign, without support and without speaking he stood in front of the Chinese tanks. No one knows if is he in China returned to his simple life, in a prison or dead - which the government strongly denies. That one man, that lone act of courage began the take down of a miserably repressive regime. The Chinese people have not forgotten his act of bravery verses the government reaction against those peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square. I'm not suggesting that the American government is the same, though if anyone is paying attention, the threat has been growing for some years. The power is moving from the people to the government. From the time Reagan began this unrelenting attack on American works we have allowed the government to grow in power.
There is no logical or reasonable answer to this solid wall of resistance to increasing the minimum wage. Well, I suppose the "logical" reasoning is that if one is a paid agent provocateur of the wealthy, we can not expect them to act in the interest of this country. It is possible to trim the budget and still act in the best interest of the people, significant increase in the minimum wage is a darn good beginning.
The only reason for people working a full time job and still be the working poor is this lack of a minimum wage that meets the needs of the cost of living in today's real life world. Other than the obvious reason that our Congress acts not in the best interest of We The People, but rather for the largest corporations and the wealthy that buy them with campaign donations.
Monday November 18, 2013, 7:58 am
I just hope the Swiss definition/proposal of living wage doesn't get confused in the US with the US initiative to raise to minimum wage to become more of a living wage.
Monday November 18, 2013, 9:06 am
"There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich." ~ Marlene Dietrich
You are very rich, Tom, as are many here despite our bank accounts saying otherwise.
Monday November 18, 2013, 9:38 am
Thanks TC – if only the obscenely rich could let go their death-grip on just a few of their billions, people could be given self respect again with a living wage – I do agree.
Monday November 18, 2013, 9:48 am
Henri de Saint-Simone, in his 1835 tract,"The New Christianity," suggested that religion "Should guide the community toward the great aim of improving, as quickly as possible, the conditions of the poorest class."
I am an Atheist, but this advise sounds golden to me.
I hope this thing really gains traction.
Monday November 18, 2013, 10:20 am
Oh, great, now I wanna move to Switzerland….well, it's still in the Scandinavian sector, so, I'm still good with it! :)
I love their cheeses too!
Being a Socialist I have no problem whatsoever with their porposal, and noooooooooooooo, it would NOT creat 'lazy' people. Well, we will alwayshave a few who would game the system, but that is in all countries and in all races so that's a non-starter for the nay-sayers. If everyone did have a LIVING wage check from the Gov't, people who care for their elderly or disabled child or spouse at home, would have more of the means to lighten the burdens of everyday living in this country. It would also be fitting to finally frikken PAY the HOMEMAKERS a wage for staying home, caring for their families, taking care of the home and doing the chores that women, and house-husbands, do and currently get nada for all their toils or sacrifices. It is not easy to do these days and still be considered 'just a housewife'. That needs to end.
It would also help those in abject poverty in this country of abundance to actually be able to breathe and possibly find a way up and out of it when their daily needs are finally met. It would help those who currently are working but not able to save a penny, they could then save more than a penny…which would help the economy. Some would finally be able to pursue college or go out and get a job if they can or wish to. But….as we all know….this is but a pipe-dream in our country, there is too much Fascism afoot and the obscenely rich are not about to help out anyone other than themselves. But it is a nice dream to have.
Monday November 18, 2013, 10:51 am
Wonderful concept. No-one should be hungry and without shelter in this Country. Elders could be cared for by a family member and not forced into Nursing Care before their time. Children could have the benefit of a parent at home to make sure homework is done, that they are getting the guidance they need, and the stimulation to all of the businesses if people had a few coins to go around for food, fixing their teeth, so on and so forth. Yes, a few would sit back and do nothing but most people want to contribute to society. Wouldn't it be nice to have freedom to offer ones services to the disabled or be able to spend time with the lonely Elders and not have to always be in the rat race because one had to be. But I agree Terrie, a dream for this Country of whom I keep hearing it pushed into people's faces no work no food. Yet fail to condemn those who scam every coin out of people's pockets and destroy jobs via Vulture Capitalism. I suppose that is ok to get money that way, the mafia has money too but somehow people seemed to grasp the concept that wasn't a proper way to have money, a concept when Bankers or Wall Street robbing us seems to be lost on people now.
Monday November 18, 2013, 3:42 pm
IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES:
"Immigration to the United States is a complex demographic phenomenon that has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility, crime, and voting behavior. In 2006 the United States accepted more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined. After ethnic quotas on immigration were removed in 1965 the number of actual (first-generation) immigrants living in the United States eventually quadrupled, from 9.6 million in 1970 to about 38 million in 2007. Over one million persons were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 2008. The leading countries of origin of immigrants to the United States were Mexico, India, the Philippines, and China. Nearly 14 million immigrants entered the United States from 2000 to 2010.
Family reunification accounts for approximately two-thirds of legal immigration to the US every year. The number of foreign nationals who became legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the U.S. in 2009 as a result of family reunification (66%) exceeded those who became LPRs on the basis of employment skills (13%) and for humanitarian reasons (17%).
Migration is difficult, expensive, and dangerous for those who enter the US illegally across the Mexico–United States border. Participants in debates on immigration in the early twenty-first century called for increasing enforcement of existing laws governing illegal immigration to the United States, building a barrier along some or all of the 2,000-mile (3,200 km) U.S.-Mexico border, or creating a new guest worker program. Through much of 2006 the country and Congress was immersed in a debate about these proposals. As of April 2010 few of these proposals had become law, though a partial border fence had been approved and subsequently canceled.
Monday November 18, 2013, 3:51 pm
As Terrie says, there will always be a few! But in one of the PBS series about what makes us himan, one of the conclusions was that it's not just the ability to use tools, which chimps have, nor empathy/the desire to cooperate, which dogs have, but the combination of the two. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/humanspark/about/about-the-series-introduction/35/ See also Maslow's needs hierarchy. If we could raise everyone above the basic needs of food and shelter, we would find that most people by far WANT to contribute. (Even introverts like me; it's not a social thing.) Technically I would call myself a Social Democrat rather than a pure Socialist, but I am definitely far to the left of the current Democratic administration, while still maybe a little to the right of Jesus (the real one, not the Republican Supply Side Jesus.)
Monday November 18, 2013, 7:23 pm
So many great comments--a pastor reminded me today that there is a Biblical command to invite the poor to our banquets--how many of the top 1% who call themselves Christians are doing that? How many the top 10% who call themselves Christians? Switzerland's proposal comes closer to Biblical tenets than the Ryan plan or anything recent in Congress I've heard about. Mitchell's comment seems to address the same thing, albeit in a different way.
Monday November 18, 2013, 11:13 pm
Thanks,TC. Interesting, A basic living wage for everyone...Yes, a pipe dream in this Country. We can't even get the rich to pay taxes fairly. We are in a battle now to raise the min. wage. In my opinion the proposed amount is too low, should be $15.00 per hr.....but that won't happen....This country has very strange concepts when it comes to money. It's paradoxical. It's said we are still a young country...well ..so we must still be in "sandbox" 'cause we have a problem with sharing !...Raise min. wage, cut SNAP....Honor our Vets...but don't feed 'em...I don't understand ! If I have two of something, I give one away to someone in need.