Interesting Stuff

The Oklahoma Minimum Wage Debacle / Why A Basic Income Is Good For America

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Today, a story from the state of Oklahoma went viral, and it involves some people and how much they make at their jobs.  Governor Mary Fallin today signed a bill banning any city inside the state from establishing a mandatory minimum wage.  Cities are also banned from enacting mandatory paid sick days or vacation requirements.  With this bill signed, cities can not enact a higher minimum wage than the current $7.25 an hour.  Fallin actually said the bill would prevent a hodgepodge of minimum wages in different parts of the state that could potentially harm the business community, really?  Is Oklahoma moving towards telling every city and country what to do?  I thought this was a free country?

At the same time, Fallin signed some other bills including tax credits for banking institutions and public investments.  Good job, give more tax credits to the rich and well off folks while leaving poor people in the dust!  Some people that say the minimum wage should not be increased say most of the people working at minimum wage jobs are students or people wanting only part-time work.  And these people are so wrong!  The average age for a person working a minimum wage job is 35 years old.  A half million people working minimum wage jobs are college graduates.  And 90% of people who would benefit from a hike in the minimum wage are over 20 years old.  Get the message, because of the bad economy, older adults with families to support are working minimum wage jobs, and it’s not right!

Years ago, the city of Talladega was about to get a Louisiana grocery store chain to move into town.  But there was one problem, the business had employees who were union represented, and that meant everyone working there had a good pay.  Not a huge amount of pay, but enough to live comfortably.  Some employees, like the bagboy for example, made more than a bagboy working at another store in town.  So the city council rejected the store from coming into town, because they were afraid the higher wages would drive up the costs of other things, really?  Even today, the Honda Plant in Lincoln will not work with the city of Talladega.  And the Talladega/Sylacauga region is the 5th poorest region in America.

So my point is this, yes, Oklahoma has more jobs available than what is available in Alabama.  But playing politics and denying cities an opportunity to raise their minimum wage is a slap in the face to all low-income working people in Oklahoma.  I thought this was also a good time to bring this up.  With more and more jobs becoming a thing of the past, what are people who can not find anything going to do?  Hope they can get on Social Security Disability?  Not everyone has an opportunity to find a job.  Some have gone through so many jobs no one will consider them.  Some have been unemployed for years, and employers look the other way.  And some are not attractive, and no amount of work experience and college education will help them.

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From the CNN opinion article written by David Wheeler, what if the government guaranteed an income for everyone each month?  Just enough money to take care of the basic needs of everyone, like rent and utilities.  The current government safety net programs like Food Stamps and welfare costs more than $1 trillion a year!  If the United States Government gave everyone a monthly basic income, all welfare programs could end, people who are struggling could be comfortable with the funding to pay their bills, people would be lifted out of poverty, and economies in poorer areas would improve!

People who are struggling with long-term unemployment, like me, would gain some huge  psychological benefits knowing that people with no work do not have to worry about food and shelter.  Look, technology and new technology in the future will eliminate more and more jobs, even in places like China and India.  With fewer and fewer jobs available for the growing amount of people around the world, what are people with no prospects of hope going to do?  Starve and live on the streets?   If countries like Brazil and states like Alaska are already giving out money to everyone living there, this country can do the same thing.  Ever watch the series Star Trek?  Money in that series is not a basis for their economy and everyone lives at a comfortable level.

If everyone got a basic income, it does not mean jobs will disappear forever.  People can still find and work at a job and receive a basic income at the same time.  If something is not done, more people are going to remain unemployed, and if safety nets like SNAP are cut, as some politicians are wanting to do, than eventually civil unrest is going to happen.  People will not live in misery without doing something.  A basic income would prevent the misery and potential civil unrest, it’s the right thing to do!

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