Is Minimum Wage Another Distraction? Let’s talk Basic Income, Shall We?

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Cheri Honkala of the Poor Peoples Economic Campaign and Vice President of the Green Shadow Cabinet joins the host Dennis Trainor, Jr. and the Resistance Report panel (Nicole Carty (The Other 98%), Julianna Forlano (Absurdity Today) and Joel Northam (Acronym TV Contributor) – to discuss the jobs crisis in the United States, the perpetually underemployed, and the impact of a raise in the minimum wage versus a policy that guaranteed an income for all.

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  • Deanna Loretta D

    I’m a single woman living on SSI. Can you tell me if anyone can
    survive on this kind of money?
    My propane gas bill has been out of sight this year with the
    cold temperatures and this morning, it is only 5 degrees.
    I was hoping my son could help me pay the bills but his Dad
    will lose his home, his assets if he stays in the nursing home]
    much longer. My son will inherit nothing, the nursing home
    will get it all!
    Is this fair, after that man has worked all his life to pass on
    something to our son?
    Food, a necessity and heating keeps going up, up, up.
    Even postage stamps…and that is why I try not to use
    the postal service.
    I can’t cut corners anymore.
    I am stuck and maybe soon, I will end up homeless again
    with my two australian shepherds.
    In the meantime, our President is droning families to
    death in the Middle East.
    There is something very wrong with this country.
    More and more people are waking up but I’m afraid
    just protesting is not going to work unless more
    Americans demand Change.
    What do you think?
    Where can I find a good man with enough money?
    How can I earn some money at home?
    I’m now over 70 years old but young for my age.
    Probably because I never had any bad habits such
    as smoking, drinking or taking drugs.
    I have one habit I won’t give up, eating good
    chocolate! :)

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  • Curt Welch

    Rising minimum wage today will certainly do some good and I support it as a short term measure, but it fails to help the unemployed. In the long term, we need more socialism, and the best way to mix socialism with our capitalistic economy, is a Basic Income Guarantee.

    What people don’t understand is why this is needed now, when we have managed for so long without it? The answer is that technology is destroying job equality. The rise of advanced technology, is squeezing people out of the work force, and driving down wages in the middle and low end of the work force, while raising profits and income for those that own, design, and manage, all the technology — the 1%. Technology drives inequality higher, and higher. It’s not jobs being outsourced overseas that is the root problem, it’s technology. And technology is not going to go away. It will drive inequality higher and higher in the next few decades as even more jobs are replaced by machines.

    If everyone in Kensington were great roboticists, software engineers, and high tech entrepreneurs, there would be no unemployment. But most people simply do not have the skill sets needed for this new high tech work. And it’s far more than just a lack of access to education.

    We are approaching a time where we need all workers to be Einsteins, and Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg, Mozart, Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. If you are not of that caliber, you just won’t have a job at all. Technology is creating a superstar economy where only the best of the best, get a good income, and everyone else is worth so little, that they can’t make enough to feed themselves. This is what our economy is transitioning into, and why we suffer with unemployment and falling wages.

    There is no path out of this future where everyone gets a good paying job. Good paying jobs, are going away, and they will never come back. We exported our factory jobs to low paying workers overseas, and now those workers, are losing their jobs, to robots. The jobs aren’t coming back.

    We can’t force the economy, such as Walmart, to pay better. There is no economic incentive for them to do that. Minimum wage laws work only up to the point where we invent new machines to replace the workers — which is happening very quickly now. It’s been estimated that 40% of current jobs will be replaced by automation and new computer technology within the next 10 years.

    This is all changing society in a way we have never had to deal with in the past — at least not on the scale we are being faced with today. The only solution, is to take the great profits the 1% and their business are making, and give them to everyone, as a Basic Income Guarantee.

    It’s not just welfare — which is really intended to help those who are TEMPORARILY in trouble get back on their feet. We have a problem that has not long term solution to get people back into a jobs that pay a living wage.

    We can get and will get everyone back to work, but we must understand that work is no longer going to be the thing we do to support ourselves. Work is what we do, to make our world a better place, not something we do to feed ourselves. We raise our children to be good people, to make the world a better place, not because that is work which helps us put food on our table. We help each other, doing volunteer work, instead of working to make a living, because helping each other, makes us happy.

    Our machines will do all the core work of transforming the resources of the earth, into food, and shelter, and transportation systems for us, and we regulate who gets what output of the machines, by how we each choose to spend our Basic Income. But we won’t work for the right to get a share of that machine output. We will work, for a higher cause — to help make the world better for humans.

    We need the Basic Income now, to offset the growing inequality created by the technology. We need a Basic Income for the entire world — for every human on the planet. But until people grasp what is happening, and grasp that working for a living is something humans had to do before they invented technology, this won’t get implemented. So, we will all continue to struggle, with inequality, unemployment, bad jobs, poverty, and all the social problems these create, such as stress, and violence, crime, and health problems, until the world figures out, that now that machines are getting close to the point of being smarter than humans, the entire foundation of working for a living no longer applies. The world has to wake up to this fact, and until it does, our societies will continue to suffer needlessly.

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