Why We Need a Universal Basic Income

Friday, September 15, 2017
Bill Moyers

But wage theft is only one of our many problems. As such scholars as Mark Paul and William Darity point out, while the government purports that unemployment is currently under 5 percent, broader measures of classifying unemployment – including “discouraged” and part-time laborers seeking full-time work – nearly double that number to 10 percent. Unemployment also is twice as high in the black community, where African American workers have never experienced rates below 7 percent.

Still, the main reason for poverty in America is not necessarily the lack of jobs, but the lack of a living wage and a social safety net. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a full quarter of full-time workers still earn poverty-level wages. A living wage – the minimum pay needed for the basics of living – has become a rallying cry for workers all over America recently, as calls for an increase in the minimum wage, like Fight for Fifteen, have gained steam.

Full employment, therefore, is important: people need jobs that are year-round (as opposed to seasonal work), pay a living wage, and include benefits like health care, disability insurance and retirement funds.

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