American workers are being chewed up by a rigged, unfair system designed to generate massive economic inequality
But imploring people to simply work harder ignores the fact that most jobs don’t pay enough to get ahead. The federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, isn’t enough to live on in any major city in the country. And half the jobs in the United States pay less than $15 an hour.
Getting an education isn’t a guaranteed pathway out of poverty either. Consider, as New School professor Darrick Hamilton points out, that black college graduates only own about two-thirds the wealth of white high school dropouts.
Creating a more fair and just economy will require solutions at the systemic level, not the individual level. That means acknowledging the unfair starting points we all begin with and taking steps to level the playing field. One idea for how to do this is through baby bonds, also known as child savings accounts. This would basically start every child with a small savings account at birth, which would appreciate over time and could be used for getting an education or starting a business later on.
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