Guaranteeing a Living-Wage Job Opportunity: A Question

Social Media Camp 2009- Social Media for the Job Search
deanmeyersnet / Foter.com / CC BY

Early next year, I plan to launch a Causes.com campaign calling on the federal government to assure everyone a living-wage job opportunity. In late August of this year, Causes.com made major improvements to their website. For an overview of the new site, click here.

The main purpose of the campaign that I’m initiating is to demonstrate to grassroots activist organizations that they should take on this issue because there is widespread support for it and a substantial number of people would be available to participate in an effort to push for it.

Most Americans believe that our society should assure everyone a living-wage job opportunity. In a March 2013 report, “Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans,” Benjamin I. Page, Larry M. Bartels, and Jason Seawright reported that 78% of the general public believe that the minimum wage should be “high enough so that no family with a full-time worker falls below [the] official poverty line,” and 68% believe “the government in Washington ought to see to it that everyone who wants to work can find a job.”

The current description of the campaign reads:

This campaign therefore calls for the federal government to send funds to local governments to hire public-service workers to meet pressing needs that are being neglected. These jobs include teachers’ assistants, in-home caregiving, nursing home staff, child care workers, park and recreation staff, substance abuse counselors, neighborhood center staff, and environmental cleanup.

Those funds could be generated primarily by increasing taxes on the top 1%, roughly 1.2 million households whose average income before taxes in 2012 was $1,873,000. So their total income was $2, 250 billion. Their effective tax rate was 20.6%. In the late 1970s, they paid 35%. If they had paid 40% instead of 20%, that would have generated an additional $450 billion in revenue.

About 10 million individuals are officially unemployed, but if living-wage job opportunities were available, another eight million might take those jobs, or 18 million total. A full-time worker paid $12 per hour earns $25,000. So with $450 billion we could hire 18 million workers at $12 per hour.

To guarantee living-wage job opportunities would require additional costs not detailed here. But additional revenues would also be available. For example, the newly employed would pay taxes and reducing wasteful military spending could free up $60 billion per year or more. These numbers indicate that achieving full employment is feasible.

Sources:
Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans
List of countries by number of households
Effective tax rates
The Obsession with Nominal Tax Rates or the Twinkie Romanticism

My question concerns the language for the goal that will be highlighted on the campaign’s homepage. This mission statement can be no more than 60 characters and must begin with “I want to.”

Current options under consideration are:

Option A: [I want to] tell Congress to guarantee living-wage job opportunities.
Option B: [I want to] tell Congress to see to it that everyone can find a job.
Option C: [I want to] get Congress to see to it that everyone can find a job.
Option D: [I want to] get Washington to see to it that everyone can find a job.
Option E: [I want to] get Congress to guarantee living-wage job opportunities.

The phrase “see to it” comes from the study cited above. It may have fewer problematic connotations, like another “entitlement,” and may be less hackneyed than “guaranteed.”

The term “Washington” also comes from that study and may be more inclusive than “Congress,” for the President also needs to be involved.

“Get” may be more achievement-oriented than “tell,” but it may be more grandiose.

Do you have any suggestions?

2 Responses to Guaranteeing a Living-Wage Job Opportunity: A Question

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.