Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.


"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Widening economic inequality in minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking

Dane Smith,

You have produced an interesting study here.
http://growthandjustice.org/publication/EconomicInequality.pdf

Lots of good statistics.

Unfortunately, because you don't include "cost-pf-living" and "standard-of-living" your report really doesn't amount to much as far as the more than 40-million people living in poverty are concerned.

I suppose this kind of study makes for a good fund-raising tool, though.

You declare that some inequality in wealth is good. But, you do not explain that when those on the lower rungs of income/wealth inequality--- the poor--- can't meet all expenses required to cover their "cost-of-living" is where the real problem occurs because they have an inadequate "standard-of-living."

You could advocate for the enforcement of Affirmative Action; but you don't because you know you would lose all foundation funding--- the "philanthropists" reap huge super profits from racist inequalities.

You could advocate for the Minimum Wage to be legislatively tied to all cost of living factors; but you don't for the same reason as above.

You could advocate for a Full Employment Act which would legislatively mandate that the president and Congress be responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment with real living wages; but, again, you don't. Again for the same reason.

You could advocate for peace because militarism and wars squander the very resources required to create jobs; but, again, you don't. Again for the same reason.

People without jobs and without living wage jobs are going to be poor.

I would like to suggest that you take a look at Henry A. Wallace's book, "Sixty Million Jobs" because you might gain a progressive perspective on the issue you have studied.

You might also include a struggle against "wage theft" in conjunction with fighting wealth inequality.

I like your idea that Minnesota should become a leader in fighting inequality.

Minnesota Democrats with their super majority are in a perfect position to make Minnesota a leader in the fight against inequality and this wouldn't cost tax-payers one single penny:

The Governor and State Legislators could pass two resolutions---

1. Calling for the federal government to pass Full Employment Legislation;

2. Calling on the federal government to enact a Federal Minimum Wage that is a real living wage tied to all cost-of-living factors.

3. Calling on Obama to end all these wars so we have a "peace dividend" to work with.

Just a little tid-bit to consider...

Participants in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom called for a Minimum Wage of $2.00 an hour; in today's terms, that would be just over $15.00 an hour. Something to think about, eh? 

You might want to check out what out organization, Uniting People (UP), is proposing. You and your research staff should put your heads together to figure out if what we are proposing can work:


Sisters and Brothers, Fellow Workers;

Uniting People (UP) is a new national organization for Peace, Equality, Full Employment, Universal Health Care and Protection of the Environment. We appreciate the invitation extended by the AFL-CIO to all people and organizations to comment on its White Paper, “Prosperity Economics, Building An Economy For All” by Jacob S. Hacker and Nate Loewentheil, intended to create discussion about the direction of organized labor and the kind of country we all want to live in where peace, social and economic justice for working people prevail.

Democracy--- as well as social, economic and environmental justice--- require no less than a full and broad discussion of these important concerns and issues.

We agree with the concept of “prosperity economics” by “building an economy that works for everyone.” There are several very basic facts left out of this “White Paper” and it is very hazy, vague and nebulous as to what our concrete and specific goals and objectives are to be and what kind of movement and struggle it will take for the working class--- organized and unorganized together--- to create a prosperity economics for us all.

The “White Paper” does not clearly articulate our main enemy: Wall Street. The “White Paper” doesn't reflect the fact that we, as working people, are engaged in a social, political and economic struggle for power with the intent to replace Wall Street's dominance over every aspect of our lives--- in our schools, at work and in our communities.

Let's state right up front workers create all wealth but workers have had no say in how this wealth is distributed and used. This needs to change. Democracy requires no less.

Let's also put it right out there before the American people that militarism and wars are squandering the wealth of our Nation to such a large extent we don't have the resources to solve our many domestic problems. These dirty imperialist wars are killing our jobs and our standard of living just like they kill people.

Militarism and wars are a major contributing factor to the world-wide collapsing capitalist economy. No nation can continue to endlessly use the wealth of its nation to prepare for wars and to fight wars. This is sheer insanity.
Wall Street's greedy drive for profits results in wars which exacerbates our problems.

Detroit goes broke; the rest of our cities are sure to follow as Wall Street wallows in profits.

Working people go without adequate health care; insurance and pharmaceutical companies get fabulously wealthy. Shorter workweeks/longer vacations with no cut in pay create jobs and would keep us healthier, too.

Our public institutions like public education fall apart, crumble and collapse just like our roads, highways and bridges because we are constantly feeding a war machine intended to fight never-ending wars waged to protect Wall Street's assets and profits.

Prosperity for all begins with the recognition peace is required to achieve full employment.

Full employment is about the government seeing to it that jobs are created for all at real living wages. It is about putting people to work by creating massive universal social programs like Medicare for All, not job destroying legislation like Obama-care as detrimental to our health and jobs as wars without providing real health care reform while pushing the price of health care up instead of its stated intent to push prices down.

Eliminating militarism and wars eliminates the largest carbon footprint contributing to global warming and climate change as the Military Industrial Complex wastes our precious resources in a huge, monstrous complex that ruins our environment--- power generation, mining, manufacturing, the resources like oil and gas required to fight wars. Preparation for war, and war itself, creates a mammoth sized carbon footprint destroying our living environment while creating massive joblessness and poverty and ill health for our people as our air, water and land gets polluted.

The Wall Street selected politicians talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” when their hidden agenda is really “profits, profits, profits” and “war, war, and more war.”

The time has come to make politicians legislatively responsible for full employment and peace because prosperity economics requires: peace and full employment--- a healthy people and a healthy environment.

Therefore, we propose that a central goal of the American labor and working class movement needs to be the building of an economy for all that is inseparably linked to peace and full employment which must include:

A Minimum Wage tied to all cost of living factors indexed to inflation. Jobs or a living income for all.

Medicare for All. Protect, defend and expand Social Security programs.

Legislation prohibiting lockouts and scabbing. Repeal of “At-Will Employment” legislation--- the primary obstacle to worker empowerment and union organizing.

Price controls are needed for food, gas, home heating fuels and electricity.

A healthy economy means a healthy living environment and a healthy planet. We need a quality of life index.

The two-party system is a trap for working people. We must free ourselves from the Democrats and Republicans. A working class based people's party is required if we are going to have a prosperity economics that works for all of us. We can learn a thing or two about health care and politics from our Canadian Brothers and Sisters.

We are now at a crossroads.

We will have an economy that serves Wall Street or we will have an economy that works for the rest of us--- we can't have both just like we can't have both war and full employment.

We encourage the use of the proposed Full Employment Act of 1945 pushed by the CIO unions and authored by liberal Texas Congressman Wright Patman and the associated hearing testimonies to broaden this discussion:

We also call to your attention the excellent Op-Ed piece by Bob Herbert, “Losing Our Way,” his last piece in the New York Times (March 25, 2011), which declares:

"The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely."

We ask: What ever happened to William Winpisinger's "Rebuild America Act" and the “peace dividend?” The AFL-CIO should bring back to life its Committee on Conversion--- from military production to producing for human needs; swords into plowshares is what was advocated by the International Association of Machinist's former President, William Winpisinger. Where is this advocacy for peace and reordering our Nation's priorities now?
Thank you for allowing us to offer our critique of the AFL-CIO's “White Paper” and our alternative perspectives.

In solidarity and struggle. Uniting People (UP) for peace, equality, full employment, universal health care and protection of the environment.