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writing for godot

Don't help blue collar, let them go

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Written by Tom Cantlon   
Sunday, 04 June 2017 03:21

 

The fast food workers pushing for a higher minimum wage don't want their job supplemented with food stamps. They want a wage that means they don't need food stamps. The coal miners who used to work despite physical problems, and now have to see what disability crumbs they can get, would rather still be working. Maybe at something different, but working. People know how to work, how to build businesses, how to strengthen communities, how to grow local economies. They don't need "help". They need to get the hand pushing down from the top off of them.

Sure, help with college and infrastructure-job-programs and efforts to revive urban areas should all be done as far as they're effective. Things like food stamps are needed as a bridge. I would never suggest cutting them off. But the kind of change the left pushes for, the rationales the right leans on, the nature of the problem of the top-heavy top, the battles from the bottom up, don't need a "help" focus.

The powerful top has warped the system to where the rest get a bum deal, on wages, on monopolies gouging, on legal trickery, and a thousand other ways. Flip that picture and you have people with good wages who don't need food stamps. You have states with enough tax revenue because people are earning more, and enough budget to fund universities that are a good deal again. You have families with enough income to save for that good deal, and then there isn't nearly the need for college help. You have grandparents, and parents, and young adults who hand off to one another a little better situation than they had, and neighborhoods that improve, and stability that grows, and communities that can afford to hold together and function.

It's not a matter of getting government out of the way. Government can be useful by creating fair conditions for all, though it can also be a tool of that warping from the top. It's not a matter of getting things from the top, like more taxes to pay for Medicaid or supplement daycare for workers, though those are interim needs. It's not about getting something, but about ending the need to go asking, cup in hand.

We, from the middle on down, get so accustomed to needing help with college or with insurance or with child care, so used to fighting those battles, that we lose track that those are not the goal, they are the symptom.

Empowered people have the income that matches their full value, and the stability, to choose for themselves how their lives, and their communities, grow. That shift in power, where workers can require the full value and stature that their work creates, is the goal. How, is too much to say here, but anything less is just band-aids. To get there, first, we have to be clear that's what the goal is.

Please read, or reclick, my core piece "The Plan for the Win" to raise its visibility:

Article: rsn.org/pm-section/78-78/43807-the-plan-for-the-win

Video: rsn.org/godot-video/226-78/43809-the-plan-for-the-win

 

Tom Cantlon has the interesting challenge of being a left-leaning writer for the paper in a small, right-leaning Western town, in a right-leaning state. He can be reached at comments at TomCantlon dot com.

 

 

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