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Tuesday, June 9th 2009

Struggling families need income security

Struggling families need income security

It’s no secret that families are scrimping, struggling, and sacrificing.

Too often, however, the human face of financial difficulties is obscured by the conventions of economic discourse. Pundits, journalists, and economists - and most ¬†politicians, though they ought to know better because they depend on winning votes - seem to prefer to talk in abstractions, such as “the economy” and “the recession.”

A real and rather moving exception is a series in the New York Times on “Living With Less: the human side of the global recession.” Today’s piece describes the Ferrell’s, a California family with four children, two sets of twins, the youngest just 20 months old.

Here’s a key paragraph from near the top of the story:

For millions of families, this is the recession: not a layoff, or a drastic reduction in income, but a pay cut that has forced them to thrash through daily calculations similar to the Ferrells’. Even if workers have managed to avoid being laid off, many employers have cut back in other ways, reducing employees’ hours, imposing furloughs and even sometimes trimming salaries.

A link to the whole piece is here, and includes a slide show of the family.  A direct link to other pieces in the series is here.

As the article describes, Jeff Ferrell earns $72,000 a year, but furloughs have meant a 9 percent reduction in his take home pay, roughly $450 per month.

Imagine a government that truly puts people first; that bails out ordinary Americans, not banks and other big corporations; that promotes the general welfare directly. Imagine, in other words, a society with Citizen Dividends.

Suppose every adult American receives a guaranteed basic income of, say, $1,000 a month. The Ferrell’s would have an extra $2,000 a month, ¬†more than 4 times what they’ve lost due to the furloughs. Their quality of life would be dramatically enhanced.

What about you? What would an extra $1,000 a month mean for your quality of life?

This is an idea that ordinary Americans might really get behind - if they knew about it. Now that you know, you can help educate others.

It’s not such a radical idea. Earlier versions of guaranteed income were mainstream ideas in the 1960s, supported by moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans, Martin Luther King Jr., and more than 1,200 economists from across the political spectrum. Earlier proposals for income security go back to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.

Citizen Dividends is an updated version of their ideas. The complete proposal, the benefits, and the plan to make it happen is in my book, Peaceful, Positive Revolution,.

Please explore this web site, IncomeSecurityForAll.org, read the book, and help spread the word.

This will happen when enough of us demand it, when We the People demand it.

Steven Shafarman

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One Response to “Struggling families need income security”

  1. FokuFolik Says:

    Good article, Thanks. Thanks.