Who will stand up for the little guy?

Easily 40% of this country is living in desperation. These are the people who are already poor or see themselves heading toward poverty over time. At best they can make enough money to survive, and they suffer greatly at any job loss or personal tragedy. They do not see a bright future ahead, they’re wages are stagnated, inflation, the real inflation lowers their standard of living year by year. The best they get out of the political system are few bones, minor increases in the minimum wage that don’t keep up with the economy, fewer jobs available each year, and all while they watch the rest of the nation continue to reap the benefits of any economic improvement.

Someone may come along and point out how everyone in the country has done better over time, a rising tide lifting all boats. But that is supposed to be the case, as it has throughout human history. At a minimum we expect every generation to see a larger economy, but economic status is relative, we expect the nation to work toward equitable improvement for everyone, not the trickle down system where the bottom relies on the success of the top to drop more crumbs on the ground.

Bernie Sanders has attempted to wake up the nation and understand how we’ve lost our way. We’ve forgotten the people who can only use their bodies to earn a living by loading trucks and stocking shelves. We don’t care about the people who cannot acquire wealth, who cannot climb the economic ladder because there are no rungs to step on at the bottom.

Who will stand up for these people? Who will make sure that the next economic downturn doesn’t send more people into poverty? Who will understand the desperation of people who work as hard as they can only to come up short at the end of each month? Bill Clinton said he felt their pain, does anyone else feel that pain now? Is there any principle left that the nation must serve all of it’s people? Do we have a future where leaders will stand up and say that it is unfair for so many people to thrive while others wither from a system supported by all?

For two issues, health care and wages:

The ACA has resulted in an enormous and unprecedented increase in health insurance for these folks (working poor). That’s a great benefit to them. Not nearly enough, but it’s a big improvement from their health care access from before. There are still many without health insurance even after the ACA, and improvements are very unlikely without Democratic control of Congress.

Both Democratic candidates support very large minimum wage increases. Without Congress, it’s not going to happen, like improvements to the ACA.

So, IMO, whoever is most likely to help and support Democrats in gaining control of Congress as well as the White House is the biggest ally to the working poor on these two issues.

Is a minimal increase in minimum wage going to do it? $12.50 an hour is still not a living wage? Is the Democratic party the party of the people anymore, or just the party of the progressive upper middle class? Where is the righteous indignation at the state of the economy for those who live below the water line?

Here on the Intertubes.

It will significantly improve the quality of life of the working poor. That’s a major and good thing, even if it’s probably not enough to raise every working poor person to the middle class.

I’m very upset that we have so many working poor people, and I support lots of things that would help them – a minimum wage increase is one of them.

None of these things, including the minimum wage increase, are likely in the least without electing a President and regaining Congress – so I see those two political achievements as by far the most important goals in terms of helping the working poor.

I’ll note another aspect to “who will help the little guy” – recognizing the perniciousness and strong influence of white supremacist policies and practices in political and legal institutions is another big part of this. The justice system in many parts of the country does not treat black people equally or fairly due to institutional discrimination. So there is far more than just economic injustice in the quest to improve the lives of the downtrodden in America.

Are they unable to stand up for themselves?

My wife barely made over minimum wage when we got married. She enjoyed her work but didn’t enjoy what it afforded her. She wanted a career but had nothing beyond a high school education. This was 2012-2013; not necessarily the best time to look for entry level career positions.

We identified a career that she thought she would enjoy that would pay decent AND had a good outlook according to the BLS. It didn’t require college (although I presume it wouldn’t hurt) and only required a real estate license (which I find odd considering that she’s not selling real estate but, hey, their job their rules). She studied, studied, studied for months when she wasn’t working. She got her license. Got a job. Stayed there for a year until the company was bought out. She was retained and given a raise but her former boss was not - she decided that she wanted a fresh start.

Now? She’s killing it at her new job. Her numbers far surpass others who have been doing this for years, some decades, longer than her. She will eclipse my earnings in the next year or two, I have no doubt. We are already, according to a thread I saw in Great Debates yesterday, at the top of the middle class. We’ve tripled our income since we got married. She’s 25, I’m 28.

So, why do people of able-body and able-mind need others to stand up for them?

That sounds high.

Although I don’t dispute there is a problem, and a lot of people are struggling.

Because not everybody has the skills needed to compete in the job market. The reason people work as maids or clerks and such is that they aren’t able to get higher paying jobs. Of course the standard reply is to get an education- but it’s hard to find the money and even harder to find the time when you’re working at least one full time job and often two just to stay alive.

Will $12.50 provide a living wage? No, but it’s a positive first step. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Who will stand up for the poor? Not the party that’s been trying to kill Social Security for 80 years. Not the party that has fought Medicare and the ACA tooth and nail. The poor can’t get there riding an elephant, they need to hop on the donkey.

There was an unprecedented increase in health insurance purchases because the Democrats threatened to fine people if they didn’t buy it. Quit patting yourself on the back for taking the “let them eat cake” approach to the problem.

The Democrats did have control of Congress, and the ACA is what they chose to create.

I also found that number surprising, but didn’t say anything for fear of being strung up by my ascot from the top deck of my Sunseeker.

That was one part of a much larger bill. There were many different things aimed at increasing coverage.

Yep, not a perfect bill. But Democrats have expressed strong interest in improving it (even to the point of single-payer), while Republicans have only expressed strong interest in repealing it.

Are they unable to procure skills?

Certifications and licenses come to mind. Not all require corresponding experience and/or courses, a good number are self-study. Heck, my low voltage license was completely open book - granted, you had to know where to look.

Some people are not. Do we say to them, “too bad you’re of lesser intelligence, you’re doomed to live in perpetual poverty”?

Minimum wage is part of the problem. Start pushing for a basic income. And young people, they teach arithmetic in k-6, use the operators of multiplication and addition to figure out that borrowing $80,000 and spending 4-5 years of one’s life for a job that pays $18,000/year is madness. That’s literally 4th grade math and yet how common is it for some young dummy to get a degree in _________ studies and have to man the fryer after graduation?

Oh yeah, listen to Dave Ramsey though do disregard his investment advice.

And under the ACA, a lot of the working poor received highly discounted health care (especially if their states decided to expand Medicaid).

In addition, $12.50 goes a lot further in some places than it does others. in South Georgia it’s much easier to live on than in New York City.

Than those folks should move. I’ve moved several times for financial considerations. I’d love to live in San Francisco. But I can’t afford it. Actually we probably could but I don’t want to sleep in a closet.

No, we say there are other options, such as manual labor.

The job outlook for construction laborers and helpers, for example, is expected to grow 13% (faster than average) between 2014-2024. The median pay for this job is nearly twice the minimum wage for a majority of states.

And it’s SO easy to pack up all your things and move to a different state when you don’t have a job in the new location. Life is so simple, all these poor people need to do is move and get a better job in a lower cost state. Did you ever wonder why they don’t?

They should just jolly well dip into their 401K’s, or maybe get a small loan from Daddy.