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Home Topics in Depth Economics It’s Time for America to Embrace Guaranteed Income

  • eridani (4633 posts)
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    It’s Time for America to Embrace Guaranteed Income


    Record low unemployment and record highs for the stock market don’t tell the full story of what is really happening in today’s economy. For many, a job used to mean stability: 40 hours a week, benefits, vacation days, sick leave and retirement savings plans. But according to a 2016 study by Princeton economists, nearly all of the jobs created in the preceding decade were part-time, contract or temporary. Today a job is more often than not just an unreliable gig.

    This didn’t happen spontaneously. Our political leaders over the past 40 years lowered taxes on corporations and the wealthy and encouraged globalized trade with few protections for American workers. At the same moment, automation reduced the number of factory jobs and created Lyft drivers and Etsy sellers in their place. We created an economy where median wages haven’t budged in 40 years, and jobs have become increasingly piecemeal. But we have the power to change this.

    My own story illustrates how unfair today’s economy can be. I grew up in a middle-class family in a small town in North Carolina, the son of a paper salesman and public school teacher. Financial aid made it possible for me to go to a prestigious boarding school and Harvard. When I told my parents that my roommates, Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, were dropping out to work on a website the three of us had started, they laughed. I had worked too hard and too long to throw away an Ivy League education. So I stayed one foot in, working on Facebook’s communications and product teams, and one foot out, getting that Harvard degree I had dreamed of.

    I’m proud of the work that I did, but the fact that I could make nearly a half billion dollars for three years’ worth of work – while at the same time half of Americans can’t find $400 in case of an emergency – is a testament to what is wrong with our economy.

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