The Crux of It All

This blog is the only hope for saving the world. But then, you already knew that. It’s read by a massive crowd of some fifteen people a day, and is one year and three weeks old. A new post has appeared every few days. And still, for some unfathomable reason, the world, particularly the American political world, is not saved. It’s a deep mystery.

The very first post told exactly what must happen to restore the nation: put people to work; pay a living wage. Nothing that has been said in the 208 posts since then adds significantly to those insights (which are not original). In that time I have stumbled across some important truths that seem to me the sort of thing we need to know if our troubled society is to recover and improve. I claim to have had exactly one original idea during that time, which is actually not bad, but all the important thoughts can be attributed to others. The best of these are worth remembering.

A few new truths have appeared
that seem important.

The most important of these, in my opinion, is the readily duplicated finding (from publicly available data) that whatever improves equality also improves virtually every social problem you can imagine. Greater equality lowers the crime rate, increases the graduation rate, diminishes teen pregnancies, lowers obesity rates, improves health, decreases domestic violence, diminishes infant mortality, extends lifespan…on and on. This would seem to indicate that improving equality is just about the best thing we could do. It is. We must.

Whatever improves equality
also improves virtually every social problem
you can imagine.

New surveys and reviews of older surveys show that there is a much higher level of agreement on what government should do, and how it should be paid for, than is commonly believed. This agreement cuts across political spectra and, more importantly, across all income levels. This suggests that we should not listen to those who claim otherwise, and concentrate on these points of agreement. Too bad that’s not happening.

The failure to pay adequately
for ordinary work
is the single element of inequality
that is eroding the entire country today.

The failure to pay adequately for ordinary work is the single element of inequality that is eroding the entire country today, reducing the wealth and quality of life for everybody. A person should be able to support his family on what he earns working any full time job. The pay for such jobs is less than half adequate to do this, and provides no possibility to save for retirement. Too bad so many on the right apparently believe that those with low-income jobs prefer poverty and minimum wage. Too bad so many think it’s possible to live a decent life on such crappy pay. The greatest irony is that new research shows that business success is highly correlated with exactly the opposite conditions: lots of employees, good pay with bennies, respectful treatment of employees. Who knew?

This last truth seems minor, but in fact has a far greater effect on life and economics than one would suspect. Studies show that maximizing the quality of public transportation in cities optimizes the flow of all traffic. Smooth traffic flow has a salutary effect on the functioning of commercial businesses and government, routinely saving millions of dollars daily.

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