How Much Should We Earn?

That seems like a silly question. We should earn whatever our work is worth.

Oh, really? And who determines that?

I don’t think it’s quite that simple, because the answer to the question is fundamental to the kind of country we have. Do we have a country with equal opportunity, as we’re supposed to?

Here’s my prejudice: Every full time worker should be paid at least enough for essential needs such as rent, food, clothing, etc. Every worker should also have medical insurance and retirement savings, however that is done.

Some people don’t think that’s right. They apparently don’t think all people should earn enough to provide for basic needs. They apparently don’t think that all full time jobs are worthy of that kind of pay. They apparently don’t think that medical care and retirement savings should matter for some of us.

Every full time worker should be paid
at least enough for essential needs.

My prejudice says that this attitude is unacceptable. If full time work can’t supply basic needs, what can? If you work full time and do a good job, you should be able to live on your pay, and you shouldn’t die because you can’t afford to see a doctor. Yet 120 Americans die every day because they can’t afford to see a doctor. We live in the richest country the world has ever seen, not Haiti, not Somalia, yet 120 die daily for want of medical care.

If my belief is correct, our country is on the wrong track, because income inequality is as bad as it was during the Gilded Age in the late 1800s, when the mega-wealthy buried diamonds in the centerpieces as keepsakes for their 1,000 dinner guests.

You should be able to live on your pay,
and you shouldn’t die because
you can’t afford to see a doctor.

The trinket-bling of this sickening excess has evolved, but it’s no less disgusting, and represents the same mal-distribution of wealth: vast unusable money for very few, and daily death for the 120 who can’t afford to see a doctor. It’s getting worse, and soon we will be forced to do something about it.

Everyone working a full time job of any kind should earn enough for these things. That doesn’t make them rich.

Just my prejudice.

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