The news is full of articles trying to figure out a way to save America: how to bring back the middle class, create jobs, help stop the disparity between the few rich at the top and the majority falling (or fearful of falling) toward poverty, and what to do about increasing homelessness and food insecurity. American society seems gripped in fear, as many young people wrestle with college debt and little or no living wage work prospects. Middle managers in their 40’s/50’s/60’s have been downsized/laid off, and haunt monthly job fairs featuring door-t0-door commission sales work (to try to reach those who don’t want to open their doors to strangers and/or don’t have money/need to purchase their products anyway). An undergirding of fear is sweeping our nation just under the surface for those of wealth (and those hanging on by their fingernails to their wealth), a daily reality for many more.
The conversation is here. People are awake and aware that this growing soup of problems are encroaching on us as a society, not just ‘the fringe others’. This involves all of us. Some of us who have not yet lost our job/home/health respond with self-protective denial. Some of us in frustration and fear blame the ‘other’. Some of us become clinically depressed and use pain medication/drink/drugs to hide.
I believe there is a practical way to turn this poverty of economy and spirit around. Here’s my idea outline for a Four Step Plan To Economic Recovery:
- Living wage jobs provided by the very corporations and businesses that have taken living wage jobs away, as well as innovative business models such as B-Corporations and worker cooperatives that balance wages, community building, and benefits with profits.
- Mortgage companies/banks/developers et all to sell/rent housing that is affordable to wages earned in area said housing/businesses reside. Seed Seattle is an example of an organization creating partnerships and inspiring investments in affordable housing, arts, and economic development.
- Medical health care that actually provides health benefit – not high priced/high deductible insurance that doesn’t cover any type of actual care.
- Education tied with industry jobs, so instead of graduating with a 4 year degree and $30,000-$200,000 of debt and no income/job in sight, the education/training is included in most businesses/jobs as part of the training package of said business/job. This would also be helpful for those re-entering the workforce and those who’s jobs have changed/no longer exist.
These four steps would in practical ways help turn the economy around with innovative business and industry leading the way by creating living wage jobs and incorporating training and benefits back into the business model. Add to that affordable housing, fanning innovation, creating community building opportunities, rebuilding a middle class and giving tangible tools to bring disenfranchised into the middle class, and the result would be uplifting all of American society for a better future.