Dan Froomkin | The Jobs Crisis Obama, Romney and the Low-Wage Future of America

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Dan Froomkin | The Jobs Crisis Obama, Romney and the Low-Wage Future of America

Same here, init? Politician’s talking about creatin’ job, but never addressing the fact that the majority of workers in the state, who have jobs, are more often than not low paid and that the proportion of ‘working poor’ is increasing.

Peter Edelman, a law professor at Georgetown University, writes in his recent book “So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America” that the proliferation of low-wage jobs-not the lack of jobs-is the single biggest cause of persistent poverty.

“The first thing needed if we’re to get people out of poverty is more jobs that pay decent wages,” he argued in a July New York Times op-ed. “We’ve been drowning in a flood of low-wage jobs for the last 40 years… Half the jobs in the nation pay less than $34,000 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. A quarter pay below the poverty line for a family of four, less than $23,000 annually.”

And wages in the bottom half “have been stuck since 1973, increasing just 7 percent,” he noted.

Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, despairs that the goal of full employment-with a decent job for everyone who wants one-doesn’t even come up in the political debate these days.

In his new book, “Back to Full Employment,” Pollin writes that such a goal would be good for the economy, for fighting poverty, fostering social and economic equality-and is a matter of “basic ethics.”

Getting there, however, would require significant investments in clean energy and education, and “substantial levels of government intervention,” he writes.

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com