Living Wage: Our national minimum wage should be increased and regionally adjusted so that a family of four with one wage-earner working full-time at minimum wage can stay out of poverty. The minimum wage should automatically be adjusted annually to keep up with inflation. This starts with the Fight for $15 but does not end there. In some parts of the country, a living wage is more than $15.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a calculator that shows the minimum wage necessary for a family to rent a two-bedroom apartment and have their housing cost be no more than 30% of their income. In Pennsylvania the average is more than $18. Here in our district, some areas are even higher. You would have to work 103 hours/week at the current minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment, on average, in PA.
Infrastructure: President Trump, Paul Ryan and Brian Fitzpatrick promised a jobs bill to rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, power grid and other infrastructure. Where is it? I would work to write and pass such a bill.
Renewable Energy Jobs: The transition to renewable energy will create millions of well-paying, long-term jobs. We must end subsidies for fossil fuels and make way for renewable energy, which is good for the economy and our planet. There are already more than 4,000 renewable energy jobs in our district, more than in the fossil fuel industry. This is a boom waiting to happen, if only we will stop subsidizing the already-profitable fossil fuel industry – which is destroying our planet for our children and grandchildren.
As the AFL-CIO states in their candidate questionnaire:
“The defining economic challenge of our time is raising wages and living standards for the vast majority of American workers. Wages have been flat or falling for the bottom 90% of wage earners since 2009 and for the bottom 70% of wage earners since the 1970s. Wage stagnation is not the inevitable outcome of immutable economic forces, but the predictable result of policy decisions made on behalf of the most privileged segments of our society. We must make different policy choices going forward if we want the vast majority of workers to be the primary beneficiaries of economic growth. We must: (1) strengthen collective bargaining and freedom of association; (2) ensure full employment; (3) protect and strengthen labor standards and expand employment protections for working families; (4) reform the global economy; and (5) reform Wall Street.
“After World War II, there was a dramatic reduction in economic inequality and a dramatic increase in U.S. living standards. Wages and compensation rose in tandem with productivity until the late 1970s. Since 1979, however, wage growth has been flat or falling for the bottom 70% of wage earners, while productivity and corporate profits have soared. Virtually all income gains since the end of the Great Recession have been captured by the 1%.”