Updated: Sep 5, 2021
One of the biggest challenges to engaging people in the fight for "Justice for All" is the overwhelming burden placed on the working class to simply survive. To many people must work 60 to 80 hours a week for poverty wages that barely pay their rent or put food on the table. How much energy do you think they’ll have to organize and fight for justice when they have to spend so much time fighting for basic survival?
The state of the working class in the U.S. is not an accident. Corporations and corrupt politicians have waged a war against common working folk for decades to ensure that we are to beat down and too tired to stand up against the corporate machine that has taken over our economy, our government, our lives. They have dismantled main street, destroyed small business, decimated the middle class, and turned common working-class folk in to wage slaves.
How do we take back our government from corporations like Amazon, Facebook, and Exxon Mobile? How do we take back our communities, our country from corporate tyrants like Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Gates? Many would say take back what was stolen from us what our grandfather and their fathers fought, bleed, and died for. A 40-hour work week that provides a fair living wage. Over time for any hours over 40 in a week or 8 in a day. Vacation time, sick leave, safe and fair working conditions, pensions that allow working class fold to retire with dignity at a reasonable age. These are all the things that the labor movement and unions won for working class folk, these are the things that built the greatest working middle class in history, the things that made America great.
Yet I would say why go back. Why settle for what we had. We live in the wealthiest nation in the world, but all that wealth has been stolen by greedy corporations and the 1%. We live in a time of technological marvels that should be bring prosperity to all. What we deserve, what working class people have earned is a Universal Basic Income. Imagen if workers have a UBI that covers basic needs like food, shelter, and health care.
Imagen, as a small business owner your workers have a basic universal income, now you didn’t have to worry about losing workers to larger corporations who can pay more. Instead, you are able to attract quality workers because of the work environment you provide. Because the reality is that no matter how much people have, they always want more. You provide them with a basic income and they will still work because they want more, and because regardless of what the corporations say American workers are not lazy.
Workers often prefer to work at smaller businesses where they are not treated as a cog in the machine but are instead treated as human beings who are respected and apricated. But as more and more small businesses close and are replaced by corporate monopolies workers are forced into the corporate work force that sees them not as human but as disposable cogs in their corporate machine.
All this is possible by taxing the largest corporations. Amazon made $386,064,000,000 in 2020. In 2017 and 2018 Amazon paid $0 in U.S. federal income tax. In 2019 Amazon paid $162 million on the $13.9 billion in pre-tax income Amazon reported for 2019. This is roughly 1.2% even though the federal tax rate is 21%. Obviously, Amazon is very good at not paying their fair share.
What would your tax have been if you paid 1.2% on your income?
1.2% of 20,000 you would pay $249
1.2% of 30,000 you would pay $360
1.2% of 40,000 you would pay $480
1.2% of 50,000 you would pay $500
1.2% of 60,000 you would pay $720
1.2% of 70,000 you would pay $840
1.2% of 80,000 you would pay $860
1.2% of 90,000 you would pay $1080
1.2% of 100,000 you would pay $1200
1.2% of 110,000 you would pay $1320
1.2% of 120,000 you would pay $1440
In 2029 a 90% tax on Amazons profits would still have left them with $38,606,400,000. Hardly chump change. We should also remember that companies like Amazon benefit from the infrastructure that our tax dollars pay for. They ship their products on the rode ways and water ways that we pay to maintain and that is just one of the freebees they get at taxpayer expense.
The reality is that with technological advances in automation and other sciences the only way or economy will ever recover and thrive is to institute a Universal Basic Income. As activist and organizers regardless of what area you are organizing around, we will never win our battles as long as most working-class folk are locked into a system of wage slavery that keeps them focused more on survival than on organizing to improve things. So regardless of what your primary area of activism or organizing is, we should all be pushing for a UBI.