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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

Economic Justice: A New Dawn, A New Light

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

by Thomas Berry and Peter Pero

Tom Berry is a Coordinator of the San Jacinto Alliance for Retired Americans,

Former Director of the UTLC,Illinois and Chairman of the UTU, Local Union 528.

Peter N. Pero is a retired member of the Chicago Teachers Union, LocalTo reach Peter, contact:

As our nation struggles with the Covid Crisis, the American economy has suffered greatly. We propose three reforms for bringing relief and full employment to our nation:

1 By the late 1930s, stimulus programs were failing to put a large number of Americans back to work. The U.S. Secretary of Labor, Francis Perkins, believed a shorter work week (and work day) would allow more new workers to enter the workforce. Ms. Perkins introduced a work week of 40 hours in 5 days instead of the old habit of 60 hours in 6 days. Jobless persons could pick up the supplemental hours especially in manufacturing work. The 40-hour work week paid as much salary as the 60-hour plan. and the 40-hour week created more family-time at home for many workers. Within 5 years, business and labor went to each state legislature to plead the case for the 40-hour week. That is how America got out of the doldrums of an economic depression, how more women were able to enter the work force, and how we continued, for the next 35 years, to strengthen the quality of life for the American middle class.

2 A major factor in 2020 that has eroded jobs is robotics. Machines have been replacing people on the job and machines don't pay taxes. Workers displaced by robots, should be compensated through work retraining programs at local community colleges. The net result is more people working which increases income tax revenue for state and federal governments to increase social programs and benefits.

3 U.S. Corporations that operates outside of the USA, should pay the difference in labor costs from producing goods in low wage countries. This can be stopped through general U.S. re-import tariffs in order to prevent big businesses from moving to countries for cheap labor, then reselling goods back to the U.S. We must prevent domestic corporations from operating at the expense of American jobs.

These are three ideas for strengthening the U.S. economy and bringing individuals and families back to prosperity.

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