U.S. still hasn’t caught up with Dr. King

martin.luther.king.jrThe Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for voting rights and the abolition of Jim Crow laws, but he didn’t stop there.  The 1963 March on Washington was a march for Jobs and Freedom.

He believed that everyone who wanted to work should be guaranteed a job.  This is more relevant now than ever.  All you have to do is to look around, and there is work that needs to be done, from ensuring old people in nursing homes get good care to rebuilding our nation’s bridges and water systems.

Yet the jobs aren’t there.  Why should the upper 1/10th of 1 percent of income and wealth holders be the job creators?  Why can’t we the people create jobs?

Dr. King also believed in a minimum guaranteed income, which I’m not sure about.  I’d rather have a guaranteed jobs program, in which everybody could do something useful according to their abilities and receive an income adequate to their basic needs.  But then again, a guaranteed minimum income might work better than our present hodge-podge welfare system.

I retired from my job 15 years ago, I haven’t worked for pay since and Social Security guarantees me a minimum income (not necessarily the same minimum as everybody else), so I’m not in a position to reject the idea of a minimum income out of hand.


Honoring Dr. King’s Call for a Job Guarantee Program by Fadhel Kaboub for New Economic Perspectives.

Martin Luther King’s case for a guaranteed basic income by Matthew Yglesias for Slate.

Fulfilling One of MLK’s Dreams – A Basic Income Guarantee by Allan Sheahen for Huffington Post.

How Dr. King Shaped My Work in Economics by Joseph Stiglitz for the New York Times.

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One Response to “U.S. still hasn’t caught up with Dr. King”

  1. Atticus Says:

    In general I’m against a guaranteed job or income program. Overall, I see the reason people argue for this. Everyone deserves a chance and basic minimum human living conditions. On the other hand – what do you do about low performers or people who take advantage of the system at the expense of others? Should companies, small businesses, or the tax payer have to pay unskilled labor higher prices or above market wages for unskilled workers?

    In general, I just do not trust a Government body to identify and fill demand for jobs in the marketplace.

    I do agree that the top .01% is unjustly hoarding wealth. That might be more of a moral problem than one for Government though.


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