To the Readers' Forum:
In the last century, before unions had gained the 40 hour week and the minimum wage, workers lived in factory houses and had to buy food and goods from the factory store. At the end of the year the worker owed so much to the factory store that he had to work another year to pay off the debt. But the cycle only repeated itself.
The same thing happens today. When an employee works for a corporation, they are in debt to the corporation, but instead of making the employee work another year, the corporation makes the taxpayers put up the money to pay for the employee's food. That money is what we call Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), and other programs administered by the Department of Social Services.
Why are we taxpayers subsidizing corporations who make billions in untaxed profits, pay their CEOs millions of dollars per year, and ship jobs to other countries?
An idea was presented at the September Human Services Committee of the County Legislature. The idea was for the DSS to have each applicant list the place they work and how much they get paid in a way the county can access the information. (New York State has that information but we can't get it.)
If a corporation pays an employee an amount that puts that employee and/or the employee's family under the poverty line, or pays them low enough that the employee qualifies for programs that accept clients at 130% over the poverty line, the DSS can then require the corporation to pay the employee $3,000 over the poverty line, and pay for any programs the employee still needs to be self-sufficient.
Think of the taxmoney we could save.
Think of how people would be better honored for their work instead of having pay stolen from them.
This is an idea that still needs to be thought out. If you want to help, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us hope we can do something for one another.