Work and Economic Inclusion
All jobs are not equal. Employment prospects for numerous citizens are limited to jobs that offer low pay, no benefits, and limited opportunities for advancement or a career path. Many of these workers now have a name, “essential workers.” If America is to be the land of opportunity, then it is imperative that job creation efforts focus on providing a livable wage that allows people to thrive economically beyond subsistence.
The commonwealth assumptions that created the United States and informed its original market structures were flawed from the start as many inhabitants of colonial America were considered means of production and excluded from economic prosperity experienced by an elite few.
The current pandemic has forced us to question many assumptions about our free market economy and revealed its limitations and biases requiring additional government intervention. Government policy should incentivize the creation of good jobs. Providing good jobs enhances not only the workers but also their employers and the economy overall.
Atlanta is number one in the wealth gap.
A 2019 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows most metro Atlanta zip codes with the least resources are located along and below I-20.
Atlanta ranks lowest in terms of social mobility, increasing the likelihood and incidents of multigenerational poverty. The unemployment rate for Black Americans exceeds that of Whites: White 14.2%, Black 16.7%
The poverty rate for Black Americans is more than double that of Whites. White 8.1%, Black 20.8%
A larger share of Black Americans lack health insurance compared to Whites. White 5.4%, Black 9.7%
Child poverty impacts adult success. The longer children remain poor the lower the likelihood of being successful.
Food insecurity and food deserts continue to be an issue for the 5th District.
Atlanta is No. 7 among U.S. cities with the lowest percentage of Black homeowners. Whites 73.2%, Blacks 41.1%
Black households pay 13% more in property taxes each year than would a White family in a comparable situation.
Policy Proposition and Implementation
Federal labor laws should mandate wage equity and a livable working wage. OSHA guidelines should include pandemic mitigation efforts in line with CDC guidelines. Workforce development should begin earlier by teaching career and technical skill courses while students are in high school (e.g. Shaw High School East Cleveland, OH). Economic development efforts in the 5th District should require economic equity impact statements before granting corporate tax credits.