Looking at a chart of our GDP over the last 50 years (see above), our economy appears to be better than it ever has been. But that is not the reality for many of us and our loved ones. That is why, as Democrats, our goal isn't just for more GDP—we are for an economy that works for everyone.
The truth is that income inequality has risen to astronomical levels. This trend has tracked with the decline in labor unions. We have weakened protections for the middle and working classes, and we have given free reign to forces and pressures in our economy that make life harder for Hoosiers. Just look at these charts, which show this increasing disparity:
So what can we do to reverse these trends? Our Democratic candidates have some positive ideas. We can support efforts such as Senator Joe Donnelly’s End Outsourcing Act that closes tax loopholes that give incentives for corporations to ship American jobs overseas. In sharp contrast to GOP tax breaks for corporations, we believe that our tax code should not reward or even fund companies that eliminate Hoosier jobs. We have an obligation to take care of our state and our hard-working neighbors.
Moreover, earning a sustainable, livable wage allows working families to provide for their families, save for retirement, and get ahead. As 9th District Candidate Liz Watson has noted, we need to strengthen the ability of Hoosier workers to collectively bargain and progressively raise minimum wage from the stagnant $7.25/hour to at least $15/hour to help accomplish this goal. At bottom, no one working full time should live in poverty in this country. We also want to support and grow our small businesses, while also creating a viable pathway for everyday Hoosier to become entrepreneurs and bring innovative growth to Indiana.
Make no mistake: this is a vision for Indiana that requires equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities for everyone. Donnelly and Watson will fight to make this reality. Watson has exemplified this fight with her strong advocacy for families and those already in the workforce to move up through the economy. Watson stated,
In my travels in the district, I heard about a woman who did everything right. She enrolled in a two-year college and earned her degree. Yet, she was still working in fast food and stuck paying off school loans because her degree hadn’t led to a good-paying job. This young woman deserves better. We have employers who want higher-skilled employees, and employees who want training for higher-skilled jobs. This means making two-year and four-year college affordable, investing in “earn as you learn” apprenticeship programs that have a proven track record of success, and working with Indiana’s employers so that workforce training programs better meet industry needs. It also means supporting students who are in these programs with help paying for the child care and transportation many of them need to succeed. With a rapidly changing and increasingly digital economy, we must do everything we can to ensure that Indiana’s workforce training system is ready to help working people gain the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future.
Indiana is home to some of the most innovative and productive companies in the country, and Hoosiers epitomize the work ethic that has made and remade America time and time again. We as Democrats and as a state are at our best when we are working together to lift each other up. This isn't some sophomoric Ayn Rand fantasy; this is about real and pragmatic policy solutions to make our economy work for everyone.
Let's spread the word. #monroedems2018 #workinghoosiers