Time to address income inequality

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Are Democrats afraid of talking about income inequality? Our country is splitting into a small group of "haves" versus an ever-larger group of have-nots. The 1% have done very well for themselves over the past few decades, but the middle class has been treading water and the people at the bottom are struggling to hold on.

Why is this? All kinds of reasons, but one of them is a coordinated assault on unions and working people. When we band together to negotiate for fairer wages, that creates an upward pressure where all businesses in the same region have to offer better opportunities in order to lure skilled workers to their company. Take away that bargaining power, and you get what we see now -- the CEOs and upper management hold onto their profits and do not share them with the workers. Workers compete with each other in a race to the bottom, where we work ever-more hours for ever-less pay.

I'm encouraged by the fight to raise the minimum wage nationwide, and how we are winning that fight. If you hold down a job, you should have the ability to support your family. Period. When people are working 2 or 3 jobs just to try and keep a roof over their family's heads, something is wrong. Low wage workers today have little chance at working their way out of living paycheck-to-paycheck, unless we organize together.

Wall Street and the big banks got their bailout, but millions lost their homes and livelihoods in the last recession. Where was the help for them? Banks took advantage of African American and Latino customers in Los Angeles with predatory lending, and our communities were the hardest hit later on.

Because our political system runs on money, it's not easy to speak out against the folks that bankroll campaigns and help us get elected (and re-elected). But in the end, we have to remember that 99% of the votes will beat 1% of them. Have courage, Democrats. Isn't defending the equal opportunities of our country one of the most important reasons to run for office in the first place? Together we can and should push for economic justice for all.


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