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Creating equity for minimum wage workers

Commentary | April 20, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

What is the value of work? Is it what you get paid? Economists trained to embrace the private market simply equate the value of your work with your wage. It's simple, easy to understand…and wrong.

A look at the buffet your taxes provide

Commentary | April 6, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It's too bad paying taxes feels like such a solitary activity, because it's really a community endeavor. I think of it like a potluck buffet: everyone brings a little something to the table, and as a result we all have more to choose from. Is this “potluck buffet” perfect for me personally? Not always. But it works for my fellow citizens pretty well.

Racism still divides us and holds us back

Commentary | March 23, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Sen. Ted Cruz has one thing correct about the founding fathers. They did craft the constitution to act as chains to bind. But these chains bound slavery to liberty, enforced servitude to free labor, and agricultural production to plantation elites.

Washington state should commemorate Women’s History Month by focusing on their economic future

Commentary | March 18, 2016 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

While women in other states can celebrate recent strides toward equality, here in Washington our state Legislature marked Women’s History Month by closing down its 2016 regular session on March 10 with bills that attacked gender inequity...dead in their tracks.

It takes a web of public support to keep ourselves healthy

Commentary | March 9, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Mention “the web” and many people will think you're talking about the Internet. But when you're having a serious medical problem, you see an entirely different network in action.

Gender Pay Gap Contributes to Economic Insecurity for Older Women

Commentary | March 3, 2016 | By Marilyn Watkins | AgeWise King County

Making policy changes that increase economic security for younger working families now, with particular attention to gender and racial disparities, will improve outcomes for all generations.

Black history, U.S. history are inseparable

Commentary | February 10, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

This month is Black History Month. In reality, every month is Black History month, because without black people, there would be no United States. Black history is tied up with slavery and capitalism, territorial expansion, annihilation of native Americans, the Civil War, Jim Crow, and ongoing inequality. It is tied up with these elements not as a peripheral happening on the margins of America, but as central to American development.

Arrival of paid maternity leave is long overdue in Washington State

Commentary | February 5, 2016 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

The neighborhood parents have bonded, not just over sleep schedules and teething, but also commiserating over how both moms and dads had to return to work too soon. And these are middle class parents who could afford to buy a house in Seattle in the past few years.

We all need and deserve paid family leave

Commentary | January 27, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Washington state's proposed Family and Medical Leave Insurance is a completely American solution, like Social Security -- one that will protect workers and families when they need it most.

Want quality early learning? Pay teachers

Commentary | January 13, 2016 | Everett Herald

The Legislature has turned a blind eye to Washington's youngest residents by passing legislation (like the Early Start Act) that talks a lot about high-quality child care, with nary a word about teacher compensation. The consequences of low wages are clear here, as they are in any workforce: low morale, high turnover and not much education. It's not a pathway to high quality early learning.

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