It’s no surprise that higher education is getting more expensive in this country. But it might be a surprise that it doesn’t have to, if we’d fund education properly. Instead, we encourage students to make up for funding shortfalls with student loans, impeding their ability to buy a home, have children or save for their retirement.
This segregated system of private and public schools undermines the sense of common purpose and common commitment to education. People who pay more than $30,000 a year for their kid’s private school have no interest in funding public education for the masses.
Seattle and Washington State now have some of the most progressive labor laws in the country, with a higher minimum wage, a right to paid sick days, fair scheduling in Seattle, and in a couple years, paid family and medical leave for every worker in the state. Coalitions of community groups, labor unions, and working people came together with elected leaders to develop and enact these standards.
Boeing gets huge tax breaks in Washington. And it’s hemorrhaging jobs. Taxpayers are basically paying Boeing to lay people off. Paul Ryan is like the Big Bad Wolf trying to convince the Three Little Pigs that investing in a slaughterhouse will turn their fortunes around.
It’s not the first time New York has copied us. Back in 2011, Seattle passed an ordinance mandating paid sick days for workers in our city. That ordinance became the template for New York City’s paid sick days law. Starbucks is the most popular coffee shop in Manhattan. And you’re starting to think polyamory is hip.
China, drowning in smog, is now the leader in solar and wind energy innovation, copying the American playbook from 50 years ago. While Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, the rest of the world is moving towards renewable energy and buying Chinese technology to implement it. If we allow the Trump administration to lower regulations on fossil fuels, we are not only losing environmental gains — we’re also giving China a competitive edge.
Prosperity comes with a cost, and it’s often black, brown, or poor. In Seattle, we’re fighting back against the injustice.
None of us is immune from the ups and downs of health and wellness. That’s why the new family and medical leave law includes time off to recover from a serious illness or injury, or to care for a seriously ill family member. Because unexpected changes in our home or family situations is something we all face – and isn’t something that should cause financial distress.
Just as Washington’s 1989 bill became the model for federal action, this new law is already being heralded as a template for legislation in other states and nationally.
You can’t get rich if you’re in bankruptcy from cancer treatments. You can’t succeed in business if your employees and customers can’t reach you. You can’t be a great employee – or come up with the next big business idea – if you don’t get a shot at a great education.
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