Thursday, April 13, 2006

Concentration of Wealth: LA Edition

Income Gap More Like a Chasm - Los Angeles Times

"'We have a situation like we did in the 1930s, when auto manufacturing, mining and steel work were poverty jobs,' Wong said. Unionization moved those workers into the middle class, he says, and it can push service employees in the same direction.

Los Angeles County has 55,000 security guards, said Bruce Stenslie of the Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board.

'If you could move them from $8.50 an hour to $10.50, $11, $12, with health benefits,' as Local 1877 of the Service Employees International Union is trying to do with security guards, 'you'd have an enormous impact on the economy,' he said.

If you hear a sucking sound, it's mass hyperventilating by the fat and happy building and business owners who employ the security guards. But before you shed too many tears for the captains of industry, consider the billions of dollars in corporate welfare shelled out each year across the land, not to mention congressional largesse on offshore flimflam and other tax shelters and loopholes.

Beyond that, a living wage translates into more people contributing and fewer people on the dole."

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