But before Berkeley sends another potentially pointless anti-poor ordinance through the courts, it makes sense to institute a retail vacancy fee on landlords who keep storefront locations empty for years, refusing to acknowledge the recession’s effect on merchants, generally, and the effect of empty storefronts, specifically, on a struggling commercial area.
In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned about 9 percent of the nation’s income. By the start of the Great Recession, the rich were getting more than 23 percent of total income. Yet real income for the rest of us has remained stagnant, and the number of Americans in poverty is rising.
Congress and President Obama should join forces to put America back to work, even if investments in education and infrastructure cause short-term deficits. Money in the wallets of low-income and working-class people is the best recipe for raising demand and producing economic growth.
Investigating the assassinations of Martin and Malcolm over the past decade has been a pilgrimage into martyrdom. From that journey, I have learned, first of all, how naïve I was about systemic evil. While there is nothing new about prophets being murdered by the system, I was not aware of how well our own system carries out such murders — and why.
A city’s welcoming attitude toward strangers, travelers and the poor might have its costs. But so does constantly cycling vulnerable people through the courts and jails. I’d rather give a dollar to a stranger than play any role in yet another unconstitutional law.