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September 30, 2020 Ashlee Niedospial firstname.lastname@example.org 570.778.5916
New Haven, CT – Connecticut Voices for Children today released a report entitled, “The State of Working Connecticut: Advancing Economic Justice in the Labor Market” that examines the economic standing of Connecticut’s workers and calls for a sweeping, antiracist program to advance economic justice within the labor market. The report offers six recommendations, which includes reparations to Black Americans, to combat rising wage inequality and to address the substantial racial wage gaps in the U.S. and Connecticut. “As Connecticut continues to reopen and recover, we must consider how our state and local policies impact the most vulnerable amongst us,” said Emily Byrne, Executive Director of Connecticut Voices for Children. “A strong economy must be rooted in a justice path to equitable earning capacity for every Connecticut resident. Intentional actions must be taken that acknowledge the dignity of labor.” At the broadest level, a just economic system will produce a strong economy with an equitable distribution of income and wealth, which together will enable all families to live a secure and fulfilling life. Because wages are the largest source of income for the typical worker and because “higher incomes can be saved into stocks of wealth,” the rise in wage inequality is a key cause of both rising income inequality and rising wealth inequality. Rising wage inequality, due in large part to a decline in worker power, and a substantial racial wage gap, due in large part to racial discrimination, have been two defining features of Connecticut’s labor market for several decades. The report found that both income inequality and wealth inequality, which have been rising for several decades in the U.S. and have recently reached the highest levels since at least the end of the Second World War in 1945, are even greater in Connecticut than in the U.S. as a whole. “The distribution of Connecticut’s economic system is highly unjust, especially for families of color,” said Patrick O’Brien, Research and Policy Fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children. “And two key causes of economic injustice are rising wage inequality and a substantial racial wage gap. This means that reforming Connecticut’s labor market is essential to advancing economic justice in the state.” Research shows that rising economic inequality is in turn slowing economic growth. The coronavirus recession will likely exacerbate rising wage inequality and the racial wage gap and Connecticut’s regressive tax system already further exacerbates both problems. To advance economic justice in the labor market by strengthening worker power and countering racial discrimination, CT Voices recommends the following federal policies:
The Federal Reserve (Fed) should use monetary policy—the adjustment of the money supply and interest rates—both to reach full employment as quickly as possible and to maintain full employment as long as possible.
The federal government should use fiscal policy—the adjustment of spending and taxes—both to reach full employment as quickly as possible and to maintain full employment as long as possible.
The federal government should extend the increase in unemployment benefits under the CARES Act both to support unemployed workers and to prevent further job losses.
To advance economic justice in the labor market by strengthening worker power and countering racial discrimination, CT Voices recommends the following state policies:
The Connecticut government should expend the Budget Reserve Fund (BRF) and create a progressive tax system both to reach full employment as quickly as possible and to maintain full employment as long as possible.
The Connecticut government should speed up the implementation date of the state’s new minimum wage and also consider increasing the minimum wage to a living wage.
CT Voices also recommends the following policy (which is not specific to strengthening worker power and countering racial discrimination in the labor market) as part of a sweeping, antiracist program to advance economic justice:
The federal government should consider viable ways to make reparations to Black Americans.
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About Connecticut Voices for Children: Connecticut Voices for Children is a “think and do” tank working to ensure that Connecticut is a thriving and equitable state, and where all children achieve their full potential. In furtherance of its vision, Connecticut Voices for Children produces high-quality research and analysis, promotes citizen education, advocates for policy change at the state and local level, and works to develop the next generation of leaders.