The following LWVUS Positions can be used to address Economic Inequality. During our study of the problem we need to look for aspects that are not addressed by these Positions. For example: 1) we do not have positions supporting public funding for higher education for other than ‘needy students’; 2) could our fiscal policy position support substantial increase in taxes for corporations and the top 1% in wealth? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org as you find more examples. These could form the basis for a recommendation for a National study in 2016 to fill the gaps in our Positions so that the League can fully address Economic Inequality
SOCIAL POLICY (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.63-64).
Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. Promote social and economic justice, and the health and safety of all Americans (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.58).
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the federal government shares with other levels of government the responsibility to provide equality of opportunity for education, employment and housing for all persons in the United States regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation or disability. Employment opportunities in modern, technological societies are closely related to education; therefore, the League supports federal programs to increase the education and training of disadvantaged people. The League supports federal efforts to prevent and/or remove discrimination in education, employment and housing and to help communities bring about racial integration of their school systems.
Further Guidelines and Criteria
In more specific terms, the kinds of programs the League supports include:
- Programs in basic education, occupational education and retraining when needed at any point of an individual’s working career.
- Expanded opportunities in apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs.
- Child-care centers for preschool children to give parents the opportunity for employment.
- Greatly increased educational opportunity through compensatory programs for disadvantaged groups beginning at the preschool level and extending through secondary education.
- Federal financial aid to help needy students remain in high school and to take advantage of post-high school training and education.
- A regional approach to problems of economically depressed areas that cuts across state lines.
- Programs that would inform individuals of their civil rights in education, employment and housing, and of the opportunities open to them
EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT CRITERIA (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.64).
In evaluating federal programs that have been, or will be, established to provide equality of opportunity for education and employment, the League will support those programs that largely fulfill the following criteria:
- The nationwide effort to achieve equality of opportunity in education and employment should include participation of government at all levels and encourage the participation of private institutions.
- Programs should assist people to become self-supporting, contributing members of society
FAIR HOUSING CRITERIA (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.64-65).
The following criteria should be applied to programs and policies to provide equal opportunity for access to housing without discrimination:
Responsibility in the nationwide effort to achieve equality of opportunity for access to housing resides with government at all levels and with the private sector — builders, lending institutions, realtors, labor unions, business and industry, news media, civic organizations, educational institutions, churches and private citizens
FISCAL POLICY (impact on Issues 2012-2014,p.66-67)
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that federal fiscal policy should provide for: adequate and flexible funding of federal government programs through an equitable tax system that is progressive overall and that relies primarily on a broad-based income tax; responsible deficit policies; and a federal role in providing mandatory, universal, old-age, survivors, disability and health insurance.
The LWVUS believes that the federal tax system should: be fair and equitable; provide adequate resources for government programs while allowing flexibility for financing future program changes; be understandable to the taxpayer and encourage compliance; accomplish its objectives without creating undue administrative problems. The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the federal tax system, taken as a whole, should be progressive, not proportional.
The League: supports income as the major tax base for federal revenues; believes that the federal income tax should be broad-based with minimal tax preferences and a progressive rate structure; opposes a value-added tax or a national sales tax in the federal revenue system.
Under this position, the League of Women Voters would support tax measures that broaden the base and improve the equity of the income tax while working to incorporate progressivity into the tax system, taken as a whole. In evaluating specific tax preferences, the League will use the following criteria: whether the tax preference promotes equity and progressivity; whether the tax preference effectively furthers League of Women Voters program goals; whether the tax preference is the most efficient means of achieving its purpose; whether the revenue loss from the tax preference is justifiable.
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the current federal deficit should be reduced. In order to reduce the deficit, the government should rely primarily on reductions in defense spending through selective cuts and on increased revenue through a tax system that is broad-based with progressive rates. The government also should achieve whatever savings possible through improved efficiency and management. The League opposes across-the-board federal spending cuts.
The League recognizes that deficit spending is sometimes appropriate and therefore opposes a constitutionally mandated balanced budget for the federal government. The League could support deficit spending, if necessary, for stimulating the economy during recession and depression, meeting social needs in times of high unemployment and meeting defense needs in times of national security crises. The League opposes a federal budget line-item veto.
Funding of Entitlements
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the federal government has a role in funding and providing for old-age, survivors, disability and health insurance. For such insurance programs, participation should be mandatory and coverage should be universal. Federal deficit reduction should not be achieved by reducing Social Security benefits.
MEETING BASIC HUMAN NEEDS (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.74).
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that one of the goals of social policy in the United States should be to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families and that the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty.
Note: A reliable source reports that, at its January 2015 Meeting, the Board of LWVUS determined that this position may be used by local and state Leagues to support increases in the local or state minimum wage or living wage with the understanding that the state and local leagues will do the research necessary to determine what is an appropriate wage for their own community.
Persons who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate or for whom jobs are not available have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic needs for food, shelter and access to health care
PREVENTING AND REDUCING POVERTY (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.74).
In order to prevent or reduce poverty, the LWVUS supports policies and programs designed to: increase job opportunities; increase access to health insurance; provide support services such as child care and transportation; provide opportunities and/or incentives for basic or remedial education and
job training; decrease teen pregnancy; ensure that noncustodial parents contribute to the support of their children
CRITERIA FOR HOUSING SUPPLY (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.75-76).
The following considerations can be applied to programs and policies to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family:
The responsibility for achieving national housing goals rests primarily with the federal government, which should assure that our economic system is functioning to produce and maintain sufficient decent housing for citizens at all income levels;
CHILD CARE (Impact on Issues 2012-2014, p.76).
Support programs, services and policies at all levels of government to expand the supply of affordable, quality child care for all who need it, in order to increase access to employment and to prevent and reduce poverty