To build wealth among low-income people we've got to get honest about a few critical elements of the U. S. economy today that call for reform.
As millions of productive workers stepped into the light of the U. S. economy, wages would rise, taxes paid would increase, innovation would emerge and the economies on both sides of the border would expand. Clearly, continuing refusal to strike a deal on comprehensive reform keeps wages artificially low and explains in large part why we've not been able to achieve a sane policy.
To be sure, the benefit of a sub-culture that labors for extremely low wages can't be ignored. The real worry today regarding reform has more to do with the security of our wallets than that of our neighbors who hide in the shadowy places of our economy. This must change.
Further, pathways to citizenship have never hurt our nation. In fact, openness to immigrants all the way to the full national inclusion of citizenship is a hallmark of American national life and expectation.
Housing developers, education systems, health care providers, county and city governments that discriminate on the basis of race or class should be penalized severely. Discrimination must not be tolerated by individuals, families, communities, states or the broader nation. If we're honest, we will freely admit that discrimination continues to plague us.
Faith communities need to step up and help us achieve a new, never before realized sensitivity to the negative forces accompanying discrimination directed toward others who don't seem life us, but in fact, are our brothers and sisters. We must face the harsh truth that much of the poverty in our nation results from the poisonous dynamics of discrimination and prejudice in personal actions, as well as in public policy.