Economic Issues Narratives

An Economy

That Works for All of Us

Progressive Economic Narrative

Quest
An Economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy

Americans understand that the economy now works for just the wealthy – and they want that to change. But they also want to be sure that we can grow the economy and increase prosperity. Our economic story shows that the policies that work for everyone are the same ones that boost economic growth.

The problem – Today, Americans struggle to earn enough to sustain a family, yet corporations use donations and lobbyists to manipulate the rules in their favor.

  • It’s time to rewrite the rules to people and families first, instead of the interests of just the wealthy and corporate CEOs.

Solution – We should make improving the incomes of working families and the middle-class our first priority—a strong middle class is the way to build a strong economy and thriving communities.

  • Prosperity comes from the middle-out, not trickle-down.
  • Working families and the middle class are the engines of our economy. When we have good jobs so we can care for and support our families, educate our children, afford our health care, shop in our neighborhoods and retire in security, we drive the economy forward and build thriving communities.
  • When we include everyone in our economy, we all do better.

How we get there – We build a strong middle class by decisions we make together. It’s time to rewrite the rules of the economy and politics to benefit all Americans by [issue examples in values terms]…:

  • Economic example: Raising wages for working people with equal pay for women, boosting the minimum wage and creating more family-supporting jobs by investing in infrastructure and clean, renewable energy.
  • Political example: Rewrite the rules of elections so that everyday Americans can represent us by running for office on the strength of their support from small donations—not big checks from the wealthiest Americans.
  • Talking about race: Taking down the barriers – discrimination in hiring, underfunded schools, a biased criminal justice system – that block equal opportunities for Blacks and Latinos.

Call to action – Together we can build an America that works for all of us.

  • The issue is not the size of our government, it’s who our government works for: the super-rich and corporate CEOs or working families and the middle class?
  • We’re working to build an America that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well connected.
  • When you said the pledge of allegiance was it for liberty and justice for the few, for the super-rich? Or for all? Americans have done this before. We can do it again. Together we can build an America with liberty and justice for all for all of us.
To access the Speaker notes: on the Google Slides control panel 
select the options button (gear icon), then open speaker notes.

Toolkit for Progressive Economic Narrative

Words to replace and embrace in talking about the economy

Talking About Race in Economic Narrative Messaging

Memes and Talking Points on Inclusive Economics

Boost or Bust – animated video on economy boosting jobs

Fairness and Growth: Progressive Economic Alternative – video

Training on how to put the Progressive Economic Narrative in your own words

Writing a Speech Mad-Lib for Elected Officials

Writing a Speech Mad-Lib for Issue Advocates

Quotes from Leaders Using Progressive Economic Narrative

Links to economic research behind the narrative [all attached].

Good Jobs

An Economy that Works for All of Us

Good Jobs and the Freedom to Organize Together

Quest
An economy that works for all of us, not just big corporations, with good jobs and the freedom for working people to stand up together.

The problem – Powerful corporations are using their influence to keep down wages and benefits, so that working people can’t meet the basics to care for and support their families. That hurts our communities and slows down the economy.

  • When corporations don’t allow working people to afford the basics, that means less spending in our neighborhoods, hurting small businesses and our communities.
  • Corporate CEOs want to call all the shots, even denying their employees the freedom to join together in a union and negotiate for decent wages and benefits and better working conditions.

Our solution – Working families and the middle class are the engines of the economy.
 When working people earn good pay and have decent benefits and can shop at local businesses and support and care for their families, they drive the economy moving forward.

  • The more we assure that every working person gets the opportunity to get a good job, the better we will all be.

How we get there – We build a strong middle class by decisions we make together.

  • It’s time to rewrite the rules so that businesses will pay decent wages and benefits; arrange work so that workers can do their jobs and care for their families; and respect working people’s freedom to stand together and form unions.
  • We need to break down the barriers – discrimination in hiring, a biased criminal justice system, underfunded schools – they keep incomes and opportunities down for Blacks and Latinos.

Call to action – Together, we can build an economy and an America that works for all of us.

  • Around the country, working people are standing up for the freedom to stick together at work, to be treated with dignity, to have our work rewarded with good pay and benefits that make it possible to care for and support our families.
  • It’s up to us to make sure that we write the rules so that corporations don’t get away with holding down wages and benefits while CEOs and stockholders get rich.
  • The issue is not the size of our government, it’s whose side the government is on – working families or CEOs. Our government 
should ensure opportunity for every working family, not just those with the most money and power.
  • When you said the pledge of allegiance was it for liberty and justice for the few, for the super-rich? Or for all? Americans have done this before. We can do it again. Together we can build an America with liberty and justice for all for all of us.

Download the Good Job Narrative

Words to Use In Talking about Economy

For more tips on how to talk about working people see AFL CIO Words the Work

Paid Sick Days

Overall Quest
Every working person should have paid sick days, so we can care for and support our families and build thriving communities.

The problem – No one should face the impossible choice of caring for their health and the health of their family or getting paid. But millions of working people, whose employers don’t include paid sick days as a basic benefit at work, make this decision every time they get sick or a family member needs care.

  • With so many women in today’s workforce, paid sick time should be a basic benefit for working moms and dads to be able to take care of themselves, a sick child or family member. Our families and our needs have changed, but the rules of the workplace have not kept up with the needs of the new workforce driving our economy.
  • Everyone wants what’s best for their children, but without paid sick days, parents are often forced to choose between their family’s financial stability and their health and children’s health.
  • We all get sick or need to care for ourselves and our families. Workplace protections should not be up to the policies of an individual employer, which results in some working people getting good benefits and others getting none.
  • Big corporations increase their profits by holding down wages and benefits, including basic protections like paid sick days.
  • Many small-business owners want to treat their employees well—including offering fair pay and good benefits. But big box stores and corporate chains threaten to undercut small, local businesses by denying working people basic benefits to care for and support their families, including paid sick days.

Our solution – No matter our occupation, we all get sick or need to take care of our family. All of us, by law, should have paid sick days as a basic standard at work.

  • Working people should have the peace of mind that comes with earning a decent wage and knowing one bout of flu or a sick child won’t cost them their job or being able to pay that month’s rent.
  • Paid sick days help seniors, when adult children can afford to take them to the doctor or care for them during an illness.
  • By providing paid sick days, so working people don’t lose pay or their job when they are sick or need to care for a sick family member, we help build thriving communities and boost the economy.

How we get there – We need to update the rules of the workplace, so working people can care for and support their families.

  • The basic rules of today’s workplace should include a set number of paid sick days, so people can get their work done and care for and support their families.
  • Just like our government sets standards for a 40-hour work week, minimum wage and health and safety, in today’s workforce we need to guarantee every working person a set number of paid sick days.
  • Setting a fair floor for wages and benefits will level the playing field for small businesses and allow them to treat their workers right without fear of being undercut by big corporations who hold down wages and benefits.

Call to action – It’s up to us to demand that every working person should have paid sick days, so we can care for and support our families and build thriving communities.

  • We must hold our elected officials accountable for rewriting the rules so that every job comes with a set number of paid sick days, so we can care for and support our families, and help our communities to thrive.
  • Cities and states around the country are leading the way by making paid sick days a basic benefit for working people. It’s time we did that for working people throughout the nation.
  • It’s time for policies that help families get ahead and build an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.

Download the Paid Sick Days Narrative

Download the American Women message guide for Economic Security for Women and Families

Download the Family Values at Work toolkit

Paid Family Leave

Overall Quest
Every working person should have paid family leave so we can care for and support our families and build thriving communities

The problem – Nearly everyone needs to take time away from work to care for a new child or to deal with a serious personal or family illness. But millions of working people, whose employers don’t include paid family leave as a basic benefit at work, cannot afford to take this essential time to care for their families.

  • With so many women in today’s workforce, paid family leave should be a basic benefit for working moms and dads to be able to take care of a new child or care for their own serious illness or that of a family member. Our families and our needs have changed, but the rules of the workplace have not kept up with the demands on the new workforce driving our economy.
  • Everyone wants what’s best for their family, but without paid family leave, parents are often forced to choose between their family’s financial stability and the health and well-being of their children or elderly parents.
  • All of us will have the need for family leave at some point in our lives. Workplace protections should not be up to the policies of an individual employer, which results in some people getting good benefits and others getting none.
  • Big corporations increase their profits by holding down wages and benefits, including basic protections like paid family leave.
  • Many small-business owners want to treat their employees well—including offering fair pay and good benefits. But big box stores and corporate chains threaten to undercut small, local businesses by denying working people basic benefits to care for and support their families, including paid family leave.

Our solution – No matter our occupation, we all need to take care of our family. All of us, by law, should have paid family leave as a basic standard at work.

  • Working people should have the peace of mind that comes with earning a decent wage and knowing that welcoming a new child, or they or family member suffering a serious won’t cost them their job or wreck their finances.
  • Paid family leave will benefit seniors, when adult children can afford to care for them during a serious illness.
  • By providing paid family leave, so working people can afford to take the time to care for a new child or to deal with their own or a loved one’s serious illness, we help build thriving communities and boost the economy.

How we get there  We need to update the rules of the workplace, so working people can care for and support their families.

  • The basic rules of today’s workplace should include a paid family leave fund, so all working people can afford to take that precious time with a new child or care for themselves or a loved one facing a serious illness.
  • Just like our government makes funds for retirement and workers compensation a basic part of work, in today’s workforce we need to make a fund for family leave part of every job.
  • Setting a fair floor for wages and benefits will level the playing field for small businesses and allow them to treat their workers right without fear of being undercut by big corporations who hold down wages and benefits.

Call to action  It’s up to us to demand that every working person should have paid family leave, so we can care for and support our families and build thriving communities.

  • We must hold our elected officials accountable for rewriting the rules so that every job comes with a family leave, so we can care for and support our families, and help our communities to thrive.
  • States around the country are leading the way by making paid sick days a basic benefit for working people. It’s time we did that for working people throughout the nation.
  • It’s time for policies that help families get ahead and build an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.

Download Paid Family Leave Narrative

Download the American Women message guide for Economic Security for Women and Families

Download the Family Values at Work toolkit

Fair Work Week

An Economy that Works for All of Us – Not Just the Wealthy

Overall Quest
Every working person should have a fair workweek – reliable hours at decent pay, so we can care for and support our families and build thriving communities

The problem – Big corporations are playing games with working peoples’ time, forcing moms, dads and students to scramble to meet last minute, unreliable work hours.

  • Too many working people are available to work but don’t get the hours the need to meet the basics. That slows down the economy and harms our communities.
  • Ever-changing work hours harm family and individual health, increase stress and contribute to sleep loss, poor mental health, and increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

Our solution – Set basic standards for every job, with decent pay and hours we can count on, so that working people can care for and support our families, keep healthy and build thriving communities.

How we get there  We need to rewrite the rules to set basic standards for every job, with decent pay and hours we can count on.

  • Insist that corporations use modern technology to deliver hours that allow us to care for our families and get the job done.
  • Require that a job come up enough hours each week so working people can budget to make ends meet.
  • Fairly compensating employees for their time and flexibility – just like someone who puts in extra hours earns overtime pay, so too should someone who sacrifices their personal life to be available on short-notice.
  • Protect people from unhealthy schedules, like those that require an employee to close late at night and turn right around to open the next morning.

Call to action  It’s up to us to demand we all have a workweek we can count on – one that allows all of us to support and care of our families, keep healthy, and support our communities.

  • We must hold our elected officials accountable for rewriting the rules so that every job comes with reliable hours at decent pay, so we can care for and support our families, and help our communities to thrive.

We can do this. We can build an America that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.

Download the Fair Workweek Narrative

Raising Wages

An Economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.

Overall Quest
Every working person should be paid enough to care for and support their family

The problem – Powerful corporations are using their influence to keep down wages, so that working people can’t meet the basics to care for and support their families. 
That hurts our communities and slows down the economy.

  • It’s ridiculous that even jobs like nursing assistants, preschool teachers, and paramedics pay low wages – much less than $15 an hour. We should value working people more than that.
  • The minimum wage is so low that many full time workers qualify for food stamps and other public assistance. Taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize low wage employers; corporations should pay workers enough to live on

Our Solution – Working families and middle-class are the engines of the economy. The more money we put in the pockets of working people, the more their spending boosts Main Street, creates jobs and helps our communities thrive.

  • The more we assure that every working person gets the opportunity to get a good job, the better we will all be.

How we Get There – By raising the minimum wage so that working people can meet the basics to care for and support their families, we boost the economy and help build thriving communities.

  • Raise the minimum wage to lower the imbalance between what men and women get paid for the same work.
  • Take down the barriers – discrimination in hiring, underfunded schools, a biased criminal justice system – that keep wages lower for Blacks and Latinos.
  • Raise the minimum wage to level the playing field between small businesses, who do the right thing by paying higher wages than big, out of state corporations.
    • Small businesses pay understand that when their employees earn more, that boosts Main Street and builds thriving communities.
  • End the subminimum tipped wage so that every working person can care and support their families.

 

Call to Action – It’s time we raised the minimum wage!

  • Around the country, working people are standing up for the freedom to stick together at work, to be treated with dignity, to have our work rewarded with good pay and benefits that make it possible to care for and support our families.
  • It’s up to us to make sure that we write the rules so that corporations don’t get away with holding down wages and benefits while CEOs and stockholders get rich.

Every working parent should get paid enough to care for their kids and set them off toward 
a great future.

Download Raising the Minimum Wage Narrative

Raising Wages Message Guide.pdf

Raising Wages Epic Story Elements.docx

American Wages: Public Opinion Research on Raising Wages

Stand with Women

For an America that Works for All of Us

Overall Quest
Every woman should have a full opportunity to live a fulfilling life and be valued for her contributions to society.

The problem – Today, women are central to caring for and supporting our families and growing our nation’s economy. But while times have changed, the rules and standards about work haven’t kept up.

  • Working women and men struggle to earn enough to raise and sustain a family, while CEOs use donations and lobbyists manipulate the rules in their favor.

For many women that means low pay, little or no paid time off to care for a newborn baby, sick child or elderly parent, costly childcare and no retirement benefits.

  • Too many elected officials are taking away access to the reproductive services women need to make their own decisions about health care and starting a family.

Our solution – We should make improving the incomes and lives of working families and the middle class our first priority. When women earn enough to care and support a family, their spending boosts the economy and builds thriving communities.

How we get there – It’s time to rewrite the rules so that women’s work and contributions are fully valued.

  • Equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage to a family supporting wage, guaranteeing the right to stick together and form a union, and ensuring fair promotions and representation in leadership at work.
  • The freedom to make the most important decision in a woman’s life: if, when and how many children to have – without interference from elected officials or employers. That means full access to affordable, reproductive health services, including no-cost birth control, abortion, pregnancy and maternity care.
  • Investments in affordable childcare, education, job training, and retirement security, so women can participate fully in our communities and the economy.
  • Taking down the barriers of discrimination that block equal opportunity for women of color to care for and support their families and make a better life for their children.
  • Paid sick days to care for ourselves or a sick child and paid family leave to care for a newborn or family member. It means reliable hours at work, so we can plan the time to care for our families. And an end to loss of pay and promotions that result from time off for caring for children and aging relatives.

Call to action – It’s time for every leader and lawmaker in our country to decide whether to stand with women or to stand in their way.

  • Together we can build a better future for our families in an America that works for all of us

Download Stand with Women Narrative

Taxes and Budget

 Fair Taxes for a Prosperous America

Overall Quest
An economy that works for all of us, not just big corporations and the wealthy few, with fair taxes that help build the foundation for a strong and prosperous America.

  • Thriving communities and families are built on the foundations that are paid for with taxes.

The problem – Out-of-control tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthy are syphoning off the resources needed to build thriving communities.

  • Corporations and the wealthy have manipulated the rules of the tax system to benefit themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

We could accomplish a lot more in America if we cleaned-up the giant tax loopholes and wasteful tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations.

  • When the wealthy pay lower tax rates than the rest of us, our tax system is upside down. We need to turn it right-side up.
  • Many big profitable corporations – such as GE, Pfizer, and Verizon – have gone years without paying any federal income taxes at all. When they don’t pay, the rest of us have to fill the gaps.

Our solution – To build strong and prosperous communities, we need to clean up the tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations.

  • We all benefit if we have enough resources to invest in thriving communities and families.

How we get there – We need to rewrite the rules of our tax code to invest in thriving communities.

  • Instead of cutting funding for our communities, we should close the tax loopholes that benefit the rich and big corporations.
  • Level the playing field for small businesses by closing loopholes that favor big corporations.
  • Turn the tax system right-side up, by assuring that the wealthy pay a higher share of all their income than working families and the middle-class.

Call to action  Together, we can insist on fair taxes to build thriving communities.

  • We can hold our elected officials accountable for creating a tax system that works for working families and the middle-class, instead of the wealthy and big corporations.
  • We will fight for ending the tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations and investing those funds in building thriving communities all across America.

Download Tax Narrative

Americans for Tax Fairness Messages.docx

Research on Taxes