While unemployment in Illinois is about 4 percent, 44 percent of people in Illinois are poor or low-income. This includes 54 percent of children (1.6 million), 46 percent of women (3 million), 62 percent of people of color (2.9 million) and 34 percent of White people (2.7 million).
Meanwhile, The richest 1% of Illinois residents are expected to receive 26% of the benefits Trump’s tax cuts. Their average tax cut is expected to be $9,390, while the poorest 20% are expected to pay $90 more. Almost two thirds of lower income people worry about paying their bills, with one in five of this group worrying daily about making ends meet. Much of this is because wage increases from 1973-2013 (up 9.2%) have not kept up with increases in productivity (up 74.4%). Instead, these gains have flowed almost exclusively to the top 1%, who have seen their annual pay increase by 138% since 1979 compared to an increase of only 15% for the bottom 90% in the same period.
We must build an economy that works for everyone and we can start by setting a floor for what it means to be a member of the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. This means having medical expenses covered. It means setting a federal minimum wage of $15/hr and pegging it to inflation. It means ensuring that everyone has access to affordable high quality public education so that they can compete in a global economy.