Raising the Floor confronts America’s biggest economic challenge-the fundamental restructuring of the economy and the emerging disruptive technology that threaten secure jobs and income. Andy Stern convincingly shows why it is time to consider a universal basic income as the nation’s twenty-first-century solution to increasing inequality.
In 2010, troubled by watching families chase the now-elusive American Dream, Andy Stern began a five-year journey to investigate how technology will impact jobs and the future of work. Stern, formerly the head of the nation’s most influential and fastest-growing union, the Service Employees International Union, investigated these issues with a wide range of CEOs, futurists, economists, workers, entrepreneurs, and investment bankers who are shaping the future.
The sobering assessment that emerged from his research-across the political spectrum, from libertarians at the CATO Institute to the leaders of the progressive left-is that this time is different: there will be meager benefits that come with full-time work and fewer good jobs overall. Facing such a challenging moment, Stern’s solution is fittingly bold: to establish a universal basic income by eliminating many current government programs and adding new resources. At once vivid, provocative, and pragmatic, Raising the Floor will spark a national conversation about creating the new American Dream.
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Andy Stern is a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy. He was formerly president of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the union of hospital, health-care, nursing-home, food-service, home-care, janitorial, and public employees. SEIU played a major role in getting Barack Obama elected President of the United States in 2008, and it also is credited with being the driving force behind securing passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Stern was one of five Presidential appointees to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles), where he authored a minority report on deficit reduction and promoting economic growth. He has served on numerous boards, including those of the Aspen Institute, Broad Foundation, Council on Competitiveness, Economic Policy Institute, Council on Foreign Relations Trade Task Force, Kaiser Coalition, Open Society Foundations, and Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.