For the last twenty years, discussion about ways to improve the economy of Philadelphia and create jobs has far too often focused on both the wrong goal and the wrong means.
The goal has not been to reduce poverty and income inequality and create economic opportunity for those with low incomes, especially Black and brown people. Instead, it has been to pursue economic growth and jobs without regard for the impact on poverty.
The means have been cuts in business and wage taxes even though the evidence showing that this is an effective and efficient way of pursuing economic growth and creating more jobs has always been questionable. And there has been good reason to fear that tax cuts and the spending cuts or restraint they require would fail to reduce poverty and income inequality and possibly make them worse. Meanwhile, we have too often ignored alternatives to tax cuts as a strategy for generating jobs while increasing economic equality.
The aim of this paper is to redirect this debate.