I’ve been a Dig reader for a long time and read with interest your article on Amazon’s low wages being subsidized with SNAP benefits (There’s a Cure for Amazon’s SNAP Abuse, DigBoston, March 23, 2021).
I agree that labor rights need to be strengthened, but I think there is a parallel solution that I have not seen discussed.
If a person eligible for SNAP benefits is a full time employee (or full time gig worker) for one employer, that person’s wages are not sufficient to maintain a minimum standard of living. That person is effectively under-employed.
Federal law should say that in that event, the employee or gig worker should get SNAP benefits, but in addition, the cost of those SNAP benefits should be billed to the employer as a tax.
That is basically how unemployment benefits work—the difference being that the benefits and tax are mostly set at the state level. Also, each state and the federal government have unemployment trust funds that are there to maintain stability in the system in the event of an economic downturn. (Thanks to COVID, the Massachusetts trust fund is about $5 billion in the hole at the moment, but I digress.)
It would take a bureaucratic overlay at the Agriculture Department to handle the extra billing and accounting, but they could subcontract with the Labor Department or state unemployment departments to use existing systems that accomplish basically the same goal in the unemployment insurance program.
A system like this could effectively tell large employers that they can pay higher wages, or they can pay for the SNAP benefits that result from low wages, but either way, they will pay.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I won’t even mention your use of sentence fragments. Which slows down reading for anyone looking for a subject and a verb between the capital letter and the period.