P50L EITC Odd Couples

Odd Couples Both For & Against the P50L EITC

The P50L Earned Income Tax Credit for FULL-TIME workers would raise the payment to halfway (50%) between the Poverty line (P) and the Living Wage (L). Welcome to Politically Stange Bedfellow Wednesday for those in favor or against this week’s solution.

The Problem

Our middle class has shrunk by 11% in 40 years, and the US murder rate is way above that of Canada or the UK. We love buying cheap goods and services from other countries. But we hate low-paying, dead-end jobs.

The Solution

To grow the middle class by increasing the earned income tax credit for full-timers in industries that can’t afford to pay a living wage and giving corporate tax credits to those who can through the WELCOME Living Wage Tax Credit. It’ll reduce despair, grow the middle class, increase American competitiveness, and all but eliminate crime.


Crime in society has annual direct costs of $680B and $3.41T in secondary harm. It’s shocking and should be intolerable.

There is an almost perfect correlation between the drop in crime since the 1990s and the increase in household income. People making a living wage don’t need a crime side hustle. If the free market can’t help the remaining full-time working poor, then WELCOME and the P50L EITC can.

Currently, the Earned Income Tax Credit brings recipients up to the poverty (P) level, which is well below the Living (L) wage for an individual or family.

Globalization and competition provide us with abundant cheap goods and services, especially popular with the lowest quarter of earners, but the flip side of that coin is low-paying jobs.

The cost of the P50L (between $241B and $411B)* is way less than the cost of crime to society. You can get a complete cost breakdown in our Monday introduction article.

Instead of fighting a trade war with inflationary tariffs against 200 countries to misguidedly protect our workers and industry, why not expand the EITC so workers can afford to buy American and end involuntary poverty simultaneously?

How did it
get this bad?

Both parties benefit from crime or would do something effective against it besides rhetoric at election time.

The Democrats’ base benefits from good-paying jobs in law, policing, social work, security, and corrections.

The Republicans’ base benefits from selling guns, self-defense, security services, and running for-profit prisons with their cheap inmate labor.

The US has, by far, the highest incarceration rates of any industrialized country. Both parties have had simultaneous control of the House, Senate, and White House over the past 50 years. It’s both their responsibility.

We have better things to do than manufacture criminals for wages, jobs, status, profit, and wealth, whether through inattention, neglect, incompetence, or malice.

Politics 4.0
PolicyKeys Values

  1. Be open to private and/or public sector solutions.
  2. Talk about public policies, not public figures.
  3. Score any solution (leaderboard-worthy solutions first).
  4. Show our work (be transparent).


If you’d prefer first to role-play this week’s puzzle, then swoop on over to the…

Puzzle of the Week

Puzzle Drop Introduction
Tariffs Rip Us Off: How about the P50L EITC Instead?

Those Making a Wage Don’t Need a Criminal Side Hustle

The numers next to the role are the Key reasons from the PolicyKeys weekly puzzle. Now, with tongue firmly in beak, let’s dish.

Odd Couples
Leaning Against
the P50L EITC for
Full-Time Workers

Urban Part-Timers (22) &
Rural Part-Timers (22)

What makes them an odd couple: Folklore says country folk and city residents can’t get along. However, being excluded from the P50L has them rooting for something better.

Students (22) &
Billionaires (28)

What makes them an odd couple: The two certainly rail against each other on social media over money, free speech, expression, and values. However, Students prefer Universal Basic Income to make their lives easier, and Billionaires anticipate having to pay more taxes for the P50L.

Planet First Democrats (16) &
Raw Materials (28)

What makes them an odd couple is that one sees the other as despoiling the earth and the other as disconnected from reality. However, Planet First Democrats think the P50L will increase capitalism and carbon emissions, and Raw Materials sees a labor crisis as their employees flock to easier jobs.

Core Republicans (28) &
Rank & File Democrats (24)

What makes them an odd couple: One is anti-union, and the other is anti-corporate greed. However, Core Republicans see the P50L affecting the free labor market too much, and Rank & File Democrats see job losses in law, security, criminal justice, and social work.

Odd Couples
Leaning In Favor
of the P50L EITC for
Full-Time Workers

Activists (1) &
Border & Order Republicans (7)

What makes them an odd couple: On social media, they rail against each other about immigration, guns, unfair application of the law, and the definition of justice. However, the P50L reduces poverty, which is directly correlated to higher crime, and the P50L effectively ends wage discrimination, at least up to the living wage.

Unions (27) &
Corporate Lobby (9)

What makes them an odd couple: Corporations lobby for weaker labor laws, and Unions rail against lobbyists and their undue influence on government officials. However, the P50L will help bring back good jobs from overseas and boost the economy and profits.

Wholesalers (9) &
Direct to Consumer (9)

What makes them an odd couple: Wholesalers think Direct-to-Consumer companies give lousy service to their clients, and D2C thinks that middlemen unnecessarily raise prices and siphon off profits. However, the P50L will boost the economy, so there will be a bigger American pie to dish up.

HMOs (9) &
Medical Guilds (19)

What makes them an odd couple: HMOs and Medical Guilds are at each other’s throats daily over reimbursements, coverage, cash flow, and red tape. However, the big economic boost will have people taking better care of themselves, which medical guilds encourage, and HMOs will see fewer claims for drug and alcohol abuse as misery will decline. (Albeit, both actually make more money from more sicker people.)

is based on the
Four Kinds of Love 

Self-sacrifice is giving of one’s self with no expectation of reciprocation. Think of a firefighter rushing into a burning building. 

Nurture is helping someone grow into their potential and keep up their momentum. Think of a coach, a parent, or a mentor. 

Tough-love is being able to invest in the personal pain of watching someone learn from their mistakes. Think of a boss, teacher, or a loved one drawing a line in the sand. 

Self-love isn’t narcissism. It’s knowing you can’t love another until you take care of yourself. Think about putting on your oxygen mask in an airplane before helping someone else. 

It’s ironic how much hate there is arguing about what kind of love should dominate public policy. The Golden Rule barely holds on to be worthy of the US Public Policy Leaderboard. What’s your mix of the four kinds of love on your best day?

Should We Increase the EITC to P50L?

POLI found NEAR UNANIMOUS support. Our editors were less convinced, predicting a 75% ±2 (6 roles) VAST SUPERMAJORITY of roles in this country to support the P50L EITC, including a majority of each of the four sides of the political tablemaking this a US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) worthy idea. 

80% – 89% Near Consensus
60% – 66% Supermajority
50% – 59% Majority

By Contrast

SCOTUS’s approval rating is 40%,
the media is 27%, and
Congress is 13%.

The average score of the policies on the PolicyKeys™ US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) Sweet Sixteen is 76%, with many above 80%Politics 4.0 is already a 2x to 5x better model of US political sentiment and direction than politics as usual. More on this is the methodology section.

The Four Dark
Political Emotions

Envy in Politics

  1. Consumers: Jealous of affluence, some support luxury taxes, disregarding potential harm to small businesses and their workers.
  2. Workers: Envious of higher pay, some advocate for wage caps, ignoring potential skill disincentives and loss of professional standards.
  3. Professionals: Chasing perfection, they may push for rigorous industry standards that, while well-intended, can limit consumer options.
  4. Owners: Coveting government influence, some call for privatization of liberty, causing less justice for others.

Spite in Politics

  1. Consumers: Upset with corporations, some call for tough rules, forgetting that this can increase costs for professionals and themselves.
  2. Workers: Angered by robots taking jobs, some want trade barriers, overlooking trade wars that hurt consumers and the economy.
  3. Professionals: Unhappy with industry shifts, some cling to old ways, missing the chance for growth and innovation that owners can bring.
  4. Owners: Annoyed by unions, some move their businesses overseas, neglecting local workers and weakening demand for their own products.

Sloth in Politics

  1. Consumers: Unhappy with product quality. Some abstain from political action, allowing inferior companies and poor regulations to persist.
  2. Workers: Dissatisfied with wages. Some avoid labor unions, missing an opportunity for change.
  3. Professionals: Aware of flaws, some stick with the status quo, risking harm to consumers and their livelihoods.
  4. Owners: Comfortable in their lifestyle, they don’t reinvest in their businesses to increase capacity and profits.

Greed in Politics

  1. Consumers: Drawn to low prices, some buy imported goods that risk local jobs.
  2. Workers: Attracted to job security, some back grandfather clauses harming new hires.
  3. Professionals: Eager for profits, some lobby for lax regulations that compromise ethics.
  4. Owners: Focused on the bottom line, some advocate for lower safety standards, risking worker well-being.


Each political strength is prone to a political weakness when taken too far.

Self-Sacrifice – Envy: Individuals who prioritize the needs of others might be prone to envy, as they may feel overlooked or undervalued compared to those they’re helping.

Nurture – Spite: Those who nurture and care for others may be more susceptible to spite when they perceive harm or injustice being done to those they care about.

Tough-Love – Sloth: Someone who employs tough love might feel it’s not reciprocated or effective, leading to a tendency toward sloth—why bother pushing others if it yields no result?

Self-Love – Greed: A focus on self-love could tip into greed, where self-care becomes self-serving to the point of disregarding others.

Politics goes negative fast. Does it have to?

Last Week’s
Political Flap
Flight of Articles

Should we go ahead and let Members of Congress trade stocks on nonpublic information so we can get the Social Security Fund in on the action and keep it safe and liquid?

You can read about last week’s political flap in our Monday Puzzle Drop. On Tuesday, we broke the ties on all the roles that were too hard for POLI THE AI to call. Wednesday, we dished on all the politically strange bedfellows for and against the Shared FATE. Thursday, we demonstrate how our Political Digital Twin tool can issue a Personal Public Policy report on any solution. Friday, like in baseball, here’s the BOX Score from the PolicyKeys Puzzle of the Week. Saturday is the weekly Keystone to top off what the change-folks and status-quo types might agree on. On SuperMajority Sunday, see how the Shared FATE Stock Act did on the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL).


Politics 1.0 is each party wanting to be a one-party system. Then, Politics 2.0 is the two-party gridlock that blocks the silent supermajority from getting what it needs. Next, Politics 3.0 is all the noise from special interest groups trying to influence us to see things their way. Finally, Politics 4.0 ranks solutions with a nonpartisan score and lets the best ideas rise up the leaderboard so people can choose.

The Four Laws of
Public Policy Formation

The First Law of Public Policy Formation is that people with short-term focus will naturally protect their wages, jobs, status, profits, and wealth.

The Second Law of Public Policy Formation is that people with a longer-term focus place bets to make life better, longer, easier, or different.

The Third Law of Public Policy Formation states that the short- and long-term clash causes noise, angst, conflict, and harm.

The Fourth Law of Public Policy Formation is that nonpartisan scoring can rank ideas.

(OPNT) One-Page
Narrative Tool

Uses the following ground truth:

There’s a time to save
and a time to spend,
a time for freedom
and a time for laws.
Where can we agree?”

This yields four legs of the political table: Abundance, Thrift, Governance, and Commerce, poetically our Political DNA, ACGT.

A Level
Playing Field

The four sides of the table are…

Abundance Governance (AG)
National Public Sector and NGOs,

Abundance Commerce (AC)
Technology and New Businesses,

Thrift Government (TG)
Local Municipalities, Guilds, and Consumers, and

Thrift Commerce (TC)
Established Supply Chains and Jobs.

Each side has a bias for change and a bias for the status quo. We scan these eight Information Walls for Key YES and NO Reasons, no cherry-picking.


The Political Parrots have a key reason they don’t want us to know about because it ruins their argument. We search for these, like a treasure hunt, and sort them using our EMIT format: Emotions, Money, Information, and Timespan. We listen for these key signals in the political noise.

Key Reasons can look similar, so we edit for redundancy and look for errors, omissions, and innovations.

We search for solutions with the highest hypothetical nonpartisan rating. Something that would solve 80% of the problem with the simplest 20% solution. The Pareto principle, hence a Parrotopia.

Definition of
Political Parrots

Are you making up your own mind or marching to the beat of a political parrot?

  1. Political Parrots get paid to squawk the same thing over and over again.
  2. They don’t listen if you’re not paying.
  3. They don’t fully understand what they’re saying.
  4. They are charming and sport every color.

We look to filter out the GRIFTERS, Gaslighting, Red-herrings, Idolizing, False-dilemmas, Tunnel-vision, Exclusions, Reductions, and Straw-man arguments. 

You can make up your mind. Where can we agree?

Birds of a Feather

Once the 32 Key Reasons are set, we use the Birds of a Feather AI for loose ties to beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. Over 16 million combinations are possible for the 128 roles. The game board starts balanced at zero, with an equal bias for change and the status quo.

We then prescore the puzzle using 56 arch-type roles that most embody each of the 56 loose ties. This yields a general bias for change or status quo and reveals ties.

The editors break the ties and review all 128 roles for specific reasons to overrule the general AI where necessary. These are noted in the Tuesday Tiebreaker article.

Then, we finish the puzzle by applying the most fitting YES or NO reason per role on all four sides of the Political Table: eight Information Walls, sixteen Subcultural Windows, sixteen Bias Columns, and sixteen Influence Rows.


When the scoring is done, a second AI looks for inconsistencies using the SAT9 AI filter (Situational Assessment Tool). This is 256 ‘supreme courts’ where each role is the chief justice in a presumed 5-4 and 4-5 bench. This generates a ± error margin.

The engine for the AI is our One-Page Narrative Tool (OPNT), which we gamified for role-playing at policykeys.com. We call our AI, POLI for Political Omnibus Leadership Initiative. Soon, you can use it as your Political Digital Twin and generate a personal public policy advisor report on any PolicyKeys puzzle.

You can read more about PolicyKeys™ in the upcoming book, Politics 4.0: How Gamification, AI, and National Idea Leaderboards Can Help You Depolarize the World. The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recognized PolicyKeys™ for digital engagement.


We seek to partner with a lead university to host a national collegiate PolicyKeys association for political depolarization, innovation in public policy, idea competitions, team competitions, AI upgrades, polling, data science, and journalism. Just respond on social media, @policykeys on Mastodon.


new PolicyKeys™
Where Can We Agree?® puzzle 
drops every 
Monday at 7 a.m. Eastern at PolicyKeys.com.

PolicyKeys™ Where Can We Agree? is a real-life role-playing game. Each week, there are sixteen sets of eight ‘rival’ roles. Sit awhile in each of their eight chairs and predict whether a majority of people in those roles would say Yes or No to the week’s question.

The best ideas land on the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) if a majority of each of the four sides of the political table agree. You can play this week’s puzzle at PolicyKeys.com.


Cue the
Patriotic Music

Imagine a world not paralyzed by political squawking. A Parrot-otopia oasis in a desert of division. Where the sounds of the silent super-majority drown out the droning of the hyper-partisan parrots.

We’ll be freed from the cages of entrenched ideology to fly higher in the big sky of American beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. To boldly go where no political parrot has gone before—ranking solutions with a nonpartisan score.


Where Can We Agree? 
(Why Don’t You Want To Know?)


Double the EITC
Fortune Interview

As the Federal Debt Rises, So Did the Dollar
First Trust

9 Million US Jobs Supported by Exports
International Trade Association

21 Million US Jobs Depend on Imports
National Retail Federation

Import Wages in the US are Higher than Export Wages
Economic Policy Institute

Chart of the Day, or Century?
American Enterprise Institute

Trade Wars: Episode 2
The Economist

$100B Tariff Revenues in the US in 2022

Amid Trade Wars, Few Industries Support Tariffs
Council on Foreign Relations

Higher Tariffs Cost the US Consumer $31B
National Retail Federation

This is who pays the price for tariffs

Three Reasons to Be Very Skeptical about US Carbon Tariffs

How the Middle Class Has Changed in Five Decades

Corporate Tax Hit an All-Time High in 2021
Tax Foundation

Income Inequality: Most Disturbing Side Effect: Homicide
Scientific American

What is a Living Wage?
Global Living Wage Coalition

Living Wage Calculator

Four-Sided Facts About Poverty in America
Civil Majority News

The Curious Case of the Missing Expenditure Multiplier
Civil Majority News

Does Lower Income Inequality Lead to Lower Crime?
World Bank Blogs

Gini Coefficient by US State
US News & World Report

Why American Exceptionalism is Different
Heritage Commentary

Bridge Funding for the P50L
Civil Majority News

Foreign Trade Barriers

The Middle Class Has Shrunk by 11% in 40 Years

US Firearm Homicides are 9x Canada’s

Aggregate Cost of Crime
from the University of Chicago

Government Accountability Office on Cost of Crime

The Underground Economy of Unreported Income

The Greatest Wealth Transfer in History

The Impact of US Tariffs (Lowers GDP)
Lost Wages, Jobs, and GDP
US Tax Foundation

Understanding the $1T+ Welfare System and How to Reform It
Heritage Institute

World Incarceration Chart
World Population Review

It takes guts to see things from all four sides of the political table.