Welcome The Middle Class Tax Credit Parrot

The Middle-Class Act is WELCOME

If corporations pay a living wage before taxes, the middle class will grow, and businesses reinvesting in capacity will keep inflation low. Welcome, and we mean WELCOME, to Puzzle Drop Monday. This week, the problem is a shrinking middle class, and our solution is a WELCOME tax credit (Willing Employers Living Compensation Exemption).


The Middle Class has shrunk from 63% to 50% in five decades. Almost half of Americans don’t make a living wage. The Republicans have had control of the House, Senate, and Presidency over that time period—and so have the Democrats. Two-party gridlock hurts the middle class.


Shockingly, the US crime cost is between $680B and $3.41T yearly, probably 2x – 10x more expensive than WELCOME. People making a living wage don’t need a criminal side hustle to make ends meet. Child poverty alone costs America over $1T annually. Most domestic violence is about money. Here’s a unique solution. But first…

Four Ways

Here’s the PLAN: For you People-people, you can enjoy real-life political role-playing at PolicyKeys.com. Sit awhile in each role’s chair and decide whether a majority of people in that role would be for or against the solution. Empathy is power. It’s excellent for classroom engagement.

For you Letter-people, we publish daily on this Super Nonpartisan Public Policy Blog. It’s like a color commentary on the big game. Or a juicy menu to order up your favorite solutions. You can check out the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) sweet sixteen updates every SuperMajority SUNDAY.

For you Abstract-people, we’ve invented a nonpartisan scoring system to include 128 roles, four laws of public policy formation, two levels of pattern-seeking AI, forecasting science, and a treasure hunt for the highest-rated solution to every public policy puzzle. We are open to public and/or private sector solutions. Are you?

Four you Numbers-people, all our solutions add up in the POL-ICYMI Key for each week’s puzzle. What stats are to baseball, PolicyKeys is to Public Policy.

Now, back to this week’s…

Puzzle Summary

Should we pass the WELCOME
(The Willing Employer Living Compensation Exemption)
tax credit for employers to pay a living wage before corporate taxes?

Half of Americans currently earn below this threshold, fueling costly crime. In 2021, U.S. corporate taxes equaled the cost of raising all full-time wages to a living standard. WELCOME aims to redirect these taxes to lift wages directly.

ONE PARROT credits WELCOME could relieve financial stress and add $370 billion to the economy annually. A larger middle class will help solve the housing crisis as wages rise faster than construction costs.

THE OTHER PARROT debits WELCOME will fuel inflation and might close small businesses within months, disrupting communities because many small businesses don’t have the margin to pay a living wage, and won’t be able to compete for hires. (The P50L Earned Income Tax Credit would solve the latter).

the P50L EITC

A second solution, complementing WELCOME, is to raise the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for full-time workers to P50L, halfway (50%) between the Poverty line (P) and the Living wage (L). This would level the playing field for Main Street businesses that don’t have the margin to pay a living wage, whether from unfair foreign competition or an industry in transition or decline.

Sixteen Key
YES reasons
in favor of the
Middle-Class Act

Dignified Lives for Workers (#1): This point is fundamental and sets the tone for the rest.

Less Executive Pay Scrutiny (#3): This could be seen as a byproduct of the main goal—raising wages for all.

End of Involuntary Poverty (#5): This is a strong, overarching benefit.

Reduced Double Taxation (#7): Dividends are taxed after corporate taxes are paid, which seems excessive.

Reduced Civil Unrest (#9): This is a societal benefit, reducing stress across society.

Healthier Population (#11): Wealthier populations are healthier.

GDP Boost (#13): Everyone benefits in a growing economy.

Shift from Part-Time to Full-Time(#15): It’s an incentive for part-time workers to put in extra hours.


Reduced Crime and Incarceration (#17): It’s difficult to argue that a more affluent society would have more crime.

Reduced Need for Social Services (#19): People making a living wage don’t need social services.

Fewer Multi-Generational Homes (#21): Americans value their independence, and living with relatives is stressful.

Affordability of Greener Goods (#23): Many people would buy more sustainable goods if they had more walking around money.

More Jobs for Immigrants (#25): There is a labor crisis in the US, and the economy would be healthier with more immigration.

Luring Non-Workers (#27): It’s easier to get off the couch for a living wage than a poverty wage.

Potential for Lower Local Taxes (#29): Taxes should fall if there are fewer social services and law and order expenses.

Boost to Main Street Sales (#31): A larger middle class spends most of their money locally.

Sixteen Key
‘NO’ Reasons 
against the
Middle-Class Act

Inflation Risks (#2): We already have difficulty controlling inflation.

Shortages of Basic Needs (#4): This could be a result of increased demand due to higher wages.

Climate Impact (#6): A more affluent society emits more carbon, and that’s untenable.

No Reward for Good Employers (#8): Why do the right thing if the government always rewards those who don’t try harder?

Temporary Increased Federal Deficit (#10): The deficit must be controlled.

State Over Federal Benefits (#12): Many States don’t want the Federal government’s interference.

Housing Price Surge (#14): Higher incomes could increase demand and prices.

Hospital Capacity Strain (#16): More people on health insurance could overload the healthcare system.


Small Employers Struggle (#18): Larger businesses will lure away their employees.

Job Loss in Social Services (#20): Once the capacity is reduced, it won’t be easy to replace.

Sector Disadvantages (#22): Not all industries would benefit equally, creating imbalance.

Zero-Tax Corporations (#24): Some corporations already don’t pay taxes, so that won’t help.

Increased Immigration (#26): Many people don’t want more immigrants competing with their jobs and businesses.

Less Attractive Low-End Jobs (#28): It could make filling positions considered less desirable harder.

Discriminates Against Part-Timers and Nonprofits (#30): WELCOME doesn’t address their needs.

Need for Business Capacity Investment (#32): This could be a hurdle too high for some companies.


Last Week’s
Political Flap
Flight of Articles
on the P50L EITC

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

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

Politically Strange Bedfellows
Odd Couples Both For and Against the P50L EITC

Political Digital Twin
Raising the EITC to P50L

Box Score
Ending Dead-End Pay Box Score for the P50L EITC

The P50L EITC Keystone Article

Cue the
Patriotic Music

Imagine an America 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—rating solutions with a nonpartisan score.


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

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 (but leaderboard-worthy first).
  4. Show our work (be transparent).


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 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?)

You can play this week’s puzzle at PolicyKeys.com.


Chart of the Day, or Century?
American Enterprise Institute

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

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

Foreign Trade Barriers

The Middle Class Has Shrunk by 11% in 40 Years

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

Where can we agree?
Finding out takes guts from all four sides of the political table