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

The cost of crime is 2x to 10x that of the P50L FT EITC or the WELCOME Employer Living Wage Tax Credits. One and/or both Ends Dead-End Jobs. Welcome to Tiebreaker Tuesday.

The problem is our middle class has shrunk by 11% in 40 years, and we unfortunately have thriving crime and poverty industries.

The solution is 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/or give corporate tax credits to those who can.

What’s the
Tax Credit?

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

The P50L would raise the Earned Income Tax Credit for FULL-TIME workers to halfway (50%) between the Poverty line (P) and the Living wage (L).

The crime reduction will more than pay for it, the middle class will boom, and higher labor participation rates will lower inflation. The cost of living for an SMSA or State can be a schedule to follow in Federal Tax Filings.


The societal cost of crime has annual direct costs of $680B and $3.41T in secondary harm. It’s shocking and intolerable.

There is an almost perfect correlation between the drop in crime since the 1990s and the increase in household income primarily due to a surge in dual-income households.

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, the P50L EITC can.

Globalization and competition provide us with abundant cheap goods and services, 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. There is a cost analysis in Monday’s introduction article.

Instead of fighting a trade war with inflationary tariffs against 200 countries to 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 pay lip service to crime.

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

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

The US has the highest incarceration rate of any industrialized country.

We have better things to do than manufacture criminals for wages, jobs, status, profit, and wealth, whether it be through inattention, neglect, being miserly, 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 (but 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?

Before we get into Tiebreaker Tuesday, where the Editors lend POLI THE AI a hand on the hardest-to-predict roles, let’s start at the end. (More on POLI in the Methodology section below.)

Should We Increase the EITC to P50L?

Nonpartisan Score

POLI found VAST SUPERMAJORITY support. Our editors were less convinced, predicting a 67% ±5 (13 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. 

90% and up Near Unanimous
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.


Our Tuesday Tiebreaker article is the closest to playing the PolicyKeys Weekly Puzzle. Sit in each role’s chair and forecast their thoughts and why. It’s a great life skill.

POLI THE AI looks at over 16 million variables to forecast a general bias for change or the status quo. The roles in the first half were deadlocked. Here’s how the editors broke the tie and why.

Tiebreaker Tuesday
for the

Sudden Depth

Note: the number (#) after the role is the primary key reason from the PolicyKeys game board, the gamification of our One Page Narrative Tool (OPNT).

These roles are leaning against increasing the EITC to P50L because…

NO #2:
Congress may flip-flop on the payments

However, they have second thoughts because…

Hospitals know it will dramatically lower civil unrest and emergency room visits.

NO #10:
The dollar might devalue on world markets

However, they have second thoughts because…

Importers know that while a weaker dollar hurts them and helps exporters, the demand for foreign goods might increase enough to make up the difference on volume.

NO #22:
Doesn’t help part-time workers

However, they have second thoughts because…

Rural Part-timers may feel unfairly treated; however, their loved ones may be getting a big check, and if they can rearrange their schedules, they too will benefit.

NO #32:
Governments tend not to cut budgets

However, they have second thoughts because…

Landlords don’t want their taxes to keep increasing, but they can probably raise rents faster. Inflation is usually their friend.

These roles are leaning in-favor of increasing the EITC to P50L because…

YES #9:
Big economic boost

However, they have second thoughts because…

Energy States know that while a larger middle class will need more energy, it will add to the deficit, at least in the short run, if not forever.

YES #11:
Increases adult labor participation rates

However, they have second thoughts because…

C-Suite is dealing with a labor shortage crisis, and while this will lure people off the couch to go full-time, if Congress flip-flops, it will all fall apart.

YES #19:
Should lower drug and alcohol abuse

However, they have second thoughts because…

HMOs are in a difficult position. While reducing addiction is good for society and for their expenditures, they perversely make more profit from more and sicker people.

Should We
Raise the EITC to P50L?

— 1ST HALF —

YES 3 v NO 4
Team NO picks up 1 Role


Calling Fouls
on POLI’s Play

These are when the editors specifically disagreed with POLI’s general call.

Should We
Raise the EITC to P50L?

These roles are
leaning against because of…

NO #4:
Effect the free market too much

However, they have second thoughts because…

Liberty Republicans hate when the government picks winners and losers; however, they know there’s a genuine chance that taxes can be lowered in a more civil society from reduced crime and poverty.

NO #8:
The P50L may not pay for itself

However, they have second thoughts because…

Republican Leadership hates entitlement programs; however, their base of corporations and small business owners are getting pretty mad about shoplifting, riots, drug crime, and vandalism.

NO #16:
Commerce is bad for the planet

However, they have second thoughts because…

Planet First Democrats hate that increased capitalism also increases carbon emissions. Still, they also can see that only people with extra money at the end of the week can afford to pay more to follow their greener ideals.

Deep Reader Independents, while they understand that the biggest existential threat is climate change, also understand that people need to live dignified lives to fully participate in their community.

NO #22:
Doesn’t help part-time workers

However, they have second thoughts because…

Students who focus on equality and justice don’t like being left out of the pay conversation. However, knowing that it will be worth their time when they take a full-time job is comforting.

NO #24:
Job losses in the crime and poverty industries

However, they have second thoughts because…

Rank & File Democrats, while most are not in these industries, they are in solidarity with their brothers and sisters. However, they do understand that a booming middle class will create other great jobs to take their place.

NO #26:
Adds to the deficit in the short-term

However, they have second thoughts because…

Rural Professionals hate increased taxes, and governments are loathe to cut taxes. However, they can appreciate that it will be easier for their loved ones to be financially independent and thrive.

NO #28:
More difficult to fill unglamorous jobs

However, they have second thoughts because…

Core Republicans understand that producing goods the public wants can be dirty, tedious, hard, and tiring work, and the P50L might lure workers to easier jobs. However, leveling the playing field over unfair foreign competition with the P50L may be easier than the ebb and flow of trade wars.

E-Retail understands that most workers would prefer to work in retail stores to socialize with customers than work in warehouses with hard hats. However, the big economic boost might be consolation enough.

Non-Union workers doing difficult work may not appreciate increasing workloads because their teams may shrink, lured away to clean data entry jobs. However, employers will have to pay more to keep help, and that’s a consolation.

Durable manufacturers can’t meet demand because of labor shortages. However, with strong demand comes innovation in processes, procedures, immigration policies, and more efficient plants.

Billionaires are frequently in mainstream businesses supplying new home formations. While they see filling jobs to be more difficult, profits float up.

Utilities offer jobs that are some of the most physically demanding, and skilled labor is difficult to find. However, the US is exceptional, and immigration restrictions can be eased to fill the void.

Big Ag also has many jobs that Americans don’t want to do regardless of pay. However, a growing demand for more and better food is a better problem than a shrinking population with smaller grocery budgets.

Raw Materials who work hard to get the inputs needed to make products need a motivated workforce. However, increased demand means higher prices, and that’s a comfort.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS) fear that people would rather work in service jobs than on the assembly line. However, a booming middle class will keep their backlog and their profits rolling.

Sanitation does the daily work that almost no one else wants to do. While not a fan of P50L, if it lowers civil unrest, there will be fewer nasty messes to clean up.

NO #30:
Increases inflation until supply catches up

However, they have second thoughts because…

Personal Services understands that inflation might be temporary, but usually, inflation is their foe because they can’t raise rates fast enough or at all. However, with more people having walking around money they might thrive on increased volume.

Seniors who live on fixed incomes are solidly against short-term inflation for obvious reasons. However, their family members might be doing better and stop treating them like an ATM.

International NGOs are affected by short-term inflation because, frequently, the first thing to go is donations. However, their missions are usually attached to doing good, and the P50L will alleviate a lot of misery.

NO #32:
Governments tend not to cut budgets

However, they have second thoughts because…

Federal Payroll employees are unhappy about losing their criminal justice, social welfare, or law enforcement jobs. However, natural attrition might make the transition to a more peaceful society less painful.

Republican Hawks don’t want the world to get lulled into a false sense of security if other industrialized nations increase social welfare. However, it’s better to have the world’s best-funded military and not have to use it very often.

These roles are
leaning in favor
because of…

YES #9:
Big Economic Boost

However, they have second thoughts because…

Taker States get more back from the Federal government than they pay in Federal taxes. However, if the rest of the states start getting more, they might get less.

— 2nd Half —

YES 1 v NO 22
Team NO picks up 21


The Two Tiebreaker Rounds ended with
a final score of
YES 4 vs. NO 26,
so Team NO picks up
22 roles overall.

Should We Increase the EITC to P50L?

POLI found NEAR UNANIMOUS support. Our editors were less convinced, predicting a 75% ±2 (6 roles) STRONG 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

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.

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.


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 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™ 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


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.