Middle Class Parrots

Tiebreaker Tuesday: The WELCOME Middle-Class Act

A WELCOME* tax credit for employers to pay a living wage in the first place would grow the middle class and more than pay for itself in decreased crime. Welcome, and we mean WELCOME to Tiebreaker Tuesday. See how the editors and POLI THE AI predicted the most challenging to-call roles for or against a *Willing Employer Living Wage Tax 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 is to blame.


Shockingly, the US crime cost is between $680B and $3.41T yearly, probably 2x – 10x more expensive than WELCOME.

People making a living wage aren’t knocking off liquor stores or shoplifting in gangs.

Child poverty alone costs America over $1T annually.

Most domestic violence is about money. Here’s a unique solution.


If you’d prefer to role-play this week’s puzzle, first, now would be a good time to swoop over to PolicyKeys.com. You can read about this week’s political flap in our Monday Puzzle Drop article.


POLI stands for Political Omnibus Leadership Initiative. It looks at over 16 million variables to determine a general bias for change or status quo for each of the 128 roles per puzzle. We call these loose ties to beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. POLI called the following roles a tie. Here’s how the editors broke the tie.

We affectionately call these roles Noisy Guests. There are two kinds of noise. One is political parrots never shutting up. The other is the noise in people’s heads and how they make sense of it. The numbers next to the role is the key reason from the One-Page Narrative Tool AI Gameboard.

Tiebreaker Tuesday
Middle-Class Act

Sudden Depth
First Half

What would most people in these roles say about WELCOME?


Planet 1st Democrats (D) #6
Key Reason: They worry that increased prosperity could lead to higher consumption, potentially exacerbating climate issues.
Second Thoughts: However, Planet 1st advocates see WELCOME as a pathway to greener consumer choices by empowering workers with higher wages.

Utilities #28
Key Reason: Utilities expect WELCOME to stabilize payments and reduce the number of delinquent accounts, thanks to higher wages.
Second Thoughts:: The flip side is the potential for increased energy consumption, requiring more infrastructure investment.


HMOs #11
Key Reason: HMOs hope for reduced healthcare costs by elevating the general health of a more affluent population.
Second Thoughts: On the flip side, there are perverse incentives in the healthcare system where they profit more from sicker people.

Durables #13
Key Reason: The durables sector sees WELCOME as a boost to consumer spending, particularly for long-lasting goods.
Second Thoughts: However, they’re concerned that inflation could drive up production costs, affecting their bottom line.

Importers #13
Key Reason: Importers are wary that a stronger domestic job market might lead to protectionist policies, affecting import business.
Second Thoughts: On the other hand, they recognize that WELCOME could increase consumer demand for a broader range of global products.

Medical Guilds #11
Key Reason: Medical guilds appreciate WELCOME for potentially reducing the burden on healthcare systems by elevating general well-being.
Second Thoughts: There are perverse incentives that sicker individuals lead to higher wages, better jobs, increased status, rising profits, and their wealth.

Hawks (R) #7
Key Reason: Hawks hope reduced criminal justice spending could increase their national defense budget.
Second Thoughts: However, they see WELCOME as a way to reduce civil unrest, focusing national attention on external threats.

First Half
Sudden Depth Score

YES 5 v NO 2
for a net 3 YES

Second Half
Calling Fowls
on the Play

POLI The AI crunches over 16 Million variables to get a general indication of Change or Status Quo for each public policy solution. However, POLI does not look at specific reasons why most people in a role would be for or against. These are the roles the editors had to call a foul on POLI’s play.


#2: Inflation Concerns
  • Social Media: Fears that WELCOME could fuel inflation, giving people less time for social media. Second Thoughts: Higher wages boost user engagement and ad effectiveness.
  • Suburban Professionals: Concerned that inflation will erode their purchasing power. Second Thoughts: A more stable workforce could benefit the community.
#8: Shortages of Basic Needs
  • Digital (R): Worry that WELCOME could lead to tech talent shortages. Second Thoughts: Many tech jobs can be outsourced internationally.
#10: Federal Deficit
  • Fed Payroll: Concerned that WELCOME might inflate the federal deficit, affecting government salaries. Second Thoughts: A stronger economy could eventually balance the budget with interest rates below the inflation rate.
#12: Prefer State over Federal Programs
  • Core (R): Wants the National government to stay out of their business. Second thoughts: They’d rather give the money to their team than pay taxes.
#14: Housing Prices may surge
  • Urban Professionals: Increased demand for housing will make housing more expensive. Second Thoughts: Much of the economy is linked to new household formations, and that’s good for business.
#16: Hospital Capacity
  • Hospitals: Concerned that higher wages will strain hospital capacity. Second thoughts: A healthier population could reduce emergency visits.
#18: Small Employers & Job Market
  • Startups: Fear that WELCOME could make competing with larger firms offering higher wages hard. Second Thoughts: Once profitable, many employees prefer working for smaller companies.
  • Restaurants: Concerned about labor costs skyrocketing. Second Thoughts: The P50L might level the playing field.
  • Family Farms: Worried that higher wages for easier work will cause an employee exodus. Second Thoughts: Robotic farming is right around the corner.
#20: Job Loss in Public Sector
  • Judiciary: Concerned about potential job losses in the criminal justice system. Second Thoughts: Reduced crime rates could streamline operations.
  • Government Unions: Fear job cuts in social welfare sectors. Second thoughts: Higher wages are undeniably better for worker solidarity.
  • Civil Servants: Worried about downsizing due to reduced need for social services. Second Thoughts: A more prosperous populace could lead to higher-paying jobs in the private sector.
#22: Sector Disadvantages
  • Free Press: Concerned that WELCOME might reduce crime, which drives readership. Second Thoughts: A more affluent readership could support quality journalism.
#24: Corporate Tax Concerns
  • Activists: Wary that corporations already not paying taxes should bar further exemptions. Second Thoughts: Social benefits could outweigh this concern.
  • Democratic Leadership: Concerned that WELCOME might perpetuate corporate tax avoidance. Second Thoughts: The social good achieved could be significant.
#26: Immigration
  • BORDERS & ORDERS (R): Concerned that WELCOME will increase illegal immigration. Second Thoughts: A stronger economy could better absorb new legal arrivals.
#28: Business Investments
  • Logistics: Worried about the need for sudden capacity investments. Second Thoughts: A larger middle class will increase profits.
  • Food Chain(s): Concerned about the ripple effect on food prices. Second Thoughts: This could lead to more sustainable and efficient food practices.
  • Energy States: Fear that WELCOME will require significant energy infrastructure investments. Second Thoughts: A more prosperous populace is a tide that lifts all boats.
  • Big Ag: Concerned about the impact on agricultural labor supply. Second Thoughts: This could lead to investment in more efficient farming technologies.
#30: Discrimination Against Part-Timers & Nonprofits
  • Suburban PT: Worried that WELCOME discriminates against part-time workers. Second Thoughts: It’s more tempting to work full-time.
  • Urban PT: Concerned about the focus on full-time employment. Second Thoughts: Family members will have more opportunities.
  • Rural PT: Fear that rural part-time jobs will be overlooked. Second Thoughts: This could lead to more stable rural economies.
  • Nonprofit (I): Concerned that nonprofits can’t compete with for-profit wage offers. Second Thoughts: This could shift funding to longer-term solutions.
#32: Lifestyle Business Constraints
  • Lifestyle Biz: Worried that WELCOME will make maintaining a work-life balance in small businesses hard. Second Thoughts: Higher wages could lead to happier, more productive employees.

Second Half

YES 0 v NO 26
for a net 25 NO


The Two Tiebreaker Rounds ended with a score of YES 5 vs. NO 28, so the NOs picked up 23 roles overall.

POLI had support as NEARLY UNANIMOUS. Our editors were a bit less convinced. Nevertheless, we predict a 78% ±3 (8 roles) VAST SUPERMAJORITY of roles in this country to support the WELCOME Living Wage Employer Tax Credit, 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%.


WELCOME would cover most industries where the companies can charge enough for their goods and services to take the tax credit. However, the flap is over those industries that either can’t afford to raise wages —or- where the work is so unappealing that they will be unable to find workers who prefer wealthier industries. Paring WELCOME with the P50L Earned Income Tax Credit would bring all full-time workers to a living wage.


Before the 100-year pandemic, wages grew faster than inflation for over twenty years, except for higher education, child care, hospital services, and housing in some markets.

The obvious conclusion is that, over time, competition drives down the costs of goods and services through efficiencies. If people made a living wage, it is improbable that any short-term inflation would not soon be met with long-term disinflation or even deflation as supply catches up to demand.

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

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.


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