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Labor Day special

September 5, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Editor's note: The Estherville News surveyed Emmet County residents about their experiences and views on work on our community. Here are our findings.

The Estherville News Work survey asked 40 local residents eight questions about work. We present it here in our Labor Day edition.

The respondents came from a variety of occupations: 23 percent work in the medical field; 16 percent in administration; 8 percent each are business owners, laborers, government workers, and educators. The rest work in marketing, media and the arts, transportation, management, are retired, or are stay-at-home parents.

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The incomes are running on a bell curve with 16 percent from $10,000 to $20,000; 19 percent from 20,001 to 40,000; 32 percent $40,001-$60,000; 19 percent $60,001-$99,999; and 14 percent over $100,000.

Most respondents do like their jobs. Only 12 percent ranked themselves low on the job enjoyment scale.

Most respondents feel their job is important to the community, and 60 percent say their income is sufficient to meet their needs. One commenter said, "Barely. With taxes rising, it's getting more difficult."

Then we asked about the Universal Basic Income. It's an idea growing in popularity and undergoing pilot tests in several countries. A Universal Basic Income would pay every citizen a basic stipend sufficient to maintain above poverty level. Everyone would get this amount. It would eliminate the gargantuan welfare structure and allow individuals to weather economic uncertainty without falling into poverty.

The cost of implementing this in the U.S. would be a whopping $3.3 trillion to provide every citizen roughly $10,500 per year. However, eliminating $2.6 trillion in Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP (food stamps) and federal anti-poverty education would offset most of it, according to Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and the George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University.

Of our respondents, on a scale of 0 to 50, with 50 being most in favor of UBI, the responses yielded an average of 36, or a great deal in favor of the concept.

See more analysis of these numbers in the coming days online at



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