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We All Pay for Low Wages


#1

We All Pay for Low Wages

Sarita Gupta

A few weeks ago, people working at McDonald’s filed several complaints that detailed the dangerous accidents and severe burns they’ve suffered while on the job, citing company management’s policies to work quickly without protective gear or training. Of course, the injuries that the complainants describe were preventable, but it would require McDonald’s and its franchisees to treat employees as human beings worth protecting.


#2

While I agree with everything Sarita says in her article here, I can't see either the Republicans or the Democrats ever forwarding legislation that would raise the minimum wage to anything resembling a living wage. Unless Americans can unseat the duopoly, we will continue to slide towards a return to slavery.
It reminds me of the reconstruction era immediately after the Civil War in which the same 'freed' slaves returned to the plantations and worked for wages. However now their wages were subtracted for room and board, but at least the plantation owners argued... "now you're free!" Though corporate America has outsourced anything they could to slave labour abroad, it is next to impossible to outsource direct service industries such as fast food workers and retail clerks. It is an essential area of our workforce to ensure that these employees make good wages thus driving up wages in all other sectors. Now with teachers (Charter Schools), machinists and retail sector and assembly line workers all earning minimum or near minimum wages, a boost to the fast food sector would improve their lot s well.
Having said that, corporate America's contempt for the 99% pretty much guarantees that slave wages are here to stay.


#3

Did you read the synopsis provided by Richard Heinberg published yesterday on C.D.? If not, you really should. It outlines that the problems of fiscal implosion, climate collapse, and spreading wars are hardly going to be resolved through U.S or other elections. Perhaps the difference between an absolute crash/crash landing and a softer fall can be mitigated by who is in office... but Mr. Heinberg makes a compelling case for Localism returning and without centralized power, the old government system turns into a ghostly relic of a former era.


#4

The costs entailed by everyone so CEOs can pay paltry wages are what we all see. Now what does he/she do with all that cash they are hoarding? They spend it on low wage carpenters to work on their mansion that are built in places like Jackson Hole and Santa Fe where they drive local people out, use city services at huge rates, and get all their local help at cut rate prices. Even when they do spend the money they've theived from their companies, they will continue to do it at any chance they get. When they do give, it's a stroke for their own egos, they write it off, and sleep well at night.


#5

Actually, we end up paying far more for the poverty crisis we created, not only due to the direct costs of ignoring poverty in terms of medical bills, jail/prisons costs, foster care placements, etc., etc., but in terms of the overall impact of years of neglected US poverty. Think: The US shipped out a massive number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s. Not everyone can work (health, etc.) and there aren't jobs for all who desperately need one. (What do you think happens to them?) We got VERY tough on the poor. Now, when Reagan was first elected, launching the long campaign against our poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1 among all nations. By the time Obama was elected, this had already plunged to #43, and we can no longer adequately compete in the modern world market. Yet, we remain determined to "stay the course."


#6

How much money do people need to adequately meet their basic needs? We're the generation that said those families who were getting by on $4k to $4500 (annual) welfare aid were living unreasonably well -- so well that they had no incentive to get jobs.

That said, there is no 99%, and I point this out because the popular "99% vs. the 1%" theme only keeps us from understanding our current situation. In a nutshell, the rich are now doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor. Because the proverbial masses -- the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless -- are deeply divided, pitted against each other, the solutions found in previous similar eras won't work today.


#7

No,

Your logic is bad. The middle class doesn't have access to the levers of power in this fake democracy. Only one percent of the population (the millionaires) have that, bribing Washington with boatloads of cash. The middle class (thousandaires) didn't screw the poor, since they don't rule and didn't off-shore both blue and white collar jobs to Slave Colonies like India and China.

CEO's and dynasty families betrayed Main Street USA. It had nothing at all to do with the middle class whatsoever.

Your transparent attempt to divide and conquer sounds like something John Treada would float.


#8

Oh yes the middle class did screw the poor. Where were you during the 1980s? The lying promises of Reagan were bought lock, stock and barrel by quite a few Democrats. "Maybe if we DO just go along with these cuts all these deadbeats will get jobs...." After all, so many jobs for 3.35 an hour were created during those first few years, anyone who doesn't go out and get one is not on the team.
That's utter bullshit. I watched it happen in my own family. Sorry, the farm was sold and the middle class' signature was right on the deed. They actually thought (for a while) that this was going to work for them.


#10

I have seen the abuse also. And, so what? Did it make me turn against the system? No. That's your choice, most people on the Left like myself will readily admit there's abuse with social services, there is abuse with EVERY system.
I was in Southern California and I could not just "walk in" to a nine dollar an hour job, and I had some education and experience (During the 1980s). The unions have been scraping just to stay alive, there's little resources available for "public education." Young people (GenX) were literally brainwashed during the 1980's, they were told how bad the unions were and they bought it, period.
And, as far as the corporations go, you being a conservative are well represented by Citizen's United. Why all the complaining?


#11

Reagan was an actor who snookered everybody. He said he was going to fix the economy for everyone and promised to reduce the spending of the government, but then, instead, bloated US military spending to levels never before seen if you include his "Star Wars" and "National Aerospace Plane" which were huge scams by the aerospace industry. The "black budget" skyrocketed real inflation, but used his vodoo-economics coupled with Alan Greenspan's dishonest "weighted averages" on the CPI number to make it appear that inflation was under control. It was really to screw Social Security recipients, and saved the government one-third in payouts.

How can you blame the voters for falling for another snake-oil salesman?

It doesn't make any sense at all.


#12

I have no idea what you are asking me. I know that I not only didn't fall for Reagan, even at 22 years old with one year of college I "knew" basically that he was screwing the economy, permanently. So did millions of other Americans. I take NO responsibility for how young people bought into all of it. And the entire package, including going after the unions, was purposeful, vindictive, and indicative of what a nothing person he was. Literally the fact that America tolerated it answers any questions about how this country changed in my lifetime, and is now is the position of whoring itself out to entities like China. I have been against all of it, including the wonderful "service" economy where we make very little in the manufacturing sector. I'm from the middle class who benefitted from that era, and giving it up was done under Reagan. We will not see anything like the twentieth century ever again in the U.S. The GOP stole from the corpse.


#13

I'm just pointing out, that I think it's wrong to blame the middle class as you do. In the 80's I was a flight instructor candidate living in my car or any couch or trailer I could find making only 100 dollars a month, with no benefits and no prospects. I fell for the "It's Morning in America" con job. I did not see through it as you did.

I came from a middle class family, but the 1980 recession meant there were very few flying jobs for poor people like me, so I went to community college in utter poverty and could not get even a job that would allow me to eat until 1985. We used to go to bars that served fishballs, order one drink and consume everything we could stuff in our mouths. We were literally starving.

Do I blame people for voting for Reagan (cutting your nose off despite your own face?) No. He lied to us.


#14

I am very sorry those things happened to you. I might ask how old you were at the time and what kind of political background you had, registration, did you follow politics, etc,
It was not difficult for me nor most of my friends and family to see the deception immediately. My college instructors queried the students on what they thought about it the day after the election (e.g. do you know what this may mean for unions, etc.)
No, you got what you got, and you had a choice, as did others who voted for it. I worked for Carter's campaign in 76 and he was telling us all through the period what we had to do, not what people might have liked to hear. The middle class that did vote for Reagan (certainly not everyone) did so with blinders on-none of it made sense from even the LCD perspective. He promised magic, and again, Carter did not. Carter was a military man and naval engineer, Reagan was a B grade actor with an axe to grind Sorry, it is the people's fault who voted GOP, no matter what social class they came from. They brought us all down with them.


#15

Right Walter,

But the same argument could be made about the people who voted for Obama. He lied also. He said he was going to close GITMO and change everything away from bush policies. Since he wouldn't specifically say he was anti-war, I saw through him when the youtube generation did not, and they voted for him, twice. It turns out, his whole family are really bloodthirsty CIA special operatives, including himself. His claim of being a "community organizer" and a "Constitutional Law Scholar" from Chicago was all fiction. The only community organizing he did was to participate in a public housing scam where he evicted tenants to sell properties to the One Percent. He most likely bought a law degree from Harvard, according to an IRS agent who couldn't make sense of his tax returns and put up a webpage about it. Obama never tried a single case in any court, ever.

So I reject your argument that voters get what they deserve. Voters in this Fake Democracy don't have any real choices. They are only allowed to hear arguments from pre-vetted candidates both groomed by the One Percent. When a real reformer like a Ralph Nader comes along, he is ostracized as "a spoiler" and his name is not even allowed to appear on the ballot in most states unless he spends the whole campaign in state courts battling a duopoly bent on putting up so many roadblocks nobody in those states even knows he is running. Nader was banned from the presidential debates even though he met all the requirements.

When a Julie Stein runs a real reform campaign, she is physically handcuffed to the railing at the convention so she can't speak publicly her positions.

When a Ron Paul wins the Republican primary, the rules are changed after the vote for a do-over which gives us instead, a ruthless corporate raider on the Repuke ticket to vote for. Now it looks like we will get to vote only for bush or clinton dynasties or their lackies in the CIA forever.

You call this a Democracy?

In a pig's eye.


#16

Nader huh? Obama bought his law degree?
Wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. No wonder you went for Reagan.


#17

No, though it is common for middle classers to deny that they have any responsibility for today's conditions. The middle class demanded the end of basic poverty relief, even though they must surely grasp that not everyone can work, and there aren't jobs for all who urgently need one. "No crumbs for the poor!" Democrats complied. We have a poverty crisis made possible by the political and policy choices of the middle class, from Reagan's deregulation mania to the current "get tough" policies on the disabled, seriously ill and the dying. Middle class contempt for the poor has not exactly been subtle. Middle classers do, indeed, have the money and means to organize and make demands on government, if they feel like it.


#18

Change can come only when masses of people get to their feet to demand it. With this generation, we've been profoundly divided and subdivided by class and race. Media have served to maintain a years-long, meaningless pep rally for middle class consumers and campaign donors. Who are "We the People," and what do the People want?