These are super-interesting times we live in, when working people are so against other working people that they’re happy to see the whole works go down in flames, rather than anyone else get ahead.
Opposition to raising the minimum wage, which has not been raised since 2009 and lags far behind inflation, and providing a modern benefits package like other civilized nations is based on these points:
* Business owners are sacred and deserve every break
* The greater the wealth, the closer to God
* People who don’t work are lazy freeloaders
* People who work and expect to be paid a living wage and decent benefits are uppity. My personal fave is the contempt for food service workers. Real classy. You want a cheap burger? Then make your own.
Substandard wages do not equal more jobs. Comparing people to consumer items is a contemptuous mindset. When socks are on sale we buy more socks; people are not socks. The employees of any business are doing the actual work and making money for the business owners.
The arguments against fair wages and benefits are based entirely on the premise that working people are contemptible and undeserving, most likely because they lacked the foresight to be born into wealthy families. I’m puzzled by the numbers of working people who believe this, and I think that is due to their addiction to rosy fantasies of becoming despotic moguls themselves, with an underpaid and unhappy workforce of their very own.
All work is honorable and deserves fair compensation. When you make money for other people you deserve your fair share. Do you know what would happen if Walmart, Papa John’s, Hobby Lobby, the tech giants, and other multi-billionaire empires stopped abusing their workers and paid them fairly? They would still be multi-billionaire empires. It would also shift the burden of compensating their workforce from taxpayers to the businesses. I’m still trying to parse why food stamps are wicked, and subsidies for wealthy corporations are groovy.
But what about small businesses, Ma and Pa Joad and their entrepreneurial struggles to get ahead and live the American dream? Shouldn’t they be allowed to pay slave wages and no benefits because they are hardy small businesspeople on tight budgets? In a word, NO. Let’s rephrase the question to make it more accurate: Shouldn’t they be allowed to pay slave wages and no benefits because they are lousy businesspeople who can’t generate enough revenues to meet payroll? If the Joads can’t afford a payroll that’s their problem, and the solution is not to force their employees to subsidize them. Let ’em do their own work.
What if Ma and Pa strike it rich, will they compensate their underpaid employees for their dedication during the lean times? LOL, yeah sure. Sorry, I tried to keep a straight face. An exception to this is startups that compensate for lower wages and less job security with stock options. Sometimes this pays off, sometimes not, but there is the chance to do well and employees know it from the start.
The federal minimum wage has not kept up with inflation or increases in American worker productivity. The average wage has been stagnant for 40 years. You know how certain people love to indulge in rose-colored memories of the good old says when Dad’s salary supported Mom and their 2.4 children? And they owned a house and car, and saved money for rainy days, college, vacations, and retirement? I’m confused how to reconcile this with the whole “employees suck and deserve hind tit” mindset. If the average wage– individual, not family– had kept up with inflation and increases in American worker productivity it would be around $65,000 today. In most American cities that will modestly support a family.
And the billionaires will still be billionaires.