Minimum Wage – Yes or No?
Our good friend John Liming takes on the issue of minimum wage and the right’s mission to abolish it…or, short of that, to get it as ridiculously low as they possibly can.
Go get ‘em, John.
Some of the Righties will tell you, “Raising the minimum wage will not help lift people out of poverty – it has never worked and it never will because we already live in a welfare state and the more you “give” to people the more they expect to be given.”
So I am assuming here that a lot of Righties – especially the obscenely rich ones who own businesses that – employ – people are among that howling number opposing any raise in the so-called “minimum wage.”
Can you hear it now – “I don’t need no damned Gubmint telling me what I have to pay people to work for me!?”
Some Righties argue that raising the minimum wage will not do a thing to help people escape the bonds of poverty because they say that few minimum wage workers are actually – poor to begin with.
O.K. – so now I am waiting for somebody to tell me how many minimum wage workers they know who are – rich! If they are not poor then they either have to be rich or absolutely destitute – well below the description of “Poor.” It has to be one or the other; it can’t be both!
So I do not know because I am not a mind reader – but I will assume that if Rightie thinks the minimum wage does not help the poor because most people who earn minimum wage are not poor to begin with – then the answer that Rightie must be thinking about is to make the minimum wage earners who are not poor to begin with actually become poor – and then the minimum wage might help them. Is this the story here?
That makes some sense to me because I have always viewed the radical righties as being more than willing and capable of making people poor and poor people even poorer by passing laws to cut off their government benefit programs. Yes – the line of reasoning does make some sense in what I consider to be a sort of – strange – way.
So if the right wing ideal of what a minimum wage should be is anywhere near close to being what I think it might be – then the resultant minimum wage under a Rightie set-up would be Zero Dollars per hour – how about doing a little bartering here employees? Anyone interested in working 40 hours a week for some coupons to the local big box store?
For those who argue that minimum wage jobs are usually reserved for those who work at entry-level positions and that raises above the minimum wage are usually in the crystal ball for such workers, then the righties who argue this way might have made a point. I can see a worker who has been making $7.50 an hour suddenly getting an increase from his or her more than generous Rightie boss to $7.53 an hour – can’t you?
When I worked for a Rightie boss who owned a small manufacturing plant a few years ago – my yearly union-negotiated yearly raises were about 3 cents an hour – and need I mention that as the years went by I was required to pay increasingly larger shares of my insurance plan until the 3 cent raises were soon eaten up and gone forever?
So here is the deal as far as I see it:
If Rightie gets his or her way – and the minimum wage gets ultimately shit-canned – there is hope on the horizon:
The worker can always turn to food stamps – housing vouchers – low-income rental units – emergency room medical care – meals at city missions – earned income tax credits – and all kinds of goodies supposedly freely available from Uncle Gubmint.
People who spend long hours searching through garbage often find things that have been discarded – things that can be cleaned up and sold at a flea market booth or something – right? Good old Right Wing self-sufficiency – something that can be built with an individual’s own two hands – without any help from anybody – especially “Gubmint.”
I have seen some pretty scrubby-looking dudes tooling around my neighborhoods in broken-down old trucks hauling away things people have placed at curbside for the regular garbage guys to come and get. I have often thought to myself as I watched some of these apparently un-washed in their junk-yard-ready conveyances – “Gee! Those must be loyal Righties exercising some of those good old conservative values of “doing it myself and getting it done!”
May I add here that even though I found the images I was observing interesting – I did not feel any pangs of envy.
I am predicting – without having the foggiest notion of what I am talking about – that sooner or later some right wad will find a way to get rid of the “Intrusive” legal requirement to pay a “minimum wage” and at that moment all the minimum wage workers in the world can take full advantage of those old reliable Right Wing values – Self Reliance and Self-Sufficiency” – and create for themselves new and inventive ways of dumpster diving.
Did I hear somebody say “Vote Democrat?”
John publishes American Liberal Times