The Case For Higher Minimum Wage

I have reached my breaking point. I have seen so many memes on Facebook in obvious opposition to the recent hikes in the minimum wages in New York and California. They pretty much all believe that with the higher minimum wage prices will skyrocket and we’ll be paying $65 for a Big Mac at McDonald’s. Then there are the comments from people who seem convinced that people are just lazy and don’t want to work hard to make a living. Apparently not wanting to work three jobs to make rent is lazy.

They tell tales of how when they were young they pulled themselves up by their boot straps and pressed their noses to the grindstone and never complained about it. Of course back when they were young it was a different economy. There once was a day in this country a single full time salary could support a family of four. Now you need to have at least two sources of income and even then you only barely cover the expenses. Love your tales of youthful adventures, but unless you’re living it now, you don’t really know and your experience amounts to diddily dick today. The cost of living has gone up. That’s a fact. College is more expensive. Just living is more expensive and wages for the lower and middle class haven’t budged since the seventies. The economy, much like time, waits for no man. What you did in your twenties to get by wouldn’t cut the mustard today and that’s a fact.

Here’s a real fact: A higher minimum wage is a good thing for the economy. More people will have more money in their paychecks, and these are the people who actually spend their money. When the 1% make money, they shut it away in their investments and off shore accounts where it builds interest and earns them money they don’t have to work for and that they don’t pay taxes on. When people who work at Target get their money, they spend it on bills and food and other things they may want or need for themselves or their families, should have them. They inject more money into the overall economy and this stimulates businesses and that stimulation brings about profits for said businesses. Someone may go to Target today and spend just twenty bucks on a few things, but with more money in their bank account, they will spend two, three or maybe four times as much. That Target could stand to make $100 more per customer every day and they’re already operating at a profit. They will be making even  more money, which will be more than enough to cover those higher wages without raising prices.

The economy is like the human body and money is the blood. It needs to move and get around to keep the body healthy. If there’s bad circulation, the limbs die off and they have to be amputated, and that’s what is happening now. The 1% are choking this economy because they want all their money and the thought of allowing anyone else to have any scares them. We as a species need to realize that we are all in this together. We have to start at least considering the other guys because it’s the other guys out there that make our society. Your neighbors. Your coworkers. They all play a part and if they don’t do well, then you don’t do well. When you build a building you start with the foundation. A secure and strong base makes a sturdy structure.When the middle is strong, it’s even more sturdy, but adding to the top does nothing but actually make it more likely that it will topple over. A higher minimum wage sounds scary and disastrous, but the reality is it will actually benefit everyone. Think about all the Wal-Mart workers on welfare and food stamps now who will be able to get off those programs because they will be able to afford to feed their families on their own. Millions of tax dollars freed up. If this economy has been able to survive epic raises for executives, it can weather a little raise for the working man.

They’re the ones who open those stores every day. They’re the ones who make it possible for those corporations to make those record profits. And before you dismiss all minimum wage workers as student and kids, be aware that majority of people working minimum wage jobs now are over thirty and many of them are single parents. Maybe you think they failed at life and deserve this miserable existence. Maybe some have failed, but is the penalty for failure to live by the skin of your teeth? To suffer and struggle until you just have a heart attack and die? We should be looking for ways to help those who need it, not to punish them. We enjoy a standard of living unheard of in most of the world. We should not only appreciate that, but try and share in that good fortune. I’m not saying you have to hand over your money to them, but let’s try and find ways to make it possible for them to get a little ahead and be able to enjoy their lives as much as you enjoy yours. Who can enjoy their life working three jobs? I mean, who are you to deny them that? I’m no financial expert so I’m just calling it like I see it. The principles are rock solid and I have heard a lot of all of this from experts in the economic field. I leave with this advice:  Try and think beyond your own scope and realize that everything is affected by everything else, even if you can’t see it right away. You leave ripples in this ocean and they touch other ripples and not wanting to work your life away is not laziness. There’s more to life than working. If you believe in that, then so does someone else.

Advertisements

Minimum Wage Rise A Good Move For Economy And If You Can’t See That, You’re An Idiot.

Sorry to be so blunt, but frankly, I have seen so many people posting complaints about raising the minimum wage. They offer up glib, simplistic arguments against it which only show how ignorant they are about the situation. If you’re going to go public with these rants, do your fuckin’ research first.

To start with. that majority of the folks working minimum wage level jobs are NOT teenagers. A lot of workers in the service and retail industries are over 30 and many are parents or single parents. Yes, there are a lot of young teens working the grill at Burger King, but maybe you should look up from your phone once in a while after ordering your burger and you’ll see a lot of the employees behind the counter are well past college age. Why has life deposited them in this place? Did they ‘fail at life’ as so many would assume? Maybe. Or maybe they had circumstances that put them in a less than ideal place and they had no choice but to take this menial job in order to get by. Who are you to judge them? There is dignity in all work. If you think they are so beneath you, maybe you should just go home and make your own Whopper at home.

These are human beings who are just trying to make it through life, the same as you and me. Maybe you went to college and you did everything right and now you have a great job with benefits and raises and an assigned parking spot. Good on you. Life, however, doesn’t always work out so well for everyone. There are bumps in the road, either from outside forces we have no control over or from our own mistakes. Should people be punished just because they didn’t live as well as you? Is it right that they must be brushed aside and denied the chance to raise themselves up? I’m sure many of them are pursuing outside education, or would if they could afford it. With wages as they are, there is no way anyone could afford to live AND attend school. Tuition for school, even community college, has never been higher. Even working at full time; which with these jobs is extremely rare, they would have no hope of being able to cover those expenses.

A lot of these workers need to draw on benefits such as food stamps and welfare in addition to their hourly wage, which adds to the tax burden on the public. If the minimum wage were raised, they wouldn’t need those to get by. Corporations who fight against the minimum wage hike are really saying ‘we don’t want to pay more for our employees, but it’s okay if our customers do’, and as long as they are drawing benefits from the government as they are now, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Don’t you think Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, whose CEOs and executives make insane salaries, can find some extra money to add to the employees pay checks? When one guy in a corporation makes over 100 times what all the workers make, there’s clearly room in the budget.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mcdonalds-old-ceo-to-get-3-million-for-consulting-1425419984 (A little article if you want to read about how an old CEO gets a sweet deal even though he’s getting fired for doing a bad job. Happens all the time, right?)

The fact is CEO salaries have been rising steadily while worker pay has stayed stagnate. This is bad for our economy. I’m no economist, but I see it as this: The economy is a human body and money is the blood. The blood must flow in order for the body to be healthy. It should shoot through the veins fast and free. The problem these days is the blood isn’t flowing like it should. It’s collecting. Rich folks get their money and they hold onto it. They may invest here and there, but for the most part, they lock it up for a rainy day that ironically their money hoarding is going to bring on. With more money in the hands of the middle and lower class, the blood will flow again. They spend their money. They buy groceries and pay bills and purchase homes and cars. etc.  That’s just facts there. They will spend the money, drive the blood and the whole economy will feel the benefits of that. If the billionaires and millionaires continue to hoard the money as they are, this economy is heading for a major heart attack.

Will prices go up with a higher minimum wage? Probably, but not because of any real reason. Studies have already been conducted and they have shown a higher minimum wage would have little to no effect on pricing. If they do go up, it’s only because the corporate slugs on top want to make sure they keep getting those record salaries. There really would be no practical reason for prices to go up. If you’re a small business that can’t afford to pay the higher wage, well, I hate to say it,  but that’s how the market works. If you can’t afford to stay in business, you’re out of business. Capitalism is not a forgiving system, and it can be harsh, but keeping these workers down in this financial black hole they will never escape is harsher. The jobs will be there. As the economy grows, and it will, the jobs will come. It does seem odd that higher wages would bring about more jobs, but when you walk through the process, it really does make sense. More money in the system being spent, companies will make more profits and expand and therefore more jobs. That’s about as simple as I can put it. Maybe the big boys won’t be making record profits, but they’ll still be doing very well. Honestly though, I think the cuts to pay for the hike in worker pay should come out of those executive salaries. They can spare a couple million, especially if it means they get to stay in business. Those workers are the reason they have a job that pays them so well. What if all of Wal-Marts employees wised up and saw their power and didn’t go into work one day? Those suits aren’t going to work the register. They aren’t going to stock the shelves. The fact is those lowly workers who make nothing are the ones who open those stores and collect the money for their greedy masters. They’re the ones who get up every day, work their fingers to the bone for a non-existant wage, deal with rude, ungrateful people and then are forced to smile and claim they are so grateful for working for such a ‘wonderful’ company. ‘It’s a job’ some will say, and that’s the exact logic that’s killing us. Just having a job isn’t enough. That job must be able to help the person to improve their life. What good is working if you have no hope of ever digging yourself out? It’s an endless and pointless cycle that will only lead to an early grave and leave your family with crippling debt which they will never be able to pay off, because they’ll be in the exact same situation. It feels almost like someone devised the whole system to ensure a constant supply of service workers. A system that locks a group down with little to no hope of ever getting to anything better. That is NOT the American way. This is a land of opportunity and everyone deserves a shot. Even if you think they failed at life. The thing about failing is you should be able to choose to get back up and keep fighting for that better life. Just remember, you don’t know what the future holds and you may be on the other side of this fight someday. What drives me nuts about people against a higher minimum wage is how they are really fighting against themselves and they don’t even realize it. To better illustrate this point, check out this article.

http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-continues-to-rise/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwrdetBRCJg92s44SB77IBEiQAEIWmVdXm97WkWfsvCWAAfI-308Ss8QeyidbkpT8mWI3JcagaArcA8P8HAQ

Think about how much the CEOs make versus what the workers make and then ask yourself, how much does one person need to live? I mean, really do they need all that money? If most CEOs took a 50 percent cut, they would still be doing better than most of the country.

The greed in this country is absolutely disgusting, as it causes our people to feed off one another like vultures. This needs to stop or else our way of life is going to go from the endangered list  to extinct.

Frustration

Now that I’m without a net (Thanks a heap state of CA. YOU SUCK EDD!!!) I am in need of a source of income ASAP. So I need to accomplish in the immediate future what I haven’t been able to over the past year. Find a job. People have said the market has been improving, but I’m not seeing it. I have a college degree and a lot of experience with a lot of different skills, but despite all that, there just aren’t that many jobs available. Every day I check the boards and find nothing. What few jobs I find that are within my scope, I send out my application/resume but days drag by and every day that phone doesn’t ring, I get closer to a totally uncertain future. I’m just at that point where I don’t know what to do. I feel like tearing my hair out sometimes. I feel like my hands are tied and my whole world is on shaky ground. I need work and I need it now. I don’t have time to wait any longer. I know I’m not the only one in this boat, but just the same. Sometimes I can’t believe this is happening. I feel like my life is coming apart at the seams. It puts a lot more  pressure on the success of my upcoming book. I’m reminded that the book is coming out in November and that’s great, but what am I going to do between now and then? What if it flops? I mean, I hope it doesn’t, but it’s a possibility. And even if it’s a smash hit(Hoping) that doesn’t do any good to me now. I can’t pay my rent with future earnings. I’ve even started to sell stuff on Etsy. I make earrings. A friend of mine sells his stuff on Etsy and he does great. I don’t try to do it on the scale he does it, I just need a little extra income. Maybe if I do well with it I might expand, but that’s too far away to worry about now.

I just go to bed every night with all this stress, but despite that, I try to convince myself that the next day will be better, but so far I have been wrong. It just keeps getting worse and worse. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I think the worst of it is how much I hate feeling like I can’t support myself or manage my own life. I feel like less of a man, to be honest. I hate everything about this situation I’m in. And I hate the fact that I can’t really do anything to change it. All I can do is work through it and keep pushing forward. But for how much longer?

Wages

I saw a story on the news about workers striking for higher wages. This issue has bugged me for so long now. Worker wages have stayed rock bottom for decades while executive pay has skyrocketed along with corporate profits. Does this picture make sense to anyone? Not me. There are three components to this equation. Two of the three are doing well, while the last one seems to carry the burden. The little guys are killing the backs and wrecking their health for pennies while the fat cats sit behind their desks and grow fatter and are treated like royalty.

I think the call for a higher minimum wage is reasonable. And why can’t the businesses pay? They’re doing a lot better than they say they are. You just have to dig and see the real numbers they’re reporting. The army of execs in their corporate offices are making millions. I say, cut their pay and put that to raises for the workforce. You know, those meaningless cogs that actually do the work that makes you your money. You can have the smartest CEO in the world with the finest training and best ideas in the industry, but if you don’t have ground support to actually generate the income, that CEO isn’t worth spit. Wal-Mart for instance. The execs make a kings fortune every year while their employees slave away in part time hell. They make so little they still need to use food stamp programs to survive. You’re telling me they couldn’t shave a smidgen off the top VP’s salary to afford raises for the people who keep their stores open and running smoothly day in and day out? Is some exec who makes 3 million really going to bitch because his paycheck shrunk by $500? He’s still making more than 90% of the country. Once you pass the seven figure mark on your paycheck, you have no reason to complain about any cuts to pay. If you can’t survive on less than 3 million, you’ve got bigger problems.

I think I mentioned this once before somewhere. I just think if people earned more for their time, they’d be happier at work and do a better job and therefore could increase revenue for the business. It just seems so easy and so simple, yet the 1%  people are so friggin’ greedy and selfish they can’t stand the thought of anyone doing as well as them. They want to be the rich kids on the block, but what good is being rich when the economy has completely deflated?

I remember growing up in the 80’s and the middle class was so strong and because of that so was our economy and our country. Now we have this massive gap between the haves and have nots and it just feels like everything is going to hell. People are just concerned with getting theirs and fail to see that kind of thinking is self-destructive. Our economy is designed in such a way that the success of others can actually benefit you. The stronger we all are, the stronger you will be. The time for greed and selfishness is over. We’re coming to a flashpoint and unless those who have the most change their thinking, we could be in for some real trouble.

Been awhile.

Wow. It’s been a while since I posted anything. I guess that’s due to how distracted I’ve been. It seems my unemployment insurance has been halted and for the last few weeks I’ve been stressing about what to do. I was led to believe by all the letters I had received up until now that I had at least four extensions, but it seems the government in  their infinite wisdom has decided to throw me to the wolves. It’s a very scary feeling. Working without a net. Everytime I whip out my card to pay for food or gas, I remember how there won’t be any new money coming in. It’s all going out. I’ve gone on financial lockdown.  Cutting corners at every turn. What really makes me mad was not entering a screenplay contest that I was actually pretty excited about entering, but I can’t afford the entry fee. One would argue it would be like betting on yourself to win, and while I appreciate that, I’m not quite that confident yet. Although, it would have been great. I adapted “Spectrum” into a movie and since the contest was specifically for movies with a  gay/lesbian slant, I think it might have done well.

As for the bigger issue of the lack of income, there was some good news. I did secure a  job interview this very week and I think it went well. I’m anxiously awaiting the call for interview #2. That turns out to be even more nerve racking. Every hour, every minute, that ticks by I can’t help but wonder why they aren’t calling. I was confident and well spoken and I did well on the typing test. They have to call back. They have to. I don’t know what I’m going to do if they don’t. I  shot out some other resumes just this morning. This is just so frustrating. It feels like no matter  how many resumes I do send out, it won’t matter. There are just too many people out there in this job market. The competition is just too much for me. I’m just one drop of water standing amongst  tidal wave.

I also have the idea of selling jewelry on Etsy. I’ve been looking into it and I can make simple stud earrings and maybe clear a few bucks, if I’m lucky. I’m starting to think the days of traditional employment are over and that scares me too. It’s all I know, but I guess it’s time to evolve. If I had the money, I’d go back to school, but even with financial aid, it’s way too expensive for me to do that.

Although, as stressed and depressed as I’ve been for the past few weeks, I find right now as I write this, there’s an indefinable optimism bubbling inside of me. I have no idea why, but that little voice in me is saying it’s going to  be all right. Somehow, someway, it’s all going to work out. I have no idea how, but I’m grateful for the brief moment of positivity.