Minimum Wage Increases – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Everyone and anyone who has worked for minimum wage, or an underpaid wage, is certainly understanding of what it would mean to an individual to have an increase to their income. While some scoff at the notion – their reasons are entirely selfish. On the other hand, an increase to minimum wages only functions when it is not coupled with greedy corporations that raise the costs of commodities. But, one thing is for certain – minimum wage is not a livable wage. There is a reason that politicians cater to the middle class and avoid dealing with the fact that they have an impoverished nation – and it’s not because the poor are the minority.

First, the good: A kudos to those who seek to improve their position. Not everyone is given the privilege of college and education and must work with the skills they have at hand. These people are not less than, less than deserving than, or worth less than – anyone. In fact, if it were not for an unskilled labor force, there would not be a higher echelon of society. The truth is, in order for their to be super, ultra wealthy people, in an equality, there must be as many ultra, super poor people (and I don’t mean a 1-to-1 ratio, but rather, a financial 1 to 1).

If everyone were super-skilled geniuses, there would be no factory workers. If there were no factory workers, doctors would not have tools with which to do their surgeries that rake them in 6 digit figures per year – even if those workers make a barely, if less than sufficient, living wage. If there were not large chains like Walmart and McDonald’s with a lower-end staff, there would be no jobs for its higher ups, for the advertising agencies, transportation agencies, and other companies that sell their goods and wares.

What does this all mean? It means that, what we call ‘lower end jobs’, are actually the backbone of the financial machine that is corporate America. ‘Lower-end’ jobs provide the substance upon which higher end jobs are based and are therefore, inherently, not lower end. In fact, when considering the economic function of America, one should  view it as we would a body. Without a spine – the entirety of the body would collapse. And, for all the importance a brain places on itself (and yes, the brain will deprive other organs of oxygen for self-survival, so it is an oddly, egotistical organ), without the spine – the body would not be able to function.

So, do we treat the spine with disdain? No – in fact – we protect it. When the spine is not doing well – the rest of the body is not doing well; and that’s a fact. We worry most about spinal injuries, because if we were to suffer trauma to the spine – the repairs are far more less successful than even those to the brain. The same holds true with America.  If the ‘lower-end’ workers were to all stop working tomorrow and go home – there would be no money made, stock markets would collapse, and those who are rich would find themselves at an equal, economic playing field.

Those that understand this tend to pay their workers better. Those companies that grasp this concept place value in those workers and jobs. These are not ‘3-strikes’ and you’re out companies. These are not ‘minimum wage + a $0.25 cent per hour raise once every ten years with a $0.50 cent cap’ companies. While large chains have forgotten what gave them their strength, standing on the backs of those who served diligently, people are finding that the separation of classes (financially), is becoming too much to live with any longer and must fight back. People deserve to be treated with respect, not ‘looked down upon’ because they’re not “Harvard graduates.” I bet the lawyer who graduated Harvard would hate life a whole lot more if he had to pick up a hammer and build the forms for the concrete for his own home vs. the guy out there in waiters, trudging through the sludge, laying the foundation for him. Of course, the lawyer makes $280 an hour while the guy in the sludges – not so much.

Next, comes the bad. Yes, it’s true that an increase in minimum wage would mean: 1) more people with more money to spend and a boost to the economy, 2) more dedicated and skilled through experience workers that are more efficient and therefore profitable to the company, and 3) happier workers who are as equally more productive. But, corporate America is a self-destructive machine. Since the beginning foundations that laid this country to the farm worker who just started watering his crops ten minutes ago – corporate America has been fraught with greed and corruption that has been hidden behind the label of “the American Dream.”

The early pioneers who came west in America were not treated well. The wealthy who used slave labor from China and Mexico laid the railroads at a minute cost while building the rail cars in factories with enslaved women and children. Yes – there were men, too. But, the point is, that they broke the backs (and even killed) of the poor in order to get what they wanted, cheaply. If that wasn’t bad enough, when the farmers came west, they were charged extortion-level rates for themselves, and then their cattle – and later for protection. It was a mob mentality – and the mob – belonged to the government.

From the largest supports of the 2nd Amendment who sought only to profit their own franchises, to the politicians who sought the same – Americans were once again under slavery. While the story of slavery is infamously carried by the African-American community – those who are most outspoken about their ancestors and slavery seem to have very little knowledge about just how bad slavery was – for all races and all colors.

Today, corporations outsource work, cheating workers in other countries who don’t suffer from cost-of-living increases and can live on the wages they’re paid … while increasing the cost of living in America. Today, corporations see a cost-of-living increase in the wages – and the rates of supplies and goods go up proportionally. From the utilities to the insurance companies – all companies that benefit from forced economic participation of the masses by government mandate (which is – inherently – by the Declaration of Independence, a bastardization of the American freedom from the tyranny of monarchs overseas), every company increases its costs. But, while those who get the lower end wage increases now find themselves back in the position of struggling once more – the middle class now finds their costs rising, too.

Sadly, greed amongst humans is probably (next to fornication), the greatest evolutionary stagnation since the formation of homo-sapiens. As the middle class sees their costs increase, they too, demand more money (even if their reasons aren’t basic survival, but fear of being poor, vanity, and a slew of other insults I could throw out there). As the middle class raise their voices, so do the wealthy. And, suddenly – the minimum wage is no longer effective. Corporations saw the opportunity for greed – and seized it.

But – isn’t that their right?

Yes, it is. Corporate Democracy, as sick and demented of a political system as it is, is unfortunately, the privilege of the few that commands the masses. Likewise, it is just as ignorant. The phrase is: penny wise – and pound foolish. Think of this example: 1 person sells their product for $25. Another person sells theirs for $100. The first person attracts at least a hundred buyers and makes $10,000. The second person, while a little more slowly than the first, attracts the remaining 300 hundred buyers who couldn’t afford the $100. That person only makes $7,500. But, the difference is this – the next one thousand buyers of the product see the lower price – and they don’t go to the more expensive store. They go to the cheaper store and get the cheaper cost. Charging more does not mean making more – it means quick money. But, that’s what greed is about – quick money – even if it hurts everyone in the long run.

Finally – the ugly. There are so many people going on television, radio, the internet, and speaking out in newspapers and magazines against a lower-wage increase. These people are not those who need the money and they are not those at the top. These are the middle class. Here’s why:

The people at top – won’t relinquish their money. It doesn’t matter how much they have or how well off they are – greed prevents them from seeing past the end of their noses. So, in order to pay the lower-end workers, one of two things must happen: the commodity cost increases (which would, as per the previous example, hurt the long-term income of the rich and therefore – they try to prevent this at the start), or the middle class must give up some of their money.

Well – the middle class don’t want that. And, who should blame them? Why should they have to know what it’s like to live from day to day, minute to minute, without health insurance, suffering in pain silently every day? Why should they have to worry every minute if their over-priced rental will be taken away and their children homeless? Oh – you get the point. But … the middle class don’t. They don’t understand – their fears – are the realities of the lower class. The backs they are standing on – the spines they are breaking – are the very thing that keeps them where they are.

So – when you hear opposition – that’s what you’re hearing. And, while the middle class weigh down on the backs of the lower class, trying to keep themselves from losing that extra nice luxury they have – they fail to recognize that the wealthy on top of them keeping sucking out the life from everything. The results? Unions – cruddy unions that screw the whole system (especially those related to government positions that hurt the taxpayers). And, when the lower class get their raise – the middle class will suffer and then the wealthy will begin outsourcing work, raise the cost of commodities, cheat the system, and the lower class will need more money …. “If you give a mouse a cookie ….”

You know the story.

How to fix the problem? The solution starts with ending a 270 year tradition of government-enforced economic spending. It then moves on to strict regulation over prices and behavior of companies that do benefit from government oversight (although – since the days of Roosevelt addressing the power utilities as the most evil corporations in the world – this hasn’t happened as it should), and then free enterprise is allowed to flourish. People can choose to buy American – or not. Minimum wage can be dictated and people can walk out of jobs – without unions – and govern themselves.

Of course, with the mess that everything’s become … a zombie apocalypse is more likely …

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