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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/16/19

You'll Pay for This

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Our minimum wage is a disgrace. It's shameful, peonage coolie labor. The gambit has been set and the snare is in place. If you raise the minimum wage my trips to Wal-Mart will be limited and I won't be able to buy as many Big Mac's. Being seduced by the idea of a low-cost society without realizing we are buying poverty at a high price. The population of Tijuana, Mexico has swelled in recent years due to the abundance of low wage jobs. Because of the population boom the sanitary sewer system is overwhelmed and needs to be replaced. Because this population earns so little, they can never be taxed enough come near the cost of a new sewage plant. The overflow raw sewage is dumped into the Pacific Ocean and washes up on California beaches. Man, that's a harsh way to save a buck.

Now look at the other side of the coin"if you live in a community that needs a new school or library or tax abatement for well connected individuals. And your community supports low wage workers, you might as well wear a sign around your neck that says; RAISE MY TAXES! Now, some would offer, those politicians will raise your taxes anyway! It's that same mentality, if I give away a dime it'll cost me a dollar. On the evening of August 1, 2007 as rush hour traffic crept along in Minneapolis the center section of the I-35 bridge gave way killing thirteen and injuring at least twenty-two children. A school bus hung precariously off the edge of bridge with sixty-five terrified children inside. Stephen King is a rank amateur when it comes to horror. The bridge had been listed as structurally deficient for seventeen years. What sort of society accepts that? How far are we willing to go to save a buck?

Are you in business? Do you work for an organization that is in business? Low wage workers might want to buy furniture from you or maybe a used car. They might want to get the kid braces or buy a house, but they're locked out by low wages. Let's be clear, it is not through lack of effort these people are poor they are locked into this poverty by an artificially low minimum wage. The minimum wage becomes a maximum wage. The government says, I don't have to pay you one nickel more than this"so I won't. If you've ever worked a lunch rush at McDonalds or Burger King, you know what busy means. Do you know how to spot a wildly profitable corporation? Count them, if they can build one every six blocks coast to coast, labor cost is not their primary concern. It is economic slavery by legislative fiat.

I was recently at the gas station/convenience store. The clerk was genial, and we began to talk, "between people getting fired for stealing, laying out, we can't find anyone to work. I'm working crazy hours." I asked, if the job paid $25.00 per hour do you think you'd have these problems? Do you think people would worry more about losing a job that paid well? Do you think you'd have problems finding help? Could it be that workers who aren't valued don't value work? But, but, but they'd raise prices! If they raised the price of a gallon of gas by a few cents, a dollar or two on a fill up. Are you always so frugal with twenty or thirty dollars that you worry about a dollar?

Franklin Roosevelt said, "It's not just bad morals it's bad economics." It is as much about morals as it is economics, children shouldn't go to bed cold or hungry. Hard working parents shouldn't feel shamed for being unable to adequately provide for their families. They don't need government programs they need a decent wage. What does this poverty do to marriages? How does this change the equation of an unplanned pregnancy? Running in a squirrel cage with no way off or perhaps jumping from one burning ship to another. Looking for an extra twenty-five cents an hour. But"life is, isn't it? You get what you get, no do overs, no restarts. Pull yourself up by your own boot straps! Look at me I did it! So, to be the one in a hundred or one in a thousand who "make it" are they evidence that the system is working or evidence that it is not working?

Imagine we built a super computer and we programed it for just one function. Everything in the world would be computed to maximize profitability and minimize cost. You're over fifty, we'll give your job to someone younger to save on health insurance. We'll pay you less because you're female. We'll pay you less because even though you've got the credentials you don't have the experience and we'll take advantage of that. And if you have the credentials and the experience"we won't hire you, as you've priced yourself out of the market. Because millions of Americans struggle to get by with low wage jobs, they live in constant fear of car insurance lapsing, so you'll pay more for uninsured motorist coverage. Utilities shut off, now why didn't he do his homework, or I wonder why he's late for school. But our computer tells us this is the most cost-effective way of doing things. After all, only a few bridges have collapsed and only a few millions are destitute. A couple of hundred thousand are doing really well and that's cost effective"for them.

When hunting, it is against the law to put bait in a field to lure game. This is the primary difference between hunting and banking. Late fees and over drafts, payday lenders and buy here pay here. Profiting off the poor by punishing the poor for being poor. If we were to raise the minimum wage these businesses would suffer. Are you beginning to understand the benefits of cost effectiveness now? Years ago, a contractor was hired to do sewer repairs in East L.A. Because it was a rough area, he hired gang members at a fair wage. Within six weeks most had left the gang. You can't work in the sun all day and hang on the street corner at night and given a choice they chose a decent job.

How odd it really is, how those who want to make America great again don't really understand what American greatness is all about. America can't be made great by cheating our neighbors and shorting our friends. Any more than you can build a skyscraper out of sticks. You can't build a great nation with poor people. You can't be great without a great education. You can't expect people to build a great nation if the nation treats them as nothing. Their poverty is our poverty and your poverty, drugs, crime, homelessness, prison reform, abortion, gun control and gang violence are all tied directly to this obscenely, low minimum wage. You'll pay for this, one way or another, you'll pay for this.

(Article changed on February 16, 2019 at 16:54)

(Article changed on February 16, 2019 at 17:26)

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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