Thursday, May 1, 2014
Happy International Workers Day!
The fortune teller in this ad sees "a lot of people losing their jobs" if Obama gets his "minimum wage hike." I wonder if she predicted this every time a raise in the minimum wage has been discussed. No, I doubt it- after all, considering that every minimum wage increase has lead to a rise in demand and corresponding drop in the Unemployment Rate, wouldn't those predictions have exposed her as a fraud and cost her her "business" by now?
Raising the minimum wage does not cost jobs. Nor does it create inflation. That's because the cost of labor is only one small part of the cost of doing business. If you listen to Fox "News" or Sean Hannity, it's easy to get the impression that raising the wage of a burger-flipper at McDonalds from $6.75 to $10.50 per hour will force an end to the Dollar Menu, but it just ain't so. Prices are set to Demand far more than to labor costs- and if you pay people more money, that creates more demand. Maybe it becomes the $1.15 Menu. Guess what? If everyone making minimum wage gets a 30 percent raise, McDonalds will be selling a lot more items from that $1.25 menu than they are selling from the Dollar Menu. This is not rocket science.
But it does require that we set aside the sad, ahistorical conceit that businesses always pay people exactly what they are worth, and that increased productivity will result in increased pay. Two problems with this. First, there is exactly as much evidence that it's true as there is that raising the minimum wage results in higher unemployment rates. In fact, the opposite is true- the productivity of the American worker has increased dramatically over the past thirty years, while wages have remained stagnant (and profits have skyrocketed.)
Second, we are never told exactly WHY any business would raise wages unless it's forced to- especially during a prolonged period of high unemployment. Out of the goodness of their hearts (they are people, after all?)
And no, I'm not even going to touch on the fortune teller's "remember I told you about the Health Care website?" snark. That's just Rich Americans Determined To Use Your Ignorance Against You's cheap throw-away add-on line. Heck, they have to get their money's worth for this crud, right?
So anyway- Happy May 1 for all of my fellow laborers out there, including those who actually buy messages like the one pimped in this ad and wonder how they could do Just A Little More to coax a few extra crumbs from the boss's table. Special shout out to you guys, though I know you've been too brainwashed by the Right to get it: It's not you. You are working very, very hard for very little money not because of anything you failed to do, but because you are working for a race of cold-blooded lizards from another galaxy disguised as humans who are devoted to the goal of draining every ounce of life out of you for their own benefit. You aren't lazy, and you aren't stupid. You just got the bad end of a very raw deal. You work, you suffer, you struggle to make ends meet- and they get rich off your sweat.
It has always been thus- but that doesn't mean it will always BE thus. Let's lift our beers and toast the promise of the new day coming- the day when every laborer receives a fair share of the wealth his labor creates, not as a gift, but as a right. May we all live to see it.