Fight for $15 Minimum Wage

The Fight for 15 (a $15 an hour minimum wage) in this new era of Trumpism and literally crack-induced corporate, banking and Wall Street greed, has begun in earnest in US inner cities.

My Limited Experience

Living in Canada, I have not been exposed to quite the type of poverty associated with southern states in America where jobs were shipped overseas in the name of free trade and “prosperity.” But I do live in a city that includes one of the single poorest, most down-trodden areas in North America – the Downtown Eastside (occasionally referred to colloquially as “Skid Row”). Fentanyl-tainted drug use is on the rise, with the government installing one hell of a bird-feeder known as Narcon in order to revive overdosing users. But I digress.

I’ve been a keen observer of people all my life, and one of the stark changes I have noticed, a tell-tale sign to me that something is wrong, is that the sort of employment one would normally almost exclusively associate with students and rookie employees are now being taken over by people well into middle age.  The feeble arguments made by some politicians and business leaders has always been that “entry level positions shouldn’t be an enabler” in order to discredit any notion of a minimum wage hike are now almost completely irrelevant.

The Rebuttals

But minimum wage jobs – you’re not supposed to work in them forever, are you? You’re supposed to work hard an advance. If you don’t, you’re just lazy and unmotivated, right? Tell that to the 40-something barista at your local Starbucks. Or guys like Nic Smith, a coal country southerner and union leader, who has been extremely vocal in the “Fight for 15” despite a lack of name recognition or television coverage. If you’re willing to get your ass out into the streets, in the pouring rain or snow, to protest corporate greed and fight for your rights, you’re hardly unmotivated.

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If anything, maybe you should switch to decaf and realize that finding someone in a position to truly help your cause isn’t going to be easy. And without being too subtle, America has never really been at the forefront of this kind of progress at any time in her history. On a lot of these issues, the US of A has hardly been the champion of anything meaningful, sad to say.

What about those jobs, anyway? Won’t raising the minimum wage be an immediate “jobs killer”? That’s what we are constantly told, even from so-called “liberals.”

It turns out that when you put more money in the pockets of consumers (money that they earn), they spend that money, resulting in more business and more profits for the people the politicians really care about – their wealthy donors. You would think good entrepreneurs and business people would be for a minimum wage hike. Many have been – and many good business owners are actually creating their own minimum wage.

So Why is It Not Happening?

Simple. Seriously, some of these crooks could pad their pocketbook in any way, we all know they would go for it. Unfortunately, there is freedom in prosperity. Poor people, particularly the chronically poor (many through no fault of their own and largely due to the collusion of corporate and monied powers – corporatism) are little more than slaves. Many couldn’t afford higher education and didn’t score high enough on dubious exams during their primary and secondary education to obtain a scholarship.

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Meanwhile, many southern states have ZERO minimum wage and have to defer to the facepalm-inducing $7.25 currently set by the Feds. That is modern-day slavery. And thanks to inflation, unless you’re cruising in Donald Trump’s circles, chances are you haven’t received a real wage increase since the early 1970s.

The minimum wage USED to be enough to feed and house a family of 4. Ask anyone working full-time at McDonalds about their family plans today. Family plans? What family plans? So much for those wonderful family values corporations in America claim they are in favour of.

When a politician compares the cost of living or health care to a leather chair or a piece of jewellery, you instantly know what game they are in and whose side they are on – apparently not yours.

Not that it’s ever about “taking sides,” but western neoliberal and neoconservative governments alike have been taking sides against their voters for decades in favour of being unofficial employees for defence contractors, bankers and the rest of the global elite.

In the end, the resistance against the Fight for $15 is really all about a fight for power and control over people’s lives. People who feel powerless themselves have to take out their inadequacies on the truly powerless. You are free – to do as they tell you.

 

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