The Rich Telling Us $15 Will Break the Bank

What a tiresome repeat of lies and innuendo—a nicer word for an indirect and usually malicious implication.

Innuendo strikes again

What childish dears the rich are, absolutely terrified we will acquire just a smidge of what they have.

First, they perpetuated the lie that tax giveaways to the already coddled top-of-the-top would trickle-down to we lesser humans, trying to keep the rent paid and food on the table without mom taking a job. But they kept it going for thirty or forty years and the only thing that trickled was sweat from dad’s brow.

Mom had to take a job, then dad took a second job

The fishing-boat and trailer disappeared from the driveway (who even had time to go fishing anymore), dad took a second mortgage on the house to keep Junior in university, but he finally came home to attend a junior-college so he too could work a job.

Oh, and they lost the house in the 2008 financial downturn. I forgot to mention that.

Financial downturn is such a kinder word than economic crash, but ten million Americans lost their homes. George Carlin has a piece about kinder-language you might enjoy.

So here we are, stuck at $7.25 an hour

Now Jeff Bezos of Amazon takes home just over $4 million dollars an hour, but that’s not a wage, it’s total compensation for the wealthiest man in the world. But Jeff (I call him Jeff, so he can call me Jim) has sense enough to pay his 545,000 employees a minimum of $15 an hour. He knew it made sense and so he did it.

In the nonsense department, the Congressional Budget Office projects 1.4 million jobs will be lost from a $15 national minimum wage. To help the poor, we must remove the myriad barriers to their employment — their one sure ticket out of poverty. The $15 minimum wage threatens to permanently exclude many of them from the labor force. The good intentions of policymakers will be cold comfort to those who find that the door of opportunity has been bolted shut.

That might be. I accept that, although defining $7.25 as a door to opportunity bolted shut is a bit of a stretch for me.

The Economic Policy Institute tells us raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift pay for nearly 40 million workers. Who are these forty-million?

  • 38.6 million adults ages 18 and older
  • 23.8 million full-time workers
  • 23 million women
  • 11.2 million parents
  • 5.4 million single parents and
  • 14.4 million children

So 1.4 million lose their crap jobs and 40 million move up from crap to a decent wage. Hmmm, how’s that sound to you? Dad and Junior combine to make $60,000 a year and mom comes home. Maybe—just maybe—a fishing boat reappears in the driveway of their rented house.

To no one’s surprise

The minimum wage battle on Main Street splits along party lines, according to CNBC. Small business owners who identify as Democrats were more than four times as likely as Republicans to support raising the minimum wage, though the small business demographic skews conservative overall.

What do we make of that? Are Democrats just kinder than Republicans, or have poorer heads for business? I ran a small business in the 50s through 80s and I recall a number of wage increases, some by unions, others by the state and yet others federal. My low-end employees were mostly minimum wage. Hell, I was too when I started, making $1,60 an hour in 1950.

But every time wages went up, I simply explained to my customers why prices were going up and they accepted it. If forty million people benefit and the boat trailer comes back to the driveway—along with mom getting her feet up for a change—I’m all for it.

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