- Posted March 2, 2014 by
Watertown, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
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- The US Supreme Court Has Granted 'Pinocchio' Peoplehood, But Failed to Give Him a Conscience
- Don't Worry. If Obama Doesn't "Heal the Planet", GOD Will Fix It", say Republicans Like Sen. Jim Inhofe
"Hey,Corporate America, Give Your Employees a Pay Raise and "Buy Yourself Some Good Publicity
And how much per employee would that be an hour? Pennies? Dollars?
It doesn't matter. It probably wouldn't be that much. But my point is, people need a raise. It's just a matter of how much not whether they do. But does raising the minimum wage do everything we're being told it will, or is there another reason for our government wanting to suddenly to be altruistic? Maybe Government has another reason.
So, a raise to minimum wage would be good in many ways and to many people, but will it be the benefit to workers making $7.25 an hour that everyone claims it will be?
Sure, for kids making the Federal Minimum wage and living at home with their parents while attending college to learn skills they hope one day will be appreciated by our nation and sought after again, $10.10 an hour will be great.
But what about the single Mom who works at Wal-Mart or Mc Donald's and doesn't have her parents to supplement her food bill every month?
She may now be receiving food stamps and Medicare. Making more an hour may take her out of the eligibility range of S.N.A.P. and she may have to start buying her own healthcare insurance.
Transitioning to the 'middle class' isn't as easy as some politicians would like us to believe. It comes in steps and not without some pitfalls.
Government benefit's, like food stamps, eligibility is based on a person's gross income- a clever accounting trick that hurts more than it helps. Workers don't receive their gross incomes. They get their net. After taxes, most live on what they take home and that's not much on a minimum wage job for sure.
But when you supplement that income with welfare, and earned income credits, many barely squeak by. Still, would they be better off with a raise?
Would they lose the food stamps and be in a better place overall or would they be in the same place financially?
Conservatives should be behind this move to increase the minimum wage. At first glance, it looks like a very humane thing to ask of corporate America as our President does.
"Hey, give America a raise!"
And does the president mean this literally or figuratively. And who is America?
Those damn adjectives. They always get in the way of the clarity we need to understand how all this will work.
And work it must.
For the Federal government to give workers a raise, many things need to be considered.
Conservatives focus on the loss of jobs that a pay raise will mean for workers- like the GOP ever has cared about workers and whether they have jobs. Let's get real.
But it sounds better for conservatives to say that when they frame the reason they don't want pay raises for workers than it would for them to give their real reasons for being against better wages for workers.
the pro-business politicians, favor higher profits for corporations at the expense of their workers because that's the last place business's can squeeze out a buck when sales are falling.
Firing workers or using high unemployment to coerce workers into accepting lower wages has become the last refuge for the illusion of a recovery for the United States.
When it's discovered by middle Americans that all the growth in America is coming from the financial sector for buying and trading derivatives and stock again as in 2008 and not from actually producing a tangible product, the whole financial system will bring down Main Street with a loud bang.
This time there will be no getting up.
The middle class needs more money to spend on the things they need. No doubt.
But many structural changes to our financial system and business model need to be made for the system to work for workers and business. Business need to make concessions.
We can't continue to allow them to extort money from workers by threatening to outsource jobs then bring their products back here with no tariffs to offset costs to workers and this country.
Congress needs to refocus on why they were sent to DC.
That purpose wasn't to make life better for themselves and corporations at the expense of their constituents.
Corporations like Wal-Mart could do themselves a favor by voluntarily giving their workers a raise. It would make their owners at least appear to be more humane and less greedy. But government must address the potential problems that a raise to the minimum wage could create for workers on the financial borderline of poverty. Workers must not be dropped from food stamp rolls sharply but phased off as their need for food and medical insurance and receiving government help can eventually be paid for by the workers themselves.
We have seen throughout this lousy recovery for Main Street, that government has been shedding jobs at all levels while the private sector has been adding low wage jobs. The government touts the job creation in the private sector as a good thing.
The system we have now with austerity has been designed to cut government benefits (and jobs) while forcing people to accept low wage jobs because unemployment benefits have also been cut.
The question I have about raising the minimum wage: "Is it better for workers overall or is it just another way for government to shift the cost of government debt and costs further to workers?"
Government will get a pay raise with taxes being taken from higher wages. They haven't waived that, have they?
They will be 'broadening the tax base'- a term Republicans are so fond of using. Instead of asking the wealthy to pay more, they're asking the wealthy to make themselves look better by giving workers a pay raise and then government can take the tax form the workers while cutting food stamps. This makes corporations not appear to be getting welfare by proxy, repairs their corporate image and gives government a much need tax increase, from workers.
It's a back-handed slap just the same, but like most euphemisms, appears less harsh than to come straight forward by saying that they believe workers should shoulder the majority of the burden of the economic recovery caused by the greed of the elite.
Socializing the Wall Street losses and capitalizing the gains (but not sharing with the workers) has become the norm for this country and it's corrupt ruling class.
The private sector employers have been receiving the entire benefit of the nation's "recovery" and austerity cuts by coercing worker's wage concessions.
When companies are unwilling to pay livable wages and our government is complicit in allowing the inequality to continue, workers begin to see that we have an untenable position in the economic equation.
Like the game of 'Musical Chairs', our seats have been removed form the table. Now, both government and business have asked themselves how they can make, in their view, an unnecessary part, American workers, disappear.
They do this by paying us less and bleeding us more until we break.
This has given rise to groups such as Occupy Wall Street and '99 Rise'.
The government should give careful consideration to the minimum wage issue and all it's complexities before deciding on a linear solution.
And workers, rather than jumping at the first bone, thrown from the table of appeasement, should reflect on what a raise in the minimum wage will mean, and what else needs to be addressed along with the wage increase.