(Yes, I know this post uses dated numbers, but I've been on disability for a few years and I wrote this without any Internet access.)
Go out and about among the people and say "I'll pay you $7 if you clean my toilet." I doubt anyone would take you up on that offer. So when they decline, ask them "You won't clean a single toilet for $7, but you're perfectly fine with companies paying people $7 per hour to clean lots of toilets? Not $7 per toilet, mind you, but $7 per hour. It's easy to clean, like, at least 4 toilets in an hour. If they were paid $7 per toilet, that would be $28 an hour, and yet they're paid only $7 to clean 4 toilets. That doesn't bother you?"
Because honestly, given how much $7 is worth these days... I can't remember the last time I spent less than $7 at a single grocery store trip. So really, an hour's worth of work is only worth the cost of a package of fried chicken at the grocery store? You can get cheap packages of shredded cheddar that cost more than what people are being paid to clean toilets for an hour! And this doesn't outrage everyone?
Oh and hey, guess what? $7 per hour (a rounding of Oregon's minimum wage back when I was working) was considered a HIGH minimum wage for the US. (It's going up to $9.25 in 2015) I think the federal minimum wage was like $5 or $6 per hour at the most, back then (only, like, 3 years ago). You can't even get a halfway decent hamburger at McDonald's for $5 anymore, for fuck's sake! So we're expecting people to clean toilets, or slave over a hot stove, or deal with asshole customers all day long, for the cost of a couple cheap McDonald's hamburgers every hour? You work an 8 hour day and what can you buy with the $40 you made that day? If you scrimp, if you buy the cheapest shit you can find, if you buy from the bulk aisle, if you eat a lot of rice and pasta and beans, you might - I repeat, MIGHT - be able to afford a few days' worth of groceries with that.
So people are expected to stand all day, run around doing things on their feet all day, cleaning up messes and being polite and helpful to assholes all day, for a few day's worth of groceries each day? $40 a day... I dunno about you, but to me that sounds like a modern anachronism, like those TV shows set in the 1950's where someone says "I'll give you a job for $40 a day," and someone goes "Golly gee, that's mighty generous of you, sir!" Back when $40 could probably have bought an entire car (not a good car, but still a car).
Well guess what? This isn't the 1950's, and $40 won't buy much of anything anymore. The dollar is the new penny, and the penny costs more to make than it's worth. The minimum wage should have been called The Living Wage, because at the time, it was designed to be enough that on a minimum wage job you could afford to buy a house, a car, and have kids. Now you're doing good if you can afford a crappy apartment and food for yourself on minimum wage, and even then you're probably on food stamps and getting donations of food from churches. If the minimum wage had gone up as much and as often as it was supposed to, it would be up to anywhere between $15 and $20 per hour by now. That is at least $8 more per hour than Oregon's minimum wage, and $10 more than the federal minimum wage.
Oh, and it gets worse: people who work in restaurants for tips get paid even less than the federal minimum wage for everyone else, because tips are considered part of their wage. And yet people tip so poorly that at the restaurant-in-a-casino I once worked for - a CASINO, where people go specifically to drop loads of cash - they had to implement a mandatory gratuity for large groups because those large groups, which should have been getting the waitresses upwards of $20 in tips, were doing good to get $9 in tips, and often far less.
In this country, we have gone from valuing the common worker who mops our floors and cleans our toilets so much that we wanted him to be able to buy a house, a car, and feed his kids without much problem, to valuing that same worker so little that they can only survive with government assistance, and even on that assistance, their kids are starving and going to shitty schools. And what's the excuse? "Trickle down economy." It's supposed to be crumbs that are trickling down, which is insulting enough, but we all know it's really piss that's trickling down on us all; and piss is a waste product.
And all the while, the rich line their pockets with absurdly high profits, CEOS get paid hundreds of millions of dollars a year, corporations get so many tax breaks that the government owes THEM money, and corporations are moving their money to overseas banks and their headquarters to foreign countries, all while buying their way into American politics. We can no longer pretend these people in these corporations give a shit about any of us. These corporations are American corporations in name only, and the wealthy assholes who work for them are American citizens in name only. We have basically become overrun by people and companies that have made themselves foreign enemies of state, but still see fit to buy their way into our politics. Look to the CEOs of places like McDonalds for the REAL terrorists!
So please, if you wouldn't even clean a single toilet for $7, talk to your representatives in the government and DEMAND they raise the minimum wage to at LEAST $15 per hour. If you aren't outraged by how low the minimum wage is, by the fact that places like Wal-Mart pay their employees so crappily that Wal-Mart is costing this country billions in food stamps and other assistance, then you are a puppet of terrorist corporations. If you aren't DEMANDING the minimum wage be raised, you are aiding and abetting terrorism.
This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1255051.html
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