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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
I just realized something extremely funny

MvDonalds and Visa put out this gem of a budget this week in the attempt to claim that a person can totally live on $8.25/hr. Ignoring obvious issues (no utilites other than electricity in that $600/mo apartment, gas/car payment $150 -- suuure... In my area, if your apartment is that cheap, you're generally making at least a 20 mile round trip), they've effectively admitted that people making $12-14/hr in their full time jobs are barely making enough to survive on.

Think about that for a moment.

Simply by saying "Well, you get a second job somewhere in the current market" they've admitted that they do not pay a living wage, and worse, they could pay their employees half-again more, and said employees would still wouldn't be making enough to do more than scrape by.

So, even the people making half again more than the McWageSlave should be pounding the pavement for 2nd jobs, which further saturates the market with people actually willing to be underemployed. Given the continuing saga of corporations eager to hire those they won't have to give benefits to, it's got to make them happy the jobless have to be willing to take whatever is offered, because its better than nothing. But there's the conundrum, for every person working 2 (3, 4) jobs, that's likely to be 5 (10, 100) who applied while having none. There aren't enough jobs out there for everyone to have multiple.

I'm not going to claim to know the magic solution, but I think I can state that I'm a little tired of the poor being blamed for being jobless or in need of assistance when a single job cannot support a single individual, much less one with dependents. Never mind "illegals" taking away jobs -- ever person who has 2 or more by necessity has increased the pool of un- or under-employed. Driving down prices by driving down pay still results in people not being able to afford your goods. It's an inevitable downward spiral.

So I find it rather bitterly amusing that instead of paying living wages, McDonalds would rather advocate continuing the problem without apparently realizing it.


Well, you know, everyone is only supposed to work min wage jobs to buy beer money while their daddies pay for the bills while they are in college. Then they are supposed to graduate and a get a 'real' job to support themselves. Well, no, that's only the men. Women are only expected to get Mrs. degrees and stay home after college being good little wifeys.

Which makes it that much more ironic -- there simply aren't enough "real jobs". These days if you toss pebbles into a crowd, you'll hit at least on person with a bachelors degree. In the last few generations we sent far more people to college than there were jobs for. So they end up working the same jobs they would have while in college, only with grotesque debt and difficulty being hired because they're overqualified for everything the apply for.

That budget is an outright admission that federal minimum wage can't support a single person working full time. It's an excuse to proliferate low-wage jobs (because everyone with a low wage job needs 2 or more of them) and claim you're doing what's best. And, while you're at it, decry the poor for being shitfless, lazy, mooching assholes for things they have no control over.

And the thing is, if you're shouldering two minimum wage jobs, there's literally no time to go to school in order to claw your way out of this trap. It's a subsistence-only cage designed to maintain a pool of cheap labor in the service sector. It's fucking diabolical.

Or, if you choose to take loans to try and get out, you can be absolutely screwed in the end. But we're supposed to be okay with this. I mean, sure, there will always be haves and have nots, it's a given, but the attitude toward the have nots, as though for the one (for example) Wendy Davis, there are thousands of young men and women who had a car break down, a serious illness, injury-accident, pregnancy, or death in the family whose dreams failed to realize. It's simply not as simple as 'try harder, work harder, make your own luck.'

Ah, the ugly gap between minimum wage and the living wage. For example, here in Ottawa, the minimum wage for the province is $10.25, but the living wage is $13.50. A local poverty action group asked the City of Ottawa to pay all their workers (including temp and cleaning workers from private agencies) the living wage as an act of leadership. ZOMG No can do! Not that I'm bitter.

Why am I not surprised? Although, in complete fairness to governmental bodies, they have a much harder time raising money than places like Walmart. Which isn't to say I don't think they should pay a living wage, but they have a much clearer 'so what do I cut that may hurt the whole' than McDonalds does. On the other hand, of course, as a govt with income and/or sales taxes (at least I'm pretty sure Ontario has at least one of these), the money trickles back, and one hopes the expenditure on entitlements would go down, but I can see how shorter term concerns could make it difficult to see a way to implement. As opposed to McDs & Walmart who just need to say 'Yanno, a 10% net profit of billions is enough if it means we're not helping destroy the economy of the country we're operating in.' I mean if companies were doing that, governments would ideally then have the revenue to do things like ensure their own employees were paid fairly as well. Funny how, logically, a willingness to be less greedy and actually pay taxes would be a net benefit to society and economy.

Two things...

One, you CAN live in our area (heavily rural, cheap housing) on ten dollars an hour. You won't have cable or internet, you will have to scrimp and save, but you CAN live. (Which brings us back to the cage mentioned above. You can live, but can you thrive?)

Two, why is it like pulling teeth to get ANY government agency to cut payscales? They whine about cuts being "lost jobs". Would it not be more logical, more equitable and more long-sighted to cut EVERYONE's wages by three percent instead of laying off three percent of the workforce? Can someone tell me what's wrong with this picture other than greed?

Yep, Ontario has sales tax. And I agree: This is part of the whole craptastic nature of Walmart: government kisses their butt like crazy because "Jobs, jobs, jobs!!!". Erm, yeah I guess; but jobs that ultimately drain more than they give to human services, communities, economies, governments. Yay, I have a Walmart job; unfortunately, my kids is at the children's hospital all the time because malnutrition is starting to affect her kidneys. And so on. It does make it hard on government; but on the other hand, this is part of what a taxation system is for (Canadian federal government, take a hint!).