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Monday, March 3, 2014

Propaganda goes both ways

 This isn't where I like to get political. As an Aquarius that over identifies with her sun sign, the where shouldn't matter as much as the what. Still, this is where I like to come to keep things light, to keep myself centered in something other than the anger that the daily grind pulls out of me. I come here to keep the boil over from happening, to focus on the things that are fun and inspiring because there is too much crap in the world as it is. I like to think that you all come here for those reasons too. But.... well of course there was one of those. But I can not let this circulate without a thoughtful comment.

Roughly 25 years ago the minimum wage in this country was just under 4.00 an hour. Rent for a 2 bedroom home was right around 450.00 a month for something modest and probably run down. That is the minimum wage. The wage for slapping a burger on a bun. The wage for a housekeeper at the local resort, to start, was 8.50. And people tipped well back then. My friend who did housekeeping through high school and into her college years told me this. She managed to take home about 150.00 in tips during the summer. It was good money and hard work. She was trying to recruit friends to work with her. I went into daycare. Three years later, I needed a supplement after my divorce and applied. I was hired in 1992 for 10.00 an hour to start. My rent was 600 on a 3 bedroom home of modest appointment and no amenities.

It was hard work. And people were not tipping. I never took home more than about 5.00 a weekend if  I got tips at all. It is very hard work. Hard work with safety issues, dealing with people's bodily fluids and there is always the possibility of a guest getting inappropriate. Or a coworker. It isn't like cleaning your own home where you can take all day to clean your house. We cleaned condos. 2 and 3 Bedroom condos and we had to do them in 45 minutes or less. We had 6-8 of them to do sometimes in teams of no more than 2  people. Clean your house spotless 6 times from top to bottom one day and tell me that it isn't hard. And back then we sacrificed our free breaks to make time.  For the girls who cleaned straight hotel rooms they had lists of 15-25 rooms, 20 minutes a room. Clean your own bedroom 25 times in one day and tell me it isn't hard.

Of course the difference between your room and a hotel room is that you won't have the chance to mess it up with half eaten meals, finger painted yogurt or other things, sex toys and intercourse residue, beer and wine and the mess of a shopping trip strewn around the room like Christmas morning between your cleanings. And of course you won't want to make your bed all 25 times. But in a hotel you have to. Your have to clean up all those kinds of messes, sometimes all in one room. And sometimes 4 rooms in a row. The only rooms that are easy to clean are the pilot rooms, just make the bed, clean the bathroom and make sure there is no dust. They don't have time to leave a mess.

There used to be a premium pay for these kinds of jobs. It used to be that you made twice what the fry droppers at McDonalds got. But now the low class is all lumped in together and that togetherness is being taken advantage of.

Twenty years later the minimum wage is 7.65 in Michigan. 600.00 is a one room studio apartment. A two bedroom apartment in my home town averages 775 +utilities. 3 bedrooms leaps into the 1200.00 range. And the average starting pay is 7.75 for any unskilled job. The minimum wage is not quite twice what it was 20 years ago but the cost of living is more than 3 times that. I haven't even begun to go into the cost of gas, electric, propane, gasoline to get back and forth to your low wage job and the food that it takes to keep you fed enough to do the work. Once we factor that in.....

1.25 a gallon for us in 1991 a tank for 10.00 3.75 today a tank is about 40.
a 100 gallon pig (propane tank) was filled once per winter for about 150 twice a year for us usually (1991) Today that pig cost 450.00.
my utilities in 1991 averaged about 95 a month. Today between gas, electric, water, sewer we spend 250 a month. heat is set at 68° and we use slippers and blankets to keep warm.
Phone in 1991 for a land line with no long distance calls cost me 35.00 a month. Depending on your cell phone needs you can get by on that but most likely you are going to spend in the neighborhood of 100.00 a month if you have kids requiring multiple lines.

So your cost of living is 3-4 times more than it was 20 years ago. Your minimum wage is not even doubled.

And now you HAVE To pay for insurance. 42.40 per week for a single person.

When all is said and done the minimum wage HAS to increase if people are going to meet basic needs and not depend on food pantries, church charities and government handouts.

The people opposed to this say they will HAVE to pass on the cost to the consumer, just like they did last time. They do not HAVE to do that. They WILL because they WANT to. You will pay more for your goods and services to cover the hike in minimum wage because the corporate shareholders and operations officers do not want to have their MULTI MILLION DOLLAR BONUSES reduced. They plead for you to have mercy and want you to believe that they will lose money and go out of business. That this kind of operations cost will mean that they won't make any money. They will have reduced profits. But they will have PROFITS. It just means one less multi million dollar home in the portfolio. The people who are opposed to wage hikes want you to think it is impossible and unfair to the highest ranks of management. It is not. How do I know?

Because Costco can pay a living wage, pension their cashiers and still make large profit margins.

The people who are opposed to a wage increase are the people who are trying to convince you that you are taking something away from others equally deserving of what you ask for when they send out propaganda like this.

American soldiers make less than minimum wage. Why? Because CONGRESS voted that way to reduce the cost of managing an armed forces, to balance a budget that CONGRESS mismanaged in the first place. Congressional voters keep giving themselves and their banker friends all of the money that it takes to run the country and pay the soldiers for silly things like a 7 million dollar bridge to get 6 people from one island to the Alaskan mainland each year. They keep giving soldiers money to people like Michigan Governor Snyder for a bridge no one wanted that no one needed to get between Canada and the US because his steel industry friends needed a project to funnel funds into. CONGRESS is spending SOLDIER pay on getting re-elected instead of paying our bills that we owe as a country.

These are the same people who are encouraging you to think of social security recipients as free-loaders. Who paid money into social security? WE did. Who does social security belong to? US. The free-loaders. CONGRESS Spent social security money by un-ethically rewriting spending rules to allow themselves an open safe to fund other things that there was not support for. And they left I.O.Us in that safe. Then when they realized that they could not pay for it they rewrote the rules to say that they did not have to pay it back. And just so the rest of us wouldn't be too upset with THEM they blamed US. They've taken away the money we lent to them to run the country and now they are trying to turn us against one another over a wage hike.

Let me ask you this. When these American soldiers come home and have to take a job at McDonalds because the war messed them up and they can't get anything else, or because there isn't anything else for them to do, are they going to be happy with the minimum wage as it stands? Are those soldiers whose spouses are stuck in low wage jobs to make ends meet really satisfied with the wage? Wouldn't they want their spouses to be paid better?

The Republicans keep sending this crap for you to like on facebook to engage your emotions because your emotions are not rational. When your emotions are engaged you are not rational. When you are not rational you can not see the truth of the issue. The real issue is that American soldiers deserve better pay and it is up to Congress to take care of them. That they are not being taken care of is not the fault of the burger flippers or the cashiers. It is the fault of the AMERICAN CONGRESS.

And this is my response:

It reads: Sacrificing my life and a wage to defend the American Dream
and you're complaining that my family and friends want a fair wage?

Fix that shit before I get home!


  1. Very well stated. However, thee is a disconnect between military pay and minimum wage. Minimum wage is just that - minimum. The objective of MW is that it really wasn't meant for supporting a family. The majority of MW workers are young adults who are just starting out, or perhaps as a supplement for a family's income. Our economy is so fluid that those who earn MW today are not the same folks who will earn it tomorrow.

    As for military pay, what politicians have done is nothing short of scandalous. Our military gets taken advantage because the very nature of an enlisted's personality is such that the honor of the job outweigh the financial rewards. So therefore, they basically accept what's given with honor (and with nary a word of protest). Sadly, our government easily takes advantage of these heroes and therefore, the soldiers get the shaft. They lose benefits and pay. When you consider the sh*t these guys put up with - whether from foreign combatants or American anti-military zealots, there isn't enough money in the world to pay them what they truly deserve.

    Yes, Republicans go for the heartstrings. But they have learned that trick from their liberal friends. Every conservative I know cares very deeply for our soldiers and those that support them. Yet, when many of the become politicians, they seem to forget who and what put them in office in the first place. Now, the only group I trust that has the military's back are Tea Party Republicans. But the establishment GOP has slowly morphed into Democrats-Lite.

    Until that changes, I fear it will only get worse.

  2. Thanks Shayne. Good to know you are alive ;)
    The point of sharing the minimum wage was mostly because those numbers are deeply engrained in my head and I know they are accurate. The numbers are all straight out of my bookkeeping files that I can not seem to delete in my head.

    Please notice that there are two sets of numbers. There is the minimum wage and the premium on minimum, which perhaps I was a bit muddy about. You are correct in that most of the people on minimum 20 years ago were young people in fledgling roles ready to break out into the world. However, in the 1930s the minimum wage was established to provide a living wage to heads of household and yes, were indeed, expected to raise a family on that. And the numbers sited from 20 years ago show that it was possible to do, or come very close with a working spouse or contributing of age child. AND that it is not possible NOW.

    I named Republicans because the source of the top meme was from a page of conservative Republicans from facebook. I will be adding in links and such and doing a follow up piece to this. But you are correct it is all politicians. More importantly it is the banking industry leaders, the ones who've opted out of the FORBES list but still have more money than anyone who are the real culprits.

    And it is still a fact that COSTCO can pay a living wage for the minimum wage equivalent positions of other companies, make a profit, and share their good business sense with employees of all tiers of importance in the form of bonuses and nearly Congressional value health care.

    I wish that you would research on your own the 1938 minimum wage laws AND the literature that helped to pass it written by founders of the Jewish Labor Lyceums and the Catholic labor leagues. I heard a story on Interfaith Voices, then saw that meme for the millionth time and about lost my mind. The Jewish & Catholic worker supporters made a very strong statement about protecting families with a wage that one person can live on and systematically in the last 20 years our own government has tried to undo it. Gay marriage is the new poverty. Gay marriage is what people scream about as the destructive force inside families today because the main problem.... poverty, is of their own creation. And it suits not only the government but the conservative AND liberal business owners to keep the majority of us poor and profit margins up.

  3. What bothers me about these memes is that not only do soldiers have these hazards, poor pay and so little respect given them is that now they are being used as propaganda to spread the interclass hate. It keeps getting posted by service members families, liked by friends of service members and no one is looking beyond the initial emotional reaction.

    I love you, but this turned out to be another response in defense of your party (mostly) and a way to blame the other guys. My hope was to get people to look passed the surface of things. It isn't about the people you know, Shayne. It is about the people in office. It's about who pays to get them there.... NOT the people who voted them in.

    And.... our economy is not fluid. You are right the same people earning it today are not the same who will earn it tomorrow. The people who will earn minimum tomorrow will be the soldiers who come home, retirees who's saving won't stretch, the adults who are being kicked out of mid level jobs (just like now, except there will be more of them) and can not make a lateral move and will have to get a job at BK, or a bookstore, a grocery store to even try to make ends meet.

    My Aunt raised 6 kids on her cashiering job because the minimum wage and her ethically motivated employer meant for her to. Yes the kids all went out and got their own jobs when they were 16 to start paying for college or whatever else they were going to do. And there were tons more jobs for them to walk into than there are now.

    And let me explain something about the current job climate: starting teachers are getting: median is 21.00/hr. That is about what a welder used to get now they get about 17.00/hr. parts assembly, which is as skilled as burger assembly, starts at 14.00 an hour. 20 years ago that was what my friends were getting for that kind of work. Between 1988 and 2009 the government has conspired with bankers and corporations to create poverty in conjunction with increased profits. The conspiracy is independent of party affiliation.

    But we keep getting suckered into believing that those are the lines that matter. Here's an article that will illustrate what I mean. They've haggled the unions down to being ineffective against corporations. The union, with all its faults, was the last line of defense.

    And I haven't even gone into the market level/wage comparison. Let's just say that when the stock market was always hovering around 8000 pts CD made 5% + for investors. Now that the market is soaring towards a constant 15000 pts CDs only yield about 1 tenth of 1%. We should all be doing much better but there are reasons that we are not. And it hasn't to do with parties but with propaganda and greed.