• How Many Miles Can You Drive on a Gallon of Blood? Our Future is Feudalism

    June 24, 2014

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: #99Percent

    There is much talk about the minimum wage. What was once a way for teenagers and college kids to earn a little pocket money has devolved into the take-home pay for a vast swath of America. Defenders of a low minimum wage insist that most of us benefit from workers being paid very little; lower wages mean lower costs for Walmart and others, and so lower prices for us.

    Makes sense, except that it is not true.

    The difference between what Walmart pays the majority of its employees and what those employees need is made up by taxpayers in the form of food stamps and other assistance. Walmart is America’s largest private employer, so we’ll use them here for most of the examples, but this applies across the board.

    Choose your statistic to understand the problem: about 25% of all employed people in the U.S. receive some form of public assistance; in the fast food industry, it is 53%. About 1 out of every 3 retail workers gets public assistance. In sum, American taxpayers subsidize the minimum wage with $7 billion in public assistance.

    Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Low Everyday Prices

    Let’s break it into a smaller piece: After analyzing data released by Wisconsin’s Medicaid program, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce estimates that a single 300-person WalMart in Wisconsin costs taxpayers $5,815 per Walmart associate in public assistance paid.

    It isn’t about more hours: The families of more than half of the fast-food workers employed 40 or more hours per week are still enrolled in public assistance. More hours at a low wage still does not equal a living wage.

    Now, if you’re a certain kind of person, just stop reading here. In a country with such abundance as America, people should not starve to death, being told on the way down to “get a job, loser.” And none of this is about the politics of left and right; it is about the politics of up and down. The answer is not to cut public assistance, the working poor be damned, let them eat cake. If you want that kind of society, go troll some other web site. The answer is for companies to pay a living wage. If they won’t do it voluntarily, then we must raise the minimum wage. It has not gone up since 2009 and it is damn well time for it to do so. In fact, we can’t afford not to.

    But Won’t Raising the Minimum Wage Raise Prices? Cost Jobs?

    Let’s tackle the easy stuff first. No business offers paying jobs as a public service. They hire people to make money. When they need more workers to make more money, they hire more. When they no longer need those workers, they lay them off. Ever heard of Christmas help? A higher minimum wage will not cause businesses to cut jobs; they can’t do that. Who’d cook the burgers?

    What about higher prices? The quick answer should be obvious by now. Whatever you think you are saving at the cash register in Walmart due to those lower wages, you as a taxpayer are paying anyway in taxes to feed the woman ringing you up. If store paid a living wage, step one would a lessening in demand for public assistance. Ka-ching, lower taxes!

    But let’s follow the money. Walmart consistently pays the lowest wages they possibly can, and claims that keeps prices down. Walmart is not alone in this practice; the average family’s income is lower today than at any point in the last ten years, income inequality more extreme than at any point since before the Great Depression. The U.S. now has the highest proportion of low-wage workers in the developed world. The fall in wages parallels another trend line: in January of 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that union membership had reached a 97 year low in America.

    Welcome to Feudalism

    Where could the money to pay workers a living wage come from, except of course by raising prices?

    The top one percent of income earners garnered 93 percent of income gains in the recent recovery. In the third quarter of 2012, corporate profits reached $1.75 trillion, their greatest share of GDP in history. During that same quarter, workers’ wages fell to their lowest share of GDP on record. The top six members of the Walton family (owners of Walmart) own as much wealth as 48 million other Americans combined. Meanwhile, among 35 economically advanced nations, the U.S. has the second highest rate of child poverty, 23%, just slightly better than Romania.


    How Many Miles Can You Drive on a Gallon of Blood?

    If I had a crayon I’d draw you a picture, but I think you don’t really need that at this point. None of this is accidental, some sort of invisible hand at work.

    Companies will continue to demand Federal, state and local governments keep the minimum wage as low as possible. The same corporate entities will then continue to have those low wages subsidized by the taxpayers. Companies will continue to spew out propaganda to convince those same taxpayers that people on public assistance are lazy cheats, and that low wages mean low prices. Capping wages at 2009 levels assures that any broad rise in societal prosperity will not reach low-wage workers, and there is no broad upward path for retail workers and fry cooks. It’s not about education, either: the percentage of low-wage workers with at least some college education has spiked 71 percent since 1979, to now encompass over 43% of all low-wage workers. Meanwhile more and more money will be hoovered up by an ever-concentrated group of the super wealthy, squeezing their workers tighter and tighter. Hey, how many miles can you drive on a gallon of blood?

    In today’s America, even working full-time, at most jobs you can’t earn enough to live with government assistance. More and more of everything is owned by fewer and fewer people. If you look that stuff up in a reference book, it is called feudalism. It is our future, and, of course, thank you for shopping at Walmart!




    BONUS: Charles Ferguson, director of the Wall Street documentary “Inside Job” wrote:

    Far from being in an era of brutal partisan warfare, as conventional wisdom holds and as watching the nightly television news might suggest, the United States is now in the grip of a political duopoly in which both parties are thoroughly complicit. They play a game: they agree to fight viciously over certain things to retain the allegiance of their respective bases, while agreeing not to fight about anything that seriously endangers the privileges of America’s new financial elites. Whether this duopoly will endure, and what to do about it, are perhaps the most important questions facing Americans. The current arrangement all but guarantees the continuing decline of the United States as a nation, and of the welfare of the bottom 90% of its citizens.




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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      Bitch bitch bitch. Until the minimum wage working class get’s a set of collective balls, NOTHING will happen other than get worse. The politicians don’t REALLY give a damn about the working class. They know how it works..

      http://www.popularresistance.org/money-talks-and-those-without-money-have-no-voice/

      The ONLY thing that EVER worked, was collective force by virtue of either anarchy or strikes. But most of this nation has been dumbed down to the point they have no courage any more. The only reason there was a middle class up until the 70’s was because of courage to join Unions and FIGHT. Problem is now though, is the militarized Stazi, and the surveillance state. Look what happened to Occupy. However, I still believe a nationwide strike can be effective. After all, the only thing the ruling class cares about is their bottom line. Collectively, that bottom line can be threatened. And so can politicians.

      I’m just glad I’m too old to see the day the whole kit and kibutal collapses into total anarchy. Because it IS coming. Piketty said so.

      06/24/14 11:20 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      2

      06/24/14 11:23 AM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...

      3

      Pitch,
      What don’t you get about all this?
      Maybe i’m confused , but our gov’t has eviscerated unions and collective bargaining,thereby insuring a sub minimum wage class in America. PVB is discussing the legit above board economy , but in my town there is a below the board, non SSA paying /cash on delivery labor market that is well used by almost all classes.Cash, no taxes, and these folks who do the working are usually on SSI. It’s a common hustle and it’s nod, nod, wink , wink.
      Nobody cares.
      How in the hell do these folks unionize?
      Now to PVB,
      You are a wonderful , empathetic writer, but you exist inside the system. The PWOT in Irq/AFGH has taught me one thing=whoever controls the under ground , smuggling culture ipso facto controls the country. The US shares this distinction in many ways, but we seldom discuss this fact.
      jim hruska

      06/24/14 1:41 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      4

      quote”What don’t you get about all this?”unquote

      Don’t get?

      quote”
      Maybe i’m confused , but our gov’t has eviscerated unions and collective bargaining,thereby insuring a sub minimum wage class in America”unquote

      Thank you for validating my point.

      sheeezus.

      06/24/14 2:00 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      5

      We’re all right, because we’re all equally f*cked.

      06/24/14 2:08 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      6

      06/24/14 2:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      “We’re all right, because we’re all equally f*cked.”

      No, WE are not all right. Some of US are ALWAYS WRONG.

      http://rt.com/usa/167912-ica-mi6-isis-iraq/

      06/24/14 6:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Steele’s criticisms of US intelligence excesses are beyond scathing – they are damning.

      “Most of what is produced through secret methods is not actually intelligence at all. It is simply secret information that is, most of the time, rather generic and therefore not actually very useful for making critical decisions at a government level. The National Security Agency has not prevented any terrorist incidents. CIA cannot even get the population of Syria correct and provides no intelligence – decision-support – to most cabinet secretaries, assistant secretaries, and department heads. Indeed General Tony Zinni, when he was commander in chief of the US Central Command as it was at war, is on record as saying that he received, ‘at best,’ a meagre 4% of what he needed to know from secret sources and methods.”

      06/24/14 6:33 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      9

      quote”I hope this day comes before I die.”unquote

      Holy mother of Open Source! that was fucking amazing. Thank god this guys first name wasn’t James as in..JAMES STEELE.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ca1HsC6MH0

      I almost had them confused. (insert rolling eyes smiley here)

      I hope this day comes before I die too. However..

      “No, WE are not all right. Some of US are ALWAYS WRONG.”quote..

      From the link….
      quote:”It fell on deaf ears': CIA and MI6 knew about ISIS assault in advance, failed to react..”unquote

      Well sooprise sooprise…, at least I WAS right this time:

      ME: quote from Peter’s previous subject post on the bombing Iraq:”I wouldn’t put it past the CIA having a part in this either.
      (snip)

      But that’s why I think the CIA is up to no good in this debacle.”

      The CIA didn’t “fail” to react. These scoundrels are up to something no good here. But here’s something even weirder. Look at the youtube page for James Steel I linked above. Down below the viewing screen is the date it was posted…

      Published on MARCH 8, 2013. That’s 2013!

      Now read the next text..

      quote:”As Isis closes in on Baghdad – find out how US funded torture centres helped fuel the sectarian war in Iraq.”unquote

      ummm..wait..wait..Isis. Closing in on Bagdad? In 2013?????????????

      Someone please..tell me what the fuck am I missing here??? Because SOMETHING is really fucked up here.

      06/24/14 7:54 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      10

      Here you go pitchfork said… 9
      Mike does a good job and yes about Steele

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/24/did-obama-know-that-isis-planned-to-invade-iraq/

      06/24/14 9:19 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      11

      Nevermind.. it finally dawned on me. The matrix exists. Lord, be it.

      06/24/14 10:26 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      12

      pitchfork said… 11

      Sadly true

      06/25/14 12:21 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      13

      Worship at the grate Phallus SVOBODA Tower above One World Slave Center’s 9/11 Mausoleum, here in the USchwitz Barackoons.

      06/25/14 10:51 PM | Comment Link

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