Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 23
"Forty years ago, a waitress could afford college. A school teacher could support a family of four on one income. A bank teller could own a home.

None of that is possible today. People are worn down. They call it lazy and asking for handouts, when all we’re asking for is something worth working for, and a fair opportunity to succeed and lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Enough is enough."

This is a truth the Republicans simply refuse to acknowledge. The gap between the employer and the employee has become so wide that the ability of ordinary workers in ordinary jobs to support their families on a single paycheck has absolutely disappeared in any but the most white-collar of jobs.

A living wage is not a "handout," and when families have almost no time in life to live -- no time for anything other than work, these are not "jobs." It's indentured servitude. It is the employer agreeing only to provide enough out of the wealth produced by their workers to keep the workers alive and producing -- but not enough to have lives beyond that. Wages have long since stopped having any real relationship to the value the labor they supposedly are meant to represent. Virtually all of the wealth produced goes to the capital of the owner(s), and the barest minimum to the labor without which the capital would be useless.

This has always been a feature of capitalism, not a bug -- and the only protection against this informal system of indentured servitude is government stepping in between the employer and his employees and imposing rules about how much blood and sweat the employer can actually demand for the employee's right to merely survive.

Raise the freaking minimum wage, Congress! If you make a profit and pay your employees more than subsistence pay, they you don't deserve to run a business. The world doesn't need more billionaires. It needs more workers who don't need charity because their jobs pay enough to ensure a decent, productive life, with adequate leisure time, adequate health care, adequate compensation for the value they provide to both capital and society at large with their labor.

The problem with capitalism, unchecked, isn't that it fails to produce the best goods and services -- though it often does fail to produce real value for customers (another feature of the built-in role of greed in the system), but, even more -- that it lacks a truly moral means by which to distribute the wealth produced. It gives all the power to capital, and virtually none to labor. Hunger becomes the prime motivator for one class and selfishness the prime motivator for the other. It's purely immoral, and we've been pretending for far too long that because capitalism is pretty good at producing, it doesn't really matter that it sucks at distribution -- that some of the wealth, at least, will "trickle down," to use that horrific image of true greed, to those "below." Enough, at least, to keep body and soul together long enough to provide profits for their masters.

The moment your money is bringing in more income than your labor, and you still own a "business" (or are invested in one) you've effectively become a slave-owner. That includes myself -- and all of us operating in a system designed to produce exactly this imbalance of power.

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.