We are told CEOs are paid what the market will bear. After all, you should never mess with that invisible hand. Because, if you spend too much time looking into this, maybe you might learn the people at the top have been selling you a nice polished turd.
On September 5th, Walmart workers around the country rallied for better wages, benefits and a little thing called respect. The rally in Raleigh, North Carolina had a special flare with a well-coordinated and peaceful flash mob assembly. Walmart is the biggest employer in America with over one million workers. With that many employers, Walmart can only get away with their labor practices for so long. Eventually the people will fight back. This flash mob is likely only the beginning.
Minimum wage is a wedge issue. But it’s not the usual wedge issue that pits left vs. right, liberals vs. conservatives. Just about everyone on the left is on board with increasing the minimum wage. The wedge is between working-class Republicans and wealthy corporate elitist Republicans.
We know corporate profits are hitting all-time highs, yet here we are having a debate with the protectors of corporate wealth over raising the minimum wage. I feel like responding to these people like Neo responded to Agent Smith in The Matrix. “Yeah, well that sounds like a really good deal. But I think I’ve got a better one. How about…I give you the finger, and you give us a fair wage.” — Wait, I’m getting reports that I might not have gotten that exactly right. Seems I was off a smidgen. Maybe “the finger” part. Two fingers?
America is exceptional all right, its exceptionally jaded, exceptionally cynical, exceptionally resentful, and exceptionally callous. We are so judgmental of others, so righteous of our own strengths, so high on our own self-worth, we believe we need to be exceptionally tough when it comes to anyone who does not measure up. And nowhere is this more true than America’s “tough on crime” stance. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have laws. I’m not saying criminals shouldn’t go to jail. What I’m saying is we need to take it down a notch or two or a thousand. And we need to stop taking discretion away from judges and juries with “mandatory minimums” and other similar legislative “solutions” to crime.
The Social Security Administration computes an annual “Average Wage Index” to ensure a “worker’s future benefits reflect the general rise in the standard of living that occurred during his or her working lifetime.” This index is based on “wages subject to Federal income taxes and contributions to deferred compensation plans.”
I have a secret to reveal. I used to regularly shop at Walmart. I live in the outer stretches of Philadelphia’s western suburbs, and Walmart happened to be the closest place to go food shopping. I was never enthusiastic about shopping at Walmart, and as my social and political views evolved, I grew even more uneasy with contributing my money to a company in opposition to my values. So nearly three years ago I stopped food shopping at Walmart, and in fact, I don’t think I’ve stepped foot inside a Walmart since then.
We already know the Republican narrative of “too much government regulation” and “a president that is hostile towards business and capitalism” is nonsense, but now we have even more evidence that Republicans are full of shit.