The vote to raise minimum wage to $10.10 was declined today. The part of me that has been through the gully is really pissed off by this. Most folks working minimum wage are scraping by. Think about it: $7.25 at full time is $290 a week gross. That’s not a lot of money at all. Even a young man or woman just starting out can’t make it on that today.
In 1993, minimum wage was $4.25. With inflation today’s minimum wage is the equivalent of $4.87. See it here. It’s truly pathetic.
But here’s the kicker… my cynical side… the side that sees how corporations treat employees and know that their ultimate responsibility is to turn a profit for the shareholder, believes that raising minimum wage to $10.10 would only cause a corporate backlash leaving us worse off in the long run. Corporations would find a way to make up that $114 per week by further streamlining business processes and “doing more with less”. Which in turn would lead to an even more competitive job market requiring more specialized skills for unskilled laborers. Or the fry guy does burger flipping now too. Practically: In-n-Out would have a work force cut in half and still somehow maintain maximum output.
To sum it up, how do I feel about the vote? I’m pissed about it. At the same time, I think where we are is better than nothing. The middle class is diminishing. The politicians always get their pay raise. The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. And Americans are distracted enough by Facebook and CNN’s shit news about Donald Sterling’s “archiver’s” Instagram coverage to be able to slough it off with another drink and status update.
It’s discouraging. I’d like to believe that our politicians truly care about this country. I’d like to. But I think more and more that they are only interested in what’s best for them rather than those that put them in office. After all, they never have a problem getting their own raises approved.