Friday, January 17, 2014

Large Corporations That Pay Minimum Wage Are Immoral, Even Evil

I'm not.

If you think for a moment about the relationship between large -- especially multinational -- corporations and setting wages at or near the minimum wage, the statement that they're immoral, even evil institutions is not an overheated declaration. Let's look at it.
  1. The minimum wage, as everyone knows, barely gets an employee above the poverty line, so much so that many qualify for a variety of welfare payments, whether it's food stamps, Medicaid (or various support levels of Obamacare), WIC, earned income tax credit, and so on.
  2. Corporations that pay at or near the minimum wage, therefore, are using taxpayer money to subsidize their operations. We, the American people, in effect, are picking up the tab, in large part, for the labor costs of these mega-corporations.
  3. Exacerbating these low wages is the common practice of scheduling workers for less than 40-hour work weeks, with 30 or fewer hours per week available to many employees. This is often to avoid the number of workers who qualify for benefits. These people, then, qualify for higher levels of welfare and, quite often, for full Medicaid coverage. This has the effect of raising the amount of corporate labor costs that are passed on to American taxpayers.
  4. Another common practice is for corporations like Wal-mart to outsource portions of their labor force to temp or other kinds of agencies. Walmart does this especially at their (wholly-owned) product warehouses. These workers are at the mercy of agencies that provide no benefits even to full-time workers. They are often subject to all kinds of workplace violations, from unpaid overtime to outright wage theft. Walmart turns a blind eye to these practices, pretending that the warehouse system is not actually their own.
  5. These corporations spend millions of dollars each year lobbying Congress against raising the minimum wage and for lowering corporate tax rates.
  6. Finally, consider this: Raising the minimum wage to a living would lower welfare costs and increase tax revenues as higher wages begin to require workers to actually pay taxes, having a positive impact on the federal deficit. What a concept! (Sounds conservative to me.)
Why do the American people tolerate this? Believe it or not, I feel that they tolerate it because a great number of Americans have a conscious or unconscious contempt for low-wage workers. It's their own fault they haven't moved up the ladder. If you don't like it, get a better job, loser! The trouble is, of course, that those better jobs just aren't there.

What's with this "Live better."? Who? How? Certainly not
their workers. I get the "Save money" part. So does Walmart...

  1. profoundly immoral and malevolent.
         "his evil deeds"
          wicked, bad, wrong, immoral, sinful, foul, vile, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous, depraved, reprobate, villainous, nefarious, vicious, malicious.

Here's something to think about: Banks often pay at or near minimum wage levels for entry-level cashiers. This practice doesn't carry over to Wall Street operations, however. This is only for Main Street, you know the Average Joes and Janes. Righteous!

By the way, if you listened to that NPR story, you caught Robert Siegel making a grievous error when he implied that ATMs have cut into the number of tellers needed and thus must have some impact on tellers' wages. WTF? A necessary job is a necessary job, whether the number of these jobs have declined. I'm surprised at Siegel, but even at the so-called "liberal" NPR apparent disinterest in the plight of marginal workers is possible if not endemic, even if unconscious. Sheesh.

I guess losing the bars is progress, but losing a living wage is not.

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