It’s not complicated. Every retailer, restaurant, and corporation in America can do what Costco is doing, but they don’t.
Why is that?
I think it’s because the people who own and run these businesses refuse to look beyond next quarter’s financial statements. Their thought processes, their vision, and their values don’t include ways to share their wealth with their workers.
They are greedy, selfish, sons-of-bitches who want us to think that’s just how capitalism works.
That also seems to be how today’s conservatives who are outside the 1% think, too. What other explanation can there be for why they think they are Republicans?
Costco clearly has leaders, a board of directors, and shareholders who are visionary and courageous enough to implement ethical and moral business strategies that are profitable AND which include a more equitable distribution of those profits to workers in the form of livable wages.
Contrast that with the lies we’re told by Wall Street, by Big Business shills like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and the National Federation of Independent Business, by libertarian mythologists like Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, and by Republican politicians who keep claiming that trickle-down economics works, that we should abolish a minimum wage and leave compensation to market forces, and that government interference and over-reach are stifling business and our economy.
How is it that conservatives don’t get that all of that is, of course, complete and total bullshit?
How is it that conservatives who make less than $340,000.00 – what it takes to be in the 1% – insist on voting for Republicans and their failed policies which have ALWAYS been designed to benefit the rich and powerful first and foremost?
We need leaders like Bernie Sanders who welcome the hatred of Wall Street and Big Money.
We need people like Lawrence Lessig as politicians who represent us and who are willing and eager to confront Big Money for their lies and their failures.
As individuals, we also must welcome the hatred of the rich and powerful. We need to find the courage to band together. We need to shine light on the fact that conservatism and Republican policy is to blame for where we are now as a nation and as a society.
More than anything, we liberals need to stop surrendering to the all-too-common liberal weakness of always wanting to find compromise.
No more compromises. It’s how we got to this sorry state of affairs. We let conservatives move the center further and further to the right by acquiescing to their demands and our own desire to avoid confrontation and conflict.
Liberals didn’t elect Reagan and two Bushes. Liberals didn’t cause banks to fail. Liberals didn’t demand that government shrink and corporations become less and less regulated. Liberals didn’t funnel all of the recovery and wealth to only the absolute richest among us.
We liberals need to continue to point out these and all the inconvenient truths that stem from conservatism (and its absurdly juvenile and greed-driven stepbrother, libetarianism).
Our fellow citizens who self-identify as conservatives need to hear from us whether they want to or not. They need to hear the truth; that they are also part of the ever-shrinking middle class and the ever-growing class of working poor.
They need to hear from us liberals that they are wrong – plain and dead wrong – for voting for ANY Republican anywhere and at any level of government.
They need to keep hearing it. Conservative (and much of libertarian) ideology that informs and drives Republican policies have unequivocally been proven to be dead wrong for everyone on every issue, and that includes economic issues. That is true, of course, for everyone except for the rich and powerful.
It’s pretty simple and absolutely obvious. The GOP is the party of big business and the rich.
For those who are tempted to trot out the b.s. false equivalence that, “Both parties are the same,” save it. As far as I’m concerned, you’re second in line as the greatest obstacle to making real progress in this country. You give Republicans cover, and you need to stop it.
Number one on the list of obstacles are actually those Americans living in households with adjusted gross incomes of less than $340,000.00 per year who insist that they are Republicans and who vote for Republicans. I have news for them. They are not in the 1%. The conservatives in the 99% mean precisely nothing to Republicans except as useful fools who can be counted on to vote for them.
It’s absolutely stunning that conservatives aren’t banding together with the rest of us in the middle class in support of organized labor. History proves that stronger unions are the path to better and higher standards of living for everyone.
It bears repeating.
If you make less than 340-grand and think unions are somehow the problem and Republicans are the answer, then you not only don’t understand reality, you’re the biggest obstacle to prosperity we have right now in America.
So, how about it, conservatives?
How about you wake up and stop voting against yourselves and the rest of us?
You’ll thank yourself and, more importantly, so will future generations.
Instead of suggesting that the fast food or retail or any other worker would be OVERPAID at 15, why aren’t EMTs, tree climbers, and construction laborers protesting WITH their fellow UNDERPAID workers?
Someone I know from central PA is making that case against fast food workers.
It’s the same strange and illogical argument I’m seeing only in conservative circles.
The case they’re making is this; somehow increasing wages for fast food workers is wrong because people like EMTs, tree climbers, construction workers, and trained chefs don’t make $15/hour.
I don’t get that logic.
How does holding down or fighting against increases in fast food wages HELP these other workers?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 122 occupations in the York-Hanover area paying a median hourly wage of less than 15 bucks an hour. The list includes people doing all kinds of work vital to our society. People like farmworkers, childcare, tire changers, home health aides, butchers, mental health and substance abuse social workers, ophthalmic lab techs, substitute teachers, and EMTs.
If everyone working in these 122 occupations in that market alone joined forces, they would be unstoppable. In York-Hanover, they represent 656 out of every 1,000 jobs.
Nationwide, there are 330 occupations listed by the BLS with a median hourly wage of $15/hour or less.
Now imagine the possibilities for a better standard of living for everyone – including you poor and middle class conservatives – if you joined forces with every other worker in America and protested together instead of against one another.
I stand with them. All of them. We all should.
Now, I don’t eat fast food, so I honestly don’t care if the price of a Big Mac goes up. I do, however, care about my fellow citizens outside the wealthy 2-percenters.
I also care a great deal about the quality of home care my fellow citizens receive, but let’s talk fast food.
First, it’s an asinine and patently wrong argument (look it up) that higher minimum wages will mean fewer workers. That’s a lie perpetrated by the wealthy who are too greedy to pay workers a living wage.
They also know they can count on Fox to whip the old folks into a lather so that they’ll go forth into the world repeating this lie as if they cared one whit for the working poor. They don’t.
As for the business and economics of this, stop and think about it.
It’s been a long time for me, but when was the last time you were in a fast food restaurant or drive-through and thought to yourself, “You know, this place is so fast and so over-staffed they could get rid of half of these workers and it would still be fast, fast, fast!!”
Companies and franchise owners aren’t stupid. They know the main reason people buy their food is convenience.
They also know that if they aren’t willing to take a little less profit; if they jack up the prices too high AND cut staff; they know you’re not going to be very happy. You’ll probably come in less frequently.
They’re also smart enough to know that, sooner or later, enough Americans are going to catch on to the fact that we’re subsidizing their profits with our tax dollars to pay for social safety net programs that their workers need just to survive.
No one – NO ONE!!! – can live on 15-grand a year. You people out there railing against a minimum wage turning into a living wage should try making your ends meet at 7 or 8 or 9 bucks an hour. Oh, and try to get a job and those wages where you’re “lucky” enough to get 40 HOURS PER WEEK FOR 52 WEEKS A YEAR!!!
Don’t even get me started on home care workers. Do we really want to live in a society where the people coming into our homes or our parents’ homes or the homes of our friends and family and neighbors to care for us are among the LOWEST paid workers in America?
It’s math, people. All we need to do is to do the math.
One other thing: stop voting for Republicans. All Republicans, everywhere.
They are a party whose ideology is anti-worker, anti-middle class, and anti-minimum/living wage.
It’s time for centrists, liberals, progressives, AND right-minded and intelligent conservatives to punish the GOP for their extremists ideology in the only way that matters – by voting against them.
Trickle-down economics is a lie. The Invisible Hand is a myth. Tax cuts for the wealthy never created a single job.
This country had its Golden Age when unions were strong, when the middle class was thriving and growing, and when the rich and the corporations paid more – much more – in taxes.
Tax cuts for the rich and deregulation is what killed this economy. It sure as hell wasn’t the poor and middle class who did all that damage. Any sane, rational, and intelligent person can see that.
So, if you’re not among the richest 2 percent in this country and you’re still voting for any Republican anywhere, you’re actually the problem. You’re not only voting against your own economic self-interest, you’re voting against all the rest of us outside that 2%.
How about you come to your senses and stop doing that?
Published on Aug 29, 2013
Robert Reich, the Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and the subject of the upcoming documentary “Inequality for All,” shares a Labor Day message about how we can do better by workers. In the video, he announces a petition campaign to pressure McDonald’s’ and Walmart’s CEOs to pay their workers a fair wage of $15/hour.
Celebrate labor on Labor Day and everyday. It’s time more of us stood up for labor and stopped allowing the lie of trickle down economics to go unchallenged.
It was labor and the middle class who made this country great. It was not capital, it was not Wall Street and it was not and never will be the wealthy. They are nothing without the rest of us.