“Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour would injuect about $450 billion into the economy each year. That would give more purchasing power to millions of poor and lover-middle-class Americans, and would stimulate buying, production and hiring.”
If I offered you $4 to come to my house and make me dinner and wash my dishes afterwards, would you do it? Probably not. But that’s what a minimum wage worker at McDonald’s can do in a half hour.
What about $8 to come over and play with my kid and teach her to read and change her if she needs it and do all other assorted activities for an hour? Again, probably not. But that’s what a day care worker might do in an hour.
If I paid you $4, would you come over and make my bed and vaccume my room and do some of my laundry and clean my bathroom and pick up trash and dust? Probably not but that’s what a hotel maid might do in half an hour.
When you break it down into smaller increments it’s obvious that people need to be paid more, that the minium wage is pathetic.
The idea that you must “earn” your “living” and you die if you can not work is fundamentally immoral. The fundamentals for survival (housing, food, water, medical care) should be guaranteed by society.
In the 1970’s, minimum wage for unskilled labor for a 40 hour week allowed the employee to own a car, rent an apartment (without a roommate), pay their utilities, buy their groceries, go to concerts, purchase clothing, go out to dinner, take vacations, further their education and etc.
Why do people complain about “burger flippers” making $15?
Because, large corporations, while pocketing record profits, are now villainizing those same minimum wage workers, who’s labor and hard work earned them those profits.
By not paying a minimum wage that stays in step with the cost of living, the minimum wage workers continually get poorer, while the corporations get richer. They get away with it by convincing some that it’s those “lazy, uneducated minimum wage workers’ fault.
“[I]t is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.”
If you would go out of your way to argue how easy it is for capital to automate away jobs when labor costs become too high, then you should probably know that you’re giving all kinds of credibility to those of us who advocate fully-automated luxury communism. I mean, think about it: you’re arguing that so much of human labor ISN’T NECESSARY because said jobs can be done by machines, and yet you STILL want the bulk of humanity to pointlessly scrape by laboring for the capitalist class, receiving meager wages to buy the shit they helped generate in the first place. The above billboard is a THREAT. Let’s not mince words – that billboard is bourgeois propaganda designed to turn the working class against each other and against the broader goals of resource democratization. “If you fight for a basic livable wage, just know that you’re easily replaceable, peon!”
This is what leftists mean when they say that capitalism is an economic system filled to the brim with tensions and contradictions; it’s also what they mean when they say that capitalism inevitably produces its own gravediggers. Automation is one of those gravediggers, and it’s a major one at that. As more and more jobs become automated in the coming decades, the working class will face widespread dispossession, ramping up revolutionary class consciousness in the process. At that point, capitalism will either focus on generating more superfluous jobs for people to work or set about instituting a universal basic income – regardless, the point is to keep enough scraps flowing downward so that people don’t call for a broader system change. In this way, capitalism’s ruling class can maintain control over the wealth-producing means of production and imperialist capital accumulation can continue unrestrained.
For these reasons, “more jobs” and universal basic incomes are not enough. We need to democratize the broader social infrastructure and eliminate the profit system. If you recognize how possible it is to automate away human labor, then you should defenestrate yourself out of the Overton Window and use some political imagination – cut out the unnecessary jobs, automate all the labor you can, produce for human need rather than elite profit, and you end up with drastically reduced working hours and bountiful leisure time. This is the essence of fully-automated luxury communism – the natural conclusion of the conditions that capitalism set in motion.
Be wary of automation in the present climate, but always trace it back to the class struggle. Robots taking our jobs SHOULD be cause for celebration; why should we treat these potential liberators as harbingers of dispossession? Technological advancements are pushing us exponentially towards a de facto post-scarcity world, where everyone’s needs can be comfortably met alongside their desires for community and leisure and entertainment, and yet we’re held back by Empire’s insistence on keeping the means of production hoarded under the command of a superfluous ruling class. As long as we are divided into capitalists and workers, humanity will never know full liberation.
1. Eliminating the Income Tax Would Stop Outsourcing.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee criticized outsourcing practices that have eliminated much of America’s industrial base. But his solution was bizarre; he promoted the FairTax, which would eliminate the income tax and place a large sales tax on all purchases. The number one reason companies outsource is for wage costs, not taxes. It’s unclear why Huckabee thinks spiking the costs of all purchases, which is what a national sales tax would do, would impact their behavior.
2. Fantasy Tax Rates.
Governor Chris Christie claimed that the Democrats plan to raise tax rates to 70 to 80 percent. Yet no one running on the presidential ticket or in Congress has proposed such a plan.
3. We Don’t Give People Reason to Marry.
Rick Santorum said we have incentivized people to “cohabitate” and not get married. In reality, there are between several hundred to a thousand legal rights and even some tax incentives for people who get married.
4. Obscuring Louisiana’s High Unemployment.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says there are a record number of Louisianans working. This is technically true; however, it obscures the fact that the number is largely a function of changing population; the unemployment rate is still higher than the national one, and persistently higher than where it was pre-recession.
5. Only America Is Dealing With Syrian Refugees.
Huckabee claimed that America is the only county being asked to deal with the refugee issue, ignoring the millions of refugees in countries neighboring Syria and the hundreds of thousands in Europe.
6. Islamic Terrorism is the Nation’s Top Threat.
Jeb Bush named Muslim terrorists as our biggest challenge. In fact, terrorism kills very few Americans; dog bites are a bigger threat to public safety.
7. Christians Are Beheaded…In Lebanon.
Bush also claimed that Christians are being beheaded in Lebanon. Lebanon is actually one of the countries in the region where Christians are best integrated into society and government.
8. Flip-Flopping on the Minimum Wage.
In a move that moderators failed to call him on, Ben Carson said he is opposed to raising the minimum wage, claiming it would harm workers (which is false). But Carson has supported raising the wage for months. It appears he decided to change his mind and pretend he never supported doing so.
9. Telling People the TPP Includes China.
Donald Trump said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to have “China come through the back door.” China isn’t even part of the TPP, as even Rand Paul seemed to know.
10. Inflating the Number of Much-Maligned Philosophy Majors.
Senator Marco Rubio implied that too many kids are studying philosophy and not enough are studying welding. As the Atlantic’s David Graham noted, there are “23,210 philosophers in the U.S. And 357,400 welders.”
To the capitalist, every luxury of the worker seems to be reprehensible, and everything that goes beyond the most abstract need – be it in the realm of passive enjoyment, or a manifestation of activity – seems to him a luxury.
Offended by companies that don’t pay their workers a living wage? Maybe
you shouldn’t take an Uber home from the bars tonight, then.
Michael Hood has been driving for Uber in Forsyth County since
September 2015. According to a recently filed class action lawsuit in
the Middle District of North Carolina, he drives, on average, fifty
hours a week, and often over sixty hours a week. All those hours — Hood
must really be stackin’ that cheddar, huh?
Nope. Factoring in Uber’s cut of every ride (it takes 20 percent) and
his weekly expenses, which average around $200 (gas, repairs, lease
payments, insurance), Hood makes less than North Carolina minimum wage.
Here are a few sample weeks of how his compensation breaks out,
according to the suit.
Week of April 25, 2016: Hours worked: 65.44 Total compensation: $513.14 Expenses: $200 Hourly wage: $4.78/hour
Week of December 28, 2015: Hours worked: 79.62 Total compensation: $721.67 Expenses: $200 Hourly wage: $6.55/hour
Week of December 14, 2015: Hours worked: 56.84 Total compensation: $311.07 Expenses: $200 Holy shit: $1.95/hour
Hood, according to the suit, makes an average of $6 an hour as an Uber
driver. Uber, of course, is not technically violating minimum wage laws
because Hood, and every other driver for the company, is an independent
The suit notes that, although there are no available numbers on how
much Uber saves by not reimbursing drivers’ on-the-job expenses in North
Carolina, the company has saved as much as $730 million since 2009 by not reimbursing those expenses in California and Massachusetts.
Hood’s suit also alleges that Uber misrepresents to both the public
and to its drivers how drivers are compensated so that it can keep more
of the profits. “Uber markets its rides as gratuity-included, but Uber
does not remit the gratuity (or an amount in-kind) to Uber drivers,” the
suit reads. “Uber effectively takes the tips.”
Uber, a company recently valued at $68 billion, has long argued that
it is a partner, not an employer, of its drivers. Hood’s suit lays out
an exhaustive argument for why this claim is misleading. A brief
snippet: “Uber exercises near total control over the means and method of
his work. For example, Uber controls the terms and conditions of
employment from what to wear to what route to take, to setting customer
fares and Uber’s fee. Uber has the authority to hire, fire, and
discipline Uber drivers.”
Hood is seeking compensatory damages and an injunction against Uber
that would prohibit the company from continuing these practices: “[Hood]
and the class he seeks to represent are owed fundamental wage
protections that federal law and North Carolina wage and hour laws
afford other North Carolina employees.”
Hood’s attorney declined to comment. Uber has not responded to a request for comment.