Apr. 5, 2013

Low Wage Earning: Our S**t is Effed

Americans LOVE fast foods. Micky D's, Burger King, KFC, Papa Johns..You name it, people go there and a lot of our fellow citizens with advanced degrees from our major universities work there for $7.25 an hour ($15K-per-year).

The Sequester that our government just let happen is going to cost our fellow citizens 750,000 MORE jobs.

On "Mainstreet": The results of the March Jobs Report are in and our shit is fucked! 496,000 former workers left the job force because they couldn't find work, etc...Unemployment is down to 7.6, but that number is misleading because the number of people eligible to be working or looking for work dropped to 63.3%, the lowest since 1979.

Meanwhile on "Wall Street": Stocks are back UP to pre-crash numbers. I have been watching the Dow Jones soar SINCE the election. It has steadily gone up.

What does that tell us?

Well...Non-farm payrolls have gone up half a million jobs since January 1, 2013. There are plenty of former executives and college graduates working at Burger King, McDonalds and KFC at minimum wage. The average age of a fast food worker is men (28yo) and women (32yo). 

The retail sector lost almost 25,000 jobs, possibly an effect of the payroll-tax hike that was part of the "fiscal cliff" settlement at the beginning of the year.

On Thursday April 4, 2013 many east coast fast food workers risked getting fired by going out on strike to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

We need solutions. 

Okay, let's start with a company like Yum Yum Corporation. They OWN the franchises of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza hut. They franchise their stores to smaller groups of people all over the country and world who own these franchised stores. So each store is owned by a mom and pop or investment partners. These OWNERS pay their staff as little as possible. Most employees are minimum wage earners ($7.25-per hour). The MAIN company is off the hook, because while the menus are set at "Franchise Prices" and the parent company reaps huge profits, the smaller franchised stores may not make as much so the labor force pays the price.

The average MW worker makes $15,000 per year. If they are paying $12,000 in rent, their shit is fucked. They must have a second MW job just to have pocket money.

My solution is two-fold, raise the minimum wage by $2.00 AND incentivize these BIGGER PARENT COMPANIES with nice tax breaks to offset a $1-per hour pay raise accross the board. If the parent company kicks in $1-per hour and the government does the right thing and help these people get caught up with cost of living in America, then our society will be adjusting to the fact that MANY more people are shifting towards these unsourceable low wage earning jobs that are now the new normal in America.

For my right wing alarmists, please note that The Fed has been trying to stimulate the economy, buying $85 billion in bonds each month to lower the longer-term interest rates. They will continue this practice until it sees substantial improvement in the labor market.

My solutions are not perfect. They are just a starting point for dinner table discussions. I'd love to hear people in Washington have this discussion in a real way. They will be forced to if this movement gains any traction. Many low wage earning jobs are at fast food places that cannot be outsourced to China or Taiwan. These jobs are in YOUR local neighborhoods. These workers are paid $7.25 and are burning out, leaving the workforce and whittling the middle class even lower and lower on a daily basis.

Something to think about.