To: All you folks “striking” for a $15/hour minimum wage
From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant
Re: Money from nothing
Today, you’ll be out and about around dozens of McDonalds, Taco Bells, WalMart and other low-wage employers.
I saw one of you on “Today” this morning; a cute, blonde, twenty-something single mother (what else?) and front-counter worker who notes for the camera that sometimes she has to choose between work clothes and bus fare.
I feel for you. I do. Twenty-odd years ago, I was in my twenties, had a couple of kids and a $7/hour job. It was hard making ends meet. Really, really hard.
Of course, it was hard because of choices I’d made, not my diabolical employers. I’d devoted myself to my first career – radio, which paid really badly, too - with a monastic intensity. That career crashed – and it took me a few years to realize it.
And after a year of floundering, I got the aforementioned $7/hour crummy job.
Where I learned a couple of things; how to work in an office. How to use a computer (that wasn’t something people were born doing back then). How to work days instead of nights.
I had made a few good choices, of course; when I was a teenager, I’d stayed in school and learned a few useful things, and kept it in my pants long enough to get through college (with a BA in English, which was no more a ticket to wealth then than it is today).
Point being, that lousy $7/hour job was how I found my next job for $9/hour. And thence got into technical writing. And then into the career I have.
And if that $7/hour job had gone away because legal document coders had decided to strike for $12 an hour, causing most of the crummy entry level jobs to be eliminated, where would I be today?
The same place you’ll be if they double the minimum wage for working the counter.
By the way, the woman on “Today” also parroted the same thing I’ve heard from ostensibly smarter liberals: without workers, there’d be no business.
That’s 180 degrees wrong, of course; without the business, there’d be no jobs. Don’t believe me? Let’s try a quick thought experiment. Find a vacant lot somewhere. Put on a fast food uniform, and stand there saying “May I help you?” Wait – where’s the burgers? Where are the customers? Where’s the counter and the till? Where’s the building?
What? The SEIU goons behind the “strikes” never mentioned this?