My first real job was working maintenance at a department store. I was 15 (yes, I lied about my age; you could do that back then). My job was to clean toilets, crush boxes, pick pins out of the dressing room closets, wax the floors in the china shop, vacuum the place, and shine the glass.
It was a great job. I mean, truly great. I loved it because it was a hugely important job. If I didn’t clean the bathrooms well and replenish the toilet paper and towels, customers the next day might be grossed out and never come back. I played a big role in ensuring the profitability of this store.
I especially loved my co-worker. His name was Tad. The department store would close, leaving just the two of us to have so much fun doing all this wonderful work. We would sing together, thrill to the danger of the wax machine, gross out at the mucky bathrooms, and just have that wonderful feeling that comes with having a real work partner.
You see, Tad was not a normal kid. He had some physical deformities. His face was oddly shaped and had what looked like a large stain on half of it. He couldn’t move around that well, really. I had to help him and assign tasks carefully. He was also mentally retarded. He spoke in a muffled way, and you had to be very clear about instructions.
But I tell you what, when he was happy, it made me happy. To see that big smile come across his face when I would praise the way he shined up a counter just gave me a huge lift.
One day, a poster appeared in the workroom. It was from the Department of Labor. The minimum wage was going up by 50 cents. Tad pointed the sign out to me. He said, “Look, we are getting a raise!” I was a bit suspicious. I was pretty sure that the boss was the one who set the wage, not some weird distant government thing. I didn’t quite believe it was true. Still, I was happy that he was happy.
The next day, I showed up at the usual time after school. I was getting the mop ready, running hot water in the pail and prepared to do the thing. Tad wasn’t there. I asked the boss, “Where’s Tad today?”
Well, he explained that he had hired Tad only because he was a boy he knew from church. He needed work. He knew that he would require a lot of help, which was one reason he was excited that I was able to work with him. In the end, he said, this was charity, because he knew that I could do the job by myself. It worked for us to be together so long as he could afford it, but this new minimum wage changed things. The store’s profit margins were very thin, and he had to make a hard decision.
The long and short of it: Tad had to be let go.
I was devastated. I stared at the Department of Labor sign again. Cursed thing! That sign just ruined a kid’s life. It stopped a great act of charity. And look what it did to me. I now had to work alone.
Management left, the lights dimmed, and I heard the familiar click of the doors leading to the outside. I would have to clean alone today. I did all the tasks I had to. But there was no more music, no more laughter, no more clowning around, and no more beautiful smiles. Tad was somewhere else, probably at home, confused and sad.
He died a few years later.
This is what the minimum wage means to me. So you can say that I have a vendetta. When the president announces that he is raising wages to make everyone better off, I can’t help but think of the millions of Tads that will lose that opportunity to do wonderful things in this world and with their lives.
Unsurprisingly, a Wall Street Journal opinion writer thinks poor people don’t need a raise. He says that if you factor in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), *technically* poor people are already making $9 an hour.
When you’re poor, you can’t pay the electric company by saying, “Well, in April of next year I’ll get a sweet tax return check!” When you are poor, you need money up front, in your bank account, every two weeks. The phrase “living paycheck to paycheck” comes to mind. When you’re not poor, it’s easy to wait a few months for the government to pay you back for the money they borrowed. A few thousand bucks at tax return time? Sweet. But poor people don’t have the luxury of waiting for a once-yearly bump to their income.
Poor people do not necessarily have access to someone who can do their taxes. If you’re rich, you can pay a high-level tax professional to comb over your receipts and help you write off $77,000 in horse expenses (remember Mitt Romney, guys? He got $77k in tax breaks for his wife’s horse. True story). That tax person can also show you how to put your money into bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands so that you don’t have to pay taxes on it at all. America!
But these tax guys charge a lot. Last year, my boss’s sister (an accountant) did my taxes for me, and at the “family and friends” rate, I still paid over $100. Poor families cannot afford $100 to *possibly* find more tax breaks they’re entitled to. I’m going to have to plead ignorance on one point: I do not know if the 1040 EZ includes the EITC, or if you have to file differently to get it. Google is pulling up lots of documentation on taxes that I can barely comprehend. (ETA: Readers have helpfully pointed out that if you file the 1040EZ with Turbotax, you can apply for the EITC. But there are a lot of exceptions - you can’t get it if anyone else lists you as a dependent, for instance. Basically, it’s not an automatic part of your tax return; it’s something you have to know about when you file your taxes.) But the point still stands that many poor people miss out on tax breaks because they don’t know about them. That was the one - ONE - advantage of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan: it would have simplified the tax code. Right now, tax knowledge is a real ivory tower thing. Saying “But poor people already get a tax credit that increases their yearly salary” is ignorant of that fact.
Fuck you, buddy. Just fuck you. Fuck you and your “well technically poor people are already coddled with $9 an hour salaries!” bullshit. Fuck you and your tax code shit. People deserve $9 an hour. Maybe more than that. $9 an hour per paycheck, not per year. Fuck you.
number 1 is a legitimate point, since many of the impoverished are fending off homelessness at any given time. however, it’s not anyone else’s fault but yours for not knowing about the tax code of the country that you live in. i think it’s big, dumb, monolithic and should absolutely be simplified, but that doesn’t keep me from finding out as much as i can about doing it around april. (3) the internet is a wonderful invention. use it.
(2) the author definitely wasn’t arguing that poor people are being “coddled” as you pompously said. he was arguing that an overall increase in the minimum wage would cost jobs, since a higher price for anything, including labor, decreases demand. lrn2econ
(1) Lol @ dumb liberals on tumblr thinking they know more about economics than a writer for the Wall Street Journal.
I want to respond to a few points here, so I put bolded numbers in parentheses so you know what I’m referring to.
(1) Wait wait wait. Back up. That thing you just said there? About the audacity of questioning a journalist? That is fucking scary. Do you seriously believe everything you read on the internet that’s published by a newspaper site? Do you really think journalists are never wrong? Biased? You really believe that critically examining an opinion piece (it was an opinion piece, not an article) is laughable? Do you know what the fuck media criticism is? Do you even care?
And he’s wrong - factually, actually wrong - that the EITC is the same as a pay increase for all minimum wage workers. Because the EITC doesn’t apply to people under 25, people who make a certain amount of income (even if they make minimum wage), people who are claimed as dependents, and other exceptions. So to say “we don’t need to increase the minimum wage because the EITC takes care of all poor people” is just wrong.
But really. The fact that you think people shouldn’t dare to criticize the media is frightening to me.
(2) No, the author argued that the minimum wage was already $9 an hour, so we don’t need to increase it. See also: the title of the piece. I interpreted him saying “the government already makes it so people get paid $9/hour” as “we already coddle the poor by paying them $9/hour.” Not much of a stretch. lrn2read plz.
(3) I said I googled. I couldn’t find the answer, so I asked my readers, who helpfully gave me the answer. lrn2read mebbe?
I still have yet to hear from a single conservative/libertarian/economics expert on Tumblr why increasing the minimum wage is a bad thing. I keep citing sources and studies and they keep saying “lol you don’t get economics!” K guys. Teach me. I’m waiting.
I’m sure you are well versed in economics enough to know why it does and does not work (given the laws of supply and demand). But if you must, I could advise this: http://epionline.org/study_detail.cfm?sid=137
Perhaps, I would also suggest Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, both economic distinguished professors, on the discriminatory effects of the minimal wage.
However, given the partisan nature of this discussion, you can take it as you wish. Pick as you choose.
"The Klan would drive through our neighborhood shooting at us, shooting into our homes, and the police wouldn’t help. The black men in the community wouldn’t stand for it. You shoot at us, we shoot back at you. I’m convinced that without our guns, my family and many other black people would not be alive today."
-the late Robert Hicks, a former civil rights leader and activist in the Louisiana chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice
1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day.
2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 toSt. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.
4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target +Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world’s largest private employer, and most speak English.
6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.
7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only fifteen years.
8. During this same period, 31 big supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.
9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.
10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had five years ago.
11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at Wal-Mart stores. (Earth’s population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)
12. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart.
You may think that I am complaining, but I am really laying the ground work for suggesting that MAYBE we should hire the guys who run Wal-Mart to fix the economy.
This should be read and understood by all Americans… Democrats, Republicans, EVERYONE!!
To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature
It is now official that the majority of you are corrupt morons:
a.. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 237 years to get it right and it is broke.
b.. Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 77 years to get it right and it is broke.
c.. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
d.. War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 48 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor” and they only want more.
e.. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 47 years to get it right and they are broke.
f.. Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 42 years to get it right and it is broke.
g.. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 35 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.
You have FAILED in every “government service” you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.
AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM??
Folks, keep this circulating. It is very well stated. Maybe it will end up in the e-mails of some of our “duly elected’ (they never read anything) and their staff will clue them in on how Americans feel.
I know what’s wrong. We have lost our minds to “Political Correctness” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone please tell me what the HELL’s wrong with all the people that run this country!!!!!! We’re “broke” & can’t help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless etc.,??????????? In the last months we have provided aid to Haiti , Chile , and Turkey ..And now Pakistan ……..previous home of bin Laden. Literally, BILLIONS of DOLLARS!!!
Our retired seniors living on a ‘fixed income’ receive no aid nor do they get any breaks…
AMERICA: a country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without ‘needed’ meds, and mentally ill without treatment -etc, etc.
Imagine if the *GOVERNMENT* gave ‘US’ the same support they give to other countries. Sad isn’t it?
99% of people won’t have the guts to forward this.
I’m one of the 1% — I Just Did
Not that I am gonna call myself the one percenter, but this ranter has got a pretty good point.
“That’s about as vivid an expression of the President’s agenda, and his sense of justice, and the state of the Rule of Law in America, as one can imagine. The same person who directed the DOJ to shield torturers and illegal government eavesdroppers from criminal investigation, and who voted to retroactively immunize the nation’s largest telecom giants when they got caught enabling criminal spying on Americans, and whose DOJ has failed to indict a single Wall Street executive in connection with the 2008 financial crisis or mortgage fraud scandal, suddenly discovers the imperatives of The Rule of Law when it comes to those, in accordance with state law, providing medical marijuana to sick people with a prescription.”—Glenn Greenwald - Obama Justice and medical marijuana | Salon (via fuckyeahdrugpolicy)
One of the great paradoxes of history are the claims of imperialist politicians to be engaged in a great humanitarian crusade, a historic “civilizing mission” designed to liberate nations and peoples, while practicing the most barbaric conquests, destructive wars and large scale bloodletting of conquered people in historical memory.
According to North Korea’s constitution, health care is a service the state is bound to provide to its people. ”The state shall consolidate and develop the system of universal free medical care and strengthen the district-doctor system and the preventive medicine system to protect the lives of people and improve the health of the working people.” -Chapter III, Article 56
The most recent amendments to the North Korean constitution in 2009 dropped the term “communism” from the document. The phrase was replaced by the term “songun,” North Korea’s nationalistic ideology that promotes a strong military as the way to advancement.
Somewhat comically, North Korea’s constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, press, and assembly. “Citizens shall have freedom of speech, press, assembly, demonstration, and association. The state shall guarantee conditions for the free activities of democratic political parties and social organizations.” -Chapter V, Article 67
The final chapter (Chapter VII) of North Korea’s constitution serves to explicitly define the appearance of the country’s national flag and emblem, declare the national anthem, and name Pyongyang as the nation’s official capital.
In the preamble, North Korea’s constitution names Kim Il Sung as the nation’s eternal president. No subsequent leaders are permitted to adapt this title, even though Kim Il Sung died in 1994. ”Under the leadership of the Workers Party of Korea [WPK], the DPRK and the Korean people will hold the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung in high esteem as the eternal president of the Republic and complete the juche revolutionary cause to the end by defending, carrying forward, and developing Comrade Kim Il Sung’s idea and achievements.” -Preamble