Why We Need To Raise the Minimum Wage To $15 » VSB

Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Why We Need To Raise the Minimum Wage To $15

iStock

 

“Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” — James Baldwin

I’m not poor, but I’m not rich; according to my W2, I’m middle-class. I’ve never had sleep for dinner, but I’m very familiar with poverty because I’ve witnessed it firsthand. In my neighborhood, nobody was “fly on your eyeball, too weak to blink, dying of starvation, Save the Children poor,” but there were a lot of third-time hand-me-downs and kids rocking with Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo well after the first PlayStation was on the market. I’m not making this plea for myself, but instead for the families that have to postpone Christmas until tax time, and the folks working two jobs just to keep the lights on, instead of those trying to keep up with the Joneses.

What’s the plea? The minimum wage needs to be raised to $15.

First, let’s start with a little history. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, drafted by Alabama Sen. Hugo Black, established the national minimum wage of 40 cents per hour, time and a half for overtime, and the standard 40-hour workweek; it also prohibited child labor that could be deemed oppressive. This was a big deal because it was the beginning of the nation’s financial rebound that President Herbert Hoover failed to deliver with his “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” spiel. The FLSA actually ended sweatshop labor in the United States. (Before women and children in Taiwan were whipping up shirts in dimly lit warehouses, women and children were doing it in dimly lit warehouses in Brooklyn.) The purpose of creating a minimum wage was to put an end to unfair wage practices, and Franklin Roosevelt considered the FLSA one of the most important parts of the New Deal legislation.

There was this story in heavy rotation on BuzzFeed around this time last year. A teacher from some school somewhere in America gave every student in his class a piece of paper. He told them all to ball it up, then throw it in the trash can, sitting in front of the class, from their seats. Most of the students seated in the front of the class made it, a handful from the middle made it and one of the students seated in the back of the class made it. The point of the exercise was to show how the opportunity for success works. Having ambition, ingenuity and intelligence is dope, but without being in a position to use it, more times than not, it’s like having a submarine on dry land.

Working-class families are literally creating the next wave of the working class in an endless cycle that keeps the bottom at the bottom. Pick up your yearbook and look up the kid voted most likely to succeed. Did he or she succeed, or is he or she punching the clock just like you instead of gearing up to be the next Barack Obama? The guy voted most likely to succeed in my senior class currently lives in Louisiana as a tour-bus driver and has an active GoFundMe page because he’s trying to raise money to move his family to Pennsylvania.

True story.

It’s a common misconception that minimum wage employees are the lazy rejects of society or teenage, pimpled-face kids flipping burgers. Contrary to those stereotypes, the majority of low-wage workers are adults with families. The average fast-food employee is actually 29 and not some 16-year-old kid living at home with his parents and saving up for the newest Jordans.

The truth is, about 26 percent of the workforce earns less than $10.55 hourly (about $22,000 yearly, which is below the poverty line of $23,000 in the United States), and 75 percent of them are 20 years old or older. These are the employees that make up America’s backbone, not just the guy making your venti latte at Starbucks. These are your day care employees, home care providers, preschool teachers, pharmacy techs, EMTs and auto mechanics. Can you really tell the guy holding the defibrillator to your loved one’s chest or the lady refilling your grandmother’s prescription that they don’t deserve a starting hourly wage of $15?

The prices of being poor cost on both ends of the economic spectrum, but those not living in poverty don’t see it and feel it in the same ways. It comes out of your taxes for the things like food stamps, Medicaid, prisons and insurance premiums for the next time someone breaks into a home and takes a flat-screen off the wall.

The people on the underside of the poverty line feel the cost of poverty directly. It starts with their take-home pay before they even spend a dime because the lack of viable banking options. Most low-income families live check to check and therefore can’t keep active banking accounts because of the inability to maintain balance minimums. In turn, they are forced to pay high fees at check-cashing places and use prepaid check cards (e.g., the RushCard). Because the poor and bad credit are normally a package deal, they are taxed with higher interest rates on everything from personal loans to credit cards to financing furniture. This results in more debt for the same money lent to the middle and upper classes. Even owning a car in a low-income neighborhood is more expensive because car-insurance costs are higher in high-crime areas.

Raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 an hour, financial analysts say, would boost economic growth by $22 billion because people who make more money spend more money. This immediately counteracts the supposed drastic inflation on your dollar-menu purchases. Just look at four companies with most of the minimum wage employees (Wal-Mart, Taco Bell/KFC/Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and Target). They generate billions in profits, which continue to rise. Most of us spend money with at least one of these companies every week, while the CEOs live like Scrooge McDuck and pay their front-line employees about the same as the cost of a supersized Extra Value Meal.

They say that America is the land of opportunity, but opportunity is rarely accessible from Skid Row.

Jean DeGrate

Jean DeGrate is an Uptown DC native. Like most great thinkers of our time, he got his start writing on MySpace enlightening strippers and ratchets before they were a "thing". You can find him on the streets of DC looking fresh as hell in the case the feds are watching and clowning folks who think that means being Gucci down to the socks. And if you're looking for him on social media, the name's always the same - @JeanDeGrate.

  • There are very few valid arguments against raising the minimum wage to at least $12. There will be inflation, of course, but only because the people at the top live for their profits. Too many Americans think that this is fair and it is the exact opposite. I’m afraid that the only way cleanse ourselves of this mentality will be a bloody struggle and not the ballot box, though. Siding with greed seems to be the American way.

    • Val

      “only way cleanse ourselves of this mentality will be a bloody struggle and not the ballot box,”

      Unions! I think the way this will be solved is with a resurgence of Unions After all Unions are why workers have most of the rights we have now.

      • But we tried that and Ronald Reagan came along and trashed everything.

        • Val

          No, not everything. He started trying to destroy Unions and that work continues today by Republicans across the country. But it’s only worked in a few states. In most of the larger states Unions are still very strong.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Too many companies have the leverage right now; we see it in Detroit where the auto workers have been told take additional concessions or see your jobs move overseas. I could see industry telling America we will move back if you agree to remove collective bargaining. There are too many people that just want to work that may give up collective bargaining in order to get a paycheck again.

        • Val

          The reasons that Unions were born is because companies have leverage. They have always had leverage. And a quick look at the history of workers in this country will show you that there is a tipping point where workers will not take it any more. That’s where Unions come in.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            I see history repeating itself here. Future generations will need to fight to unionize. I hope the new unions learn from the past and don’t get greedy.

            • Mary

              They’ll just be reduced to living like Southerners with that right to work nonsense.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    *Puts on Econ hat…….Dr. Parker would be proud*

    I agree with everything you said but consumers will cause the system to fail. My comments are based upon the assumption that markets are perfectly competitive. When there is an increase to the inputs to production, vendors push those increases on to the consumer in order to maintain profit margins. If profit margins can’t be met / maintained, companies fold, people are out of work, bye bye $15/hr.

    Consumers will attempt to maximize utility. If I have $10 to spend and product a is $8.62 and product b is $5.43, most people are going to chose product b because there’s more dollars that can be used to continue to maximize utility. If product a has employees being paid $15/hr and product b has employees making $9/hr, the cycle I mentioned above kicks in. This is one of the reasons the buy local effort hasn’t fully taken off because many of us are trying to stretch our dollars; I like the brotha man’s gym at $30 / month but that $10 / month Planet Fitness membership is looking right.

    • There is nothing wrong with your theory. However, if the minimum wage is 15 bucks, your cost distribution is moot. The company that decides not to pass on the cost to the consumers will be cheaper and eventually put the other ones out of business if they don’t conform. Problem is that market collusion will always be more profitable so we will always have it.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Here’s the kicker that most folks forget about. We now live in a global economy. Back in the day when foreign goods were not so common, your theory would apply. The great example here is tv’s. An American TV (it’s funny to even type this) is $300 and the Chinese TV is $220. Which tv sits on the shelf at the retailer? Which company sales go down? Which company cuts shifts to stop the bleeding? Which company eventually goes out of business?

        • That’s true but if we make entities like Apple and Samsung pay for their tax evasion and human rights violations, we would again be playing with a fair market. Or, we could impose the tariffs of old. The cheap electronics aren’t because of the efficiency of the foreign workers, its all corporate greed.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            The market will never be fair. Even if you made Apple and Samsung pay, the labor costs in developing countries would still be cheaper and you can avoid unions. It’s like that old saying “If you won’t someone else will” Ok the Philippines incorporate tougher environmental standards…I’ll move my plant to Cambodia where the people make $2 / day and pay them $6 / day. My margins remain the same, I can continue to pay dividends to my shareholders, and I keep my job.

            • -h.h.h.-

              so that means there needs to be a world-wide basic minimum wage?

              • Communism always has to be internationalized as Marx said.

                Apparently the lesson that brought about Democratic Socialism after WW2 still hasn’t resonated: Workers value nation over class. The only way to make a world-wide minimum wage is to some how over come the concept of sovereignty, good luck with that.

            • Gbadebo

              That doesn’t quite fly with certain tech industries. Part of the reason companies like Apple and Samsung maintain their manufacturing presence in Asia rather than the US, etc, is obviously cost and human rights legislation. But the more pressing reason that will KEEP them in their current locations is the manufacturing prowess (technologies, trained workforce, etc.) that we just don’t have here because that investment hasn’t been made. Could we do the same in the US? Sure, but it would require significant investment through either the private industry or the government, and it would take several years, if not decades, to even try to catch up.
              Point in case, Apple was stuck using Samsung to manufacture their processors for YEARS, even though they were a direct competitor…simply because Samsung had the necessary prowess/manufacturing capabilities.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Workforce prowess is still a function of an uneven global market. I can get an American educated Asian, pay him /her on ok wage and still maintain my margins; the educated Asian is instantly middle class and does well for themselves. This is one of the reasons that foreign students stay winning because they are willing to travel abroad to get the job and many American kids want to stay at home.

                You are right about Apple and Samsung. It didn’t stop Apple form continuing to develop a product that will replace a Samsung processor or finding another vendor that can do it as well for less.

        • -h.h.h.-

          to piggy back off of cogito’s suggestion, included with tariffs and tax evasion payments, why not use marketing to increase brand loyalty to (american) products, mitigating the overseas advantage?

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Branding is already taking place on some products. The initial knock on foreign products was that they were inferior to American made products and the price premium was for quality; I think of the auto industry pre 1980. Gas went up, foreign cars were made better, and poof the auto industry is a shell of itself.

            Before the scandals, what was the main reason you bought a Toyota / Honda / VW over an American car?

            Also, marketing is a price input; increased marketing means a) you’re passing along the cost or b) you plan to “eat” that cost for a short term with hopes that new volume will offset the increased cost.

          • Marketing isn’t exactly a precise science though.

          • Me

            There’s no such thing as brand loyalty. There’s competition and there’s distribution of knowledge. The only way to make a consumer loyal to the brand is to withhold knowledge of competitive brands. Like SS93 said, it’s how America was able to spread rumors of foreign products being inferior for so long. People just didn’t have the information to judge for themselves.

    • -h.h.h.-

      If product a has employees being paid $15/hr and product b has employees making $9/hr,

      but if there is a mandatory minimum wage of $15/hr…then product a and product b will have employees making $15/hr…meaning whichever product cost more, will have to justify that by other reasons..no?

      • Sigma_Since 93

        See response to @disqus_FKNwxHRHyG:disqus

        • -h.h.h.-

          yeah i think i said the same thing as him lol

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      Spoken like a true economist/libertarian/investment banker and not a businessman.

      That is not how real customers make decisions. On top of that there are trillions of dollars devoted to making rational decisions irrational.

      The typical consumer is rarely logical in most purchases. Gasoline is a perfect example. Folks will drive extra miles for pennies difference which is typically list when fuel is considered, and even more with opportunity cost.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        I am an economist. I deal with the duality of the marketplace and how I behave as a consumer.

        I disagree with you on consumer logic, we are always looking for the best deal or a coupon / Grupon, etc. Heck we will leave stuff in shopping carts if a vendor charges for shipping!

        While there is inelastic demand for gasoline, we still try to find cheap gas. Some will evaluate the distance they have to travel vs. what they save and others just see I saved 4 cents but I drove 20 miles round trip and burned more than 4 cents to “save” 4 cents.

        • Where do you live where gas stations are 20 miles apart? Where I live gas stations are abundant and you can pretty much depend on one being a few pennies lower than the other to attract business away from it’s counter-part down the block.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            What I’m getting at is if the gas station with cheap gas, based upon your phone app, is 10 miles from your house, you would have driven 20 miles round trip to save 4 cents. Some people get caught up in saving 4 cents, others would look at it and say nah homie and use the station by their house.

            • Do people use those apps around home? I would only use something like that if I were driving a long distance. I’m pretty well aware of the price of gas at the stations around my home. I think you’d notice that just from the general driving around you do.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          You have no way to know who the best employee actually is, whatever the job.

          No employer has perfect information, but top employers have had flawed metrics from the interview.

          Google used to go by gpa and schools. When that failed, it was iq tests and brain teasers. They’ve since moved on when they realize looking at the post interview performance and the lack of prediction power of their meritocratic process.

          At the top of the food chain, where real money is at stake, CEO vetting is hilariously horrible.

          And outside of that rarefied atmosphere, regular businesses hire base on gut feelings during an interview. Or Allah forbid, nepotism. You already know how that plays out.

          If you don’t, there are plenty of papers written everyday and business results that show how poorly employers, employees, consumers, and voters make poor decisions, even when “fully” informed.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            You are absolutely correct but it does not change the business model of many companies. the best inputs I can buy at the lowest possible price. Even with using your “gut”, a business owner still has an eye on the bottom line. I may pay you more than I anticipated but work you fewer hours. We see that right now in retail as businesses adjust for the ACA and demands for higher wages.

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              Adjust, as in try to raise prices but realize that they can’t compete with foreign competition.

              They then look to
              – cut benefits
              – lower raises
              – freeze hiring,
              – kill training
              – research and development
              – outsource
              – lobby for tariffs
              – layoffs
              – automation
              – etc

              It’s all very rational at that level, it’s numbers on a page, with projections on a graph. Lots of power point presentations.

              Yet despite the logic, there rarely seems to be anyone who remembers what happened last time, nor do they look at the externalities.

              The hyper focus on the balance sheet and Jack Welch orientation to the next quarterly reports has brought us here.

              Unemployment is less than %5 they say…

              But real income hasn’t risen since the mid 90’s.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                It’s all rational which is how a business person is supposed to operate a business. Yes there are some companies that sacrifice SOME profit for their people but it’s still a rational / based in economics.

                • Brooklyn_Bruin

                  The move in the 90’s to quarterly report focus makes poor decisions for short term stock price gains seem rational.

                  If they went back to longer term view most mergers and acquisitions shopped by predatory investment banks would look silly.

                  They all end up gaming each other, see the world financial crisis of 2008.

                  Where you think this is a sometimes thing, I think it’s baked into the system and is functioning perfectly for those who benefit from it.

                  Workers, customers, the environment… They’re all besides the point.

      • LMNOP

        I always got into this discussion with my economics professor, that basically this whole field is flawed because you are basing it off of the assumption that people make rational decisions, but I’ve met some people, and I’m telling you, that’s really not how life works.

        • Actually, I think the problem with economics as a profession, is it is in denial, it rejects the fact that it is more social science than natural science, and thus falls victim to political biases. Positivism isn’t actual science, it never has been and it never will. At best, it will give you probabilities, but as Nassim Taleb has pointed out: the unforeseen events always overthrow most economic predictions.

          Fact is that much of economics is rooted in assumptions about human nature – philosophy. If the soil of your economics is human beings are irrational, then your data and theories will create models that justify that, and it goes the other way around too. My problem with those who justify their theories on the grounds that customers and other human beings are irrational, is what makes them then believe that they are the rational ones who can create workable systems that will produce efficiency in the economy?

    • Mary

      Do you think some of the problem is the American, as opposed to European, tendency to favor quantity over quality.?
      Give me 3 well made suits that cost more but last longer and I’llngive up that slave labor 2 for $50 cheap suit.
      Most Americans won’t. We like to rock something different every day and so want it to be cheap in cost.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Socioeconomics are in play with your question. Some of it is perceived quality, some of it is actual quality, and some of it is marketing. As you make more money, you may change your consumption habits because you can afford the hand tailored suit. It’s also a catch 22 because the economizing problem can kick in too aka more money more wants more problems.

  • I’m not an economist…or even that good with my own money. Therefore anything I would say about this would be from a purely emotional standpoint. SO…I will keep my comments to myself and read what others, who are better informed on this topic have to say.

    • You know you want to express that Bernie Sanders style rage.

      • LOL you might be right…but more importantly, I might be wrong…and I don’t do wrong.

        • Lots of gray area here. I wouldn’t worry. Almost every economic theory sounds good. It’s when they are implemented when things go haywire.

          • Well my close friends and I share a belief that ALL (not just poor) but every american should get a monthly foodstamp stipend…even if it’s just $50. In a pinch even lower-middle class folks can find themselves looking at an extra $50 like “yea that’ll work!” Many people are a paycheck or two away from disaster as it is.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              inflation will kick in if that happened i.e more dollars chasing goods.

    • Quirlygirly

      I too would be speaking form a purely emotional standpoint. In fact my standpoint can be considered ignorant (in the defined sense of the word) so I will read and learn and upvote agruments and counterarguments that are logical. All those with knowledge please enlighten me.

    • LMNOP

      Emotions are important in a topic like this.

  • Geoffrey

    As the resident conservative on VSB I’ve actually been in favor of raising the minimum wage…as long as it was coupled with significant, across-the-board tax cuts for small businesses (i.e businesses with <50 employees).

    My views have since evolved. Raising the minimum wage doesnt go far enough. We need a basic income — an income granted to every single American without any work or minimum income requirements. Here's why:

    I run a small, (miniscule is probably a more apt description) tech company. Last year, I laid off my entire call center staff (5 employees) and outsourced my call center to the Phillipines. It's the difference between paying $12/hr+payroll tax and $6/hr + no tax. The difference in production between the old and new staff is negligible. Now, thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence technology, I'm exploring the possibility of replacing my overseas staff with a fully automated call center.

    Uber's entire revenue model for the next 5 years is laser-focused on building a network of self-driving cars. What do you think that does to people working in the so-called "sharing economy" , (e.g. Postmates, Instacart, Lyft etc)?

    All of the minimum wage jobs the author mentioned will, sooner rather than later, be automated. Heck, automation will eventually replace computer programmers, marketers, truck drivers, etc. Raising the minimum wage is not only short-sighted, but will likely do irreparable harm to the very people it purports to help.

    A basic income ensures everyone has the basic necessities to survive, while still maintaining the incentives people have to work. Best of all, the reduced bureaucracy resulting from doing away with all of the governmental welfare programs will save the country billions!

    • -h.h.h.-

      Raising the minimum wage doesnt go far enough. We need a basic income — an income granted to every single American without any work or minimum income requirements. Here’s why

      my only nitpick with a basic income, is that the cost of living varies so much. while you could survive on $30,000 a year in the midwest, i don’t think you’ll survive on 30K anywhere along the Eastern Megalopolis.

      • Index it by metro area. The Fed has a PPP index for every metro in the country. Adjust it as needed.

        • Not to be rude, but the Fed and Federal Reserve clearly don’t know what the heck they are doing. Check out what happened with the Fed pres the last couple of days.

          • This isn’t about the FOMC as much as the economists who feed them the data which they promptly ignore.

            • They kind of have to ignore it since the Fed is still very much a political organization. Furthermore, I’ve always been doubtful of preciseness of econometrics. I usually look to people like David Einhorn when I’m trying to get what’s going on in the Economy. His results speak for themselves.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Econometric data is good data. The challenge has always been the reporting lag.

                • Me

                  I agree with econometric data being good data, but I think the problem is part reporting lag, part human inability to notice changing landscapes early enough. There’s never going to be a perfect variable that can predict endlessly, but we sometimes get into a habit of playing on the same variable longer than its useful life.

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    That’s always doing to be an issue since data requires something to happen before it can be recorded. People make their money by using the historical data and creating plans for what may happen.

                    There’s also a difference in how we talk about humans. In the grand scheme of things, humans are tools used to get a job done. Good business people meld the personal and inner-personal skills to motivate and inspire their tool(s) to perform at optimal levels.

                    As an economist, you have to take a detached view of people and how they are used in the workforce. It sounds cold to reference people as tools but they are; just like a truck or machine used to get the job done. As a human, I want to work someplace that treats me with respect and values my contributions.

                    • fxd8424

                      “As an economist, you have to take a detached view of people and how they are used in the workforce. It sounds cold to reference people as tools but they are; just like a truck or machine used to get the job done.”

                      This is the description of corporate America.

                • Doesn’t matter how great the data is you’re still dealing with people. The data always misses something, simply ask the people at Long Term Capital Management.

      • Geoffrey

        For those that choose to live on the coasts, they’ll have to supplement their basic income with wage income. If they choose to use their basic income to opt out of the workforce, they’ll have the money (thanks to the basic income) to pick up and move somewhere less expensive while maintaining a financial foundation to begin a new life.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Basic income only covers what is assumed to be living standards. No American alive right now has BASIC LIVING STANDARDS ONLY. Everyone has some sort of a debt. Your wages are supposed to cover not only how you live, but to take care of your debt. Debt that isn’t always one’s own fault.

          If you become sick, if your family member passes, if your job is suddenly closed down without a significant time frame to prepare, etc….there are way too many people living in this country who have to deal with this every day. And when a random person far removed from them speaks on the money that is made as if it somehow should be enough to take care of everything…I find that to be the foulest of fouls. Every situation is different. Ergo the assumptions need to stop. That does more harm than good every single time.

          • Geoffrey

            Do you find it equally patronizing that welfare programs determine financial need based on criteria such as employment status, number of dependents, marital status, etc? Do you think its fair that some overworked, underpaid government worker gets to decide who gets what and how much?

            As of now, the welfare system is complex, bloated, and costly. I’m simply suggesting we do away with it completely and offer every American an agreed-upon liveable income. Give Americans all of the facts and let us determine what “basic living standards” entails.

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              I’m a government employee. I’ve worked for 3 different government agencies. All 3 have taught me these things:

              1) People are not people. They are numbers
              2) The agencies that regulate these numbers always have a minimal staff, and you’ll always be surprised how little effort is put into the regulations because there are too many people
              3) No matter how you fix a problem, there is always a loophole, because the policies aren’t meant to fix anything
              4) No matter what anyone thinks, there are too many exceptions to the rules.Ergo you can’t let anyone be exceptional, and that’s why so many people get s c r e w e d.
              5) Private businesses are both the problem and the answer to everything.
              6) At all times, the government is failing. You’ll just never know how badly unless someone more important wants you to.

      • There’s another basic problem.

        The fundamental problem is that a lot of people think or believe the problem with the economy is that big businesses have too much power. An increase in income, that doesn’t coincide with market demand for it, will hit them yes, but it hurts smaller companies far more. In other words, they get bigger.

        If the problem is a., the suggestion of increased wages guarantees it will not be solved.

        • Mary

          True dat.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        If you are a federal worker you get locality pay. An engineer in N.Y. gets more than one in rural Kansas.

        They would do something similar and ideally index it with inflation.

        • Mary

          Federal salaries have been frozen for years and no one gets cost of living increases. In some places increases are based on merit and if the job position is rewritten to include the skills that allowed the previous employee to get a raise, you not getting one without turning into a multitasking fool.

      • Mary

        You can can barely make it on $50,000 anywhere if you have student loans!

    • Automation scares the HECK outta me. There is an ever-looming threat of joblessness for people who do what most may consider “robotic” or “mindless” work. The more complex tech gets the more it bleeds into being able to do more complex work that would normally require human thought.

      • Me

        There’s two parts to what you wrote:

        1) I once joked with a few coworkers that there will inevitably come a time when all basic functions (housing, healthcare, groceries/farming, clothing/textiles, transportation, and all other menial basic necessities) will be automated, and everyone will be on welfare because we’ve become an ultra-efficient society that only needs workers for new innovations rather than to sustain basic living. I wouldn’t mind this as long as the welfare system is truly equal and no one is out here having to beg for food or wear hand me down clothes or whatnot. It’s my idea of an ultimate vacation where you can start prioritizing time spent with loved ones more than time spent hussling.

        2) Anyone who doesn’t want to become a dependent of the system has to commit him/herself to continuing education and constantly staying up on at least the fundamentals of the latest trends. Today the latest trend is programming and automation. Soon the latest trend will be artificial intelligence. The ones who will command the system will be the ones who create and study the system, and that’s your only defense to an automated world.

        • AI is already becoming the focus. Even in my job they are looking into technology to be able to have program that can read law cases and analyze how they affect one another. Something that at this time requires human thought and reasoning.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            I think Paladin is doing that kind of work.

            Google scholar already has lots of case law. Surprised they haven’t decided to knockout Westlaw and Lexis Nexis just out of spite

            • I’m not sure about the specifics, because we use all three services at my agency, but what was being proposed seemed more complex than the services currently being offered.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                Wouldn’t be surprised at all.

                The research and writing is the fun part, so of course that gets automated.

                If they could automate the part where I drum up paying clients, I’ll be happy. Maybe a robot to take anxious calls. How about car that moves from the space in front of the courthouse before the road switches to freeway mode during the afternoon rush.

                • LOL I’m guessing you’re not a prosecutor?

      • Quirlygirly

        I agree with you on you point but I also think about how we are already destroying the environment with the automation we have now. I know that may seem corny but we as humans are terrible at recycling and reusing at an efficient level. The air is polluted, the water is polluted, or food is contaminated. While I am not against automation overall, I think there has to be a full flushing out of benefits(quicker service) and repercussions (environmental impact, loss of jobs) of increased automation. It seems we are gonna kill ourselves in the process of trying to help ourselves

    • Okay, this is going to seem a little crazy so grab your foil hat for a sec. Did you ever watch the animatrix? It is basically something I wrote about eons ago, robo-communism. If robots can do ALL of the work without a vicious uprising, we can all enjoy free food and leisure time. I mean, the only problem is that no one will get absurdly rich, and a few people may have to maintain the bots but think about it. Life will be like college without the classes and the debt for everyone.

      • Geoffrey

        The amount of basic income can be adjusted based on the vitality of the workforce. More people working? Raise the basic income. Fewer people working? Reduce it. No one is suggesting a static basic income.

        Want to earn more money to supplement your basic income? Go get a job or better yet, go start a business. The same incentives to work exist with a basic income that exist today without one. In fact, one can argue that certain welfare programs act as a disincentive to work.

        Granted the anecdote I shared about my biz is just that, but I certainly don’t consider myself any sort of business guru with vast business acumen. I’m certain that if itty-bitty business owner Geoffrey is searching for ways to use automation to cure inefficiencies within my organization, then ownership of Giant Megacorp Inc. are doing the same.

        • If we untie standard of living and income, we will be much better off. I think we have a opportunity to do this in the age of automation. Then its not a case of working/not working. It’s a case of giving to each the best that we can. Sounds socialist because it is but we should really be more pragmatic and if socialism has the best idea, why deny it on principle?

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Saturation.

          All the things you’ve just said will all be affected by that one word.

          There’s a reason too many people can’t own businesses: there would be no employees
          There’s a reason too many people can’t have jobs: not enough jobs for everyone
          There’s a reason why some incentives work for some people, and not others: nothing is equal

          It’s basic. I know what you’re saying is common logic to you, but when you work on the bottom level with access to the top, you see the main difference, which is there are too many things in place that would never grant the change everyone speaks of. And even when you try to be independent, you can’t forget so many people are doing the same, which then creates a saturation in a new market. The only people who win are those that are first to the winner’s circle, or craftier than everyone else, but even then, it’s only a matter of time before those methods are saturated.

          All I’m saying is, we need to stop acting like this issue is so simple to fix. It isn’t. It’s not even close.

      • Me

        I should’ve scrolled down before I responded to Twilisha. This is the same as my first point to her. I’m for it.

      • IsitFridayyet?

        Have you seen the kid movie Wall-E ? It deals with a society that is maintained by robots and the humans become morbidly obese and lazy to the point of requiring assistance for the most basic tasks. (Although, some could say that is not too different from society’s current situation.)

        • I still haven’t seen it but I heard that plot. Being there sounds bad but getting there sounds like a party.

        • fxd8424

          So true. Have you seen My 600 lb. life on cable?

      • LMNOP

        I work in a daycare. I wonder what kind of robots would do my job. I’m imagining them like giant Tickle-Me-Elmos with sensors to tell when a kid is hitting or something and then their eyes flash red and steam comes out their ears.

        The baby rhesus monkeys really didn’t do well with non-living caregivers though, so it’s probably for the best that this will never actually happen. Although I kind of want one of these giant Elmos now.

        • Mary

          The Matrix.

    • Val

      “All of the minimum wage jobs the author mentioned will, sooner rather than later, be automated.”

      They’ve been predicting that there would be a flying car in every garage since the 50s. But here we are in the new millennium and no flying cars.

      And I think this prediction that everything will be automated has been around almost as long. While some things have become automated I really don’t think there will ever be a time when most jobs are done by computers, etc.

      There’s just no way a capitalism based society can allow most jobs to be done without humans doing them. I can see more assistance from artificial intelligence but I think there will always be jobs for the masses.

      • Gbadebo

        And all of that automation has to be manufactured, maintained, programmed, etc…you have to hire people to manage the automation. People that cost more because they are typically higher-educated. Automation isn’t a capitalist cure-all for MOST industries.
        i.e. They still have someone managing the self check-out lanes at grocery stores.

        • Geoffrey

          Just to be clear: I’m not suggesting that ALL jobs will be eliminated due to automation. There will, however, be a dramatic reduction of human workers in the workforce.

      • Geoffrey

        >>>But here we are in the new millennium and no flying cars
        The tech for flying cars has existed for at least 2 decades. The problem is infrastructure. There is no such obstacle with self-driving cars, the infrastructure already exists. Heck, just this week the NHTSA ruled the artificial intelligence system piloting Google’s self-driving car can be considered a driver under federal law. [1]

        >>>I can see more assistance from artificial intelligence but I think there will always be jobs for the masses.
        I’m not so sure about that. McDonalds is beta-testing kiosks that allow customers to order and pay for their food without ever having to interact with a human [2] Chase is reported to be laying off 5k employees by the end of 2016. Guess what’s replacing them? [3]

        I can do this all day. Not trying to scaremonger or anything, but to pretend we’re not entering into a radically new era thanks to rapid advancement in a.i. is being willfully dismissive.

        [1] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-alphabet-autos-selfdriving-exclusive-idUSKCN0VJ00H
        [2] http://www.businessinsider.com/what-self-serve-kiosks-at-mcdonalds-mean-for-cashiers-2015-8
        [3] http://nypost.com/2015/05/28/chase-to-lay-off-nearly-5k-tellers-by-the-end-of-2016/

        • Val

          And people said ATMs would be the end of teller jobs.

          And to your last paragraph; check out some news reels from the 50s and 60s about what was supposed to be coming in the future. Most of it hasn’t happened.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Once enough old timers (non tech savy folks) die, you will see a significant decrease in tellers.

            • Val

              ATMs have been around since the early 80s, Sig. Lot’s of old folks have died and still plenty of tellers.

              • Geoffrey

                Val, I’m not sure if you’re serious or not, but Chase is literally announcing to the world that they are significantly reducing their staff. Though they don’t specifically cite a pivot to automation as the cause, the evidence is in branches where there are more full-service kiosks than tellers.

                Also, keep in mind: We’re not talking about your standard, garden-variety ATM here. These full-service kiosks are capable of completing complex transactions and handling literally thousands of dollars per session. It’s really quite a sight to behold I must say

                • Val

                  I’m serious and I think you are not seeing the full picture. Banks are always cutting staff. That’s what they do. That’s what corporations in general do. But walk into any bank and you see what? Tellers. I’m sure there are atrempts to extend automation in banking but that’s not new.

                  Automation is not new either. Henry Ford automated the auto production line in the 20s and here we are in 2016 and humans still work those lines. Sure there is more advanced automation but humans are still doing the job.

                  I think you are being alarmist in thinking that massive automation and loss of jobs is just around the corner. In order to see what’s coming one has to look back. And when you look back you will see others who have predicted the same. According to many people in the past at this point automation was already supposed to have taken over and it hasn’t.

                  • L8Comer

                    I agree with you, Val. Automation will help ultimately help people do their jobs more quickly and efficiently, not get rid of them all together. I was a teller for a little while in college and right after. Automation can be really helpful for straight forward processes, but many processes require human judgment. I know IBM is trying for it, bus as of right now computers don’t have our cognition and judgment.

                    Also, you will NEVER see me riding around in an automated taxi, uber, or personal vehicle. It’s ridiculously easy to learn how to hack into systems these days and the U.S.’s cybersecurity defense is woefully inadequate. Nope, nope, nope.

                    • Val

                      I saw a report, on CBS News I think, about some computer guys doing some experiments to see if they could hack and take control of cars on the road. And they were successful. So I agree about not trusting the automated car tech. And besides that the more automated the car is the more it can be tracked.

                    • L8Comer

                      Yep, I saw something similar and learned a bit about the subject in school and other seminars. Apparently, it’s not very difficult to hack into things b/c almost no one invests enough in security. I’ll be old school and drive my car when I get one or stick to the bus.

                    • Mary

                      The kinks will eventually be worked out and it will be wonderful for older folks who can no longer drive (perhaps that’ll be you).
                      As for tracking, that’s already a reality. I’d rather take my chances than be out there on the road with idiots who text while driving.

                    • Me

                      When I lived in Miami, there was a Metro Mover that took professionals from the MetroRail station out to Brickell. It was basically an above ground train with no conductor. There are similar AirTrams at many major airports that take people from terminal to terminal. Automated taxis/personal vehicles will get adopted very easily in this fast paced society.

                    • L8Comer

                      That may be, but EYE won’t be voluntarily jumping into an automated vehicle anytime soon. It’s not just state actors, hacktivists, and sophisticated computer scientists who can hack into systems, it’s regular folks who have taken a computer science class or two b/c US systems are so vulnerable. I’m not saying they have no place in the future or won’t be easily adopted, but the lack of security frightens me too much to partake… particularly when it comes to government run transportation and infrastructure. They’re really not on the cutting edge of cybersecurity in comparison to other countries.

                    • Conrad Bess

                      When the inevitable accident happens, who gets sued? Will my lawyer go after Google? Can I afford to go after Google when their lawyers stall and say it was the automated driver’s fault?

                    • L8Comer

                      You go after google, there is no automated driver. And may the odds be ever in your favor, lol. They’ll probably settle with you for a nice sum to avoid the minor annoyance of a law suit. But read the disclaimer first.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                If you pull the numbers from the 80’t till now, you will see a sharp decline. The 80’s didn’t have of personal computers, cell phones, or call centers that would allow you to do nearly as much as you can do now. I don’t recall my mom being able to get approved over the phone for a loan in 87.

                As customers call for more innovation, banks will invest in innovation and pull those dollars from the brick and mortar side of the business.

                • Val

                  I’m not saying that automation does not happen. I’m saying it’s alarmist and not true to think that there will be massive jobs losses due to automation any time in the near future.

                • fxd8424

                  ” I don’t recall my mom being able to get approved over the phone for a loan in 87.”

                  I applied for a loan from my credit union 2 years ago, walked to Walmart which was right next door, and in that very short span of time, the credit union was ringing my cell to say it was approved.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                There should be hundreds of thousands more.

                Say you’re running a business.

                you replace a dozen employees with automation.

                You could fire them, save yourself the salary.

                But you’ve got trained employees, trained in your specific business.

                Is there nothing that you could teach them to do in your business to help grow it?

                American management and ownership, maybe all businesses fail to capitalize on their people.

                Alas

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  This all depends on your Corporate strategy, Was the objective for the move to shed costs? If so these folks are gone. If the goal is to be more efficient, you can look for opportunities to re use your people.

        • Me

          I’m here to cosign everything you wrote. I’m a Chase customer and I’ve had to go to my branch a lot more lately for various reasons, and I’ve noticed all of these things happening. My local branch just “merged” with the one up the street. The one up the street seems to have all of 3 employees now and 6 behemoth sized all service ATMS where teller windows used to be. And before that, all of my banking had been done online with nary a phone call between me and my bank. Heck, I’ve even opened 3 bank accounts with several banks completely online with instant decisioning, initial deposit, and profile setup. How many branch managers, tellers, and customer service reps lost out on those income streams alone? When I was applying for mortgages, the only loan officer I actually spoke to was the one I ended up signing with, but I got all of my quotes and disclosures through online systems. That’s not just banking employees missing from my interaction, that’s postal workers and brokers that have disappeared. Automation may be happening SLOWLY, but it’s absolutely happening and will only pick up speed the more efficient we become at implementing it.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            I work at a top 5 US Bank and I see our plans that clearly have consolidated branches and put monies that we have saved via closings and / or contact negotiations into technology.

            • Geoffrey

              Boom! Take that, Val :-)

              • Val

                Lol

      • fxd8424

        “While some things have become automated I really don’t think there will ever be a time when most jobs are done by computers, etc.”

        The Dept. of Public Welfare is already making moves to eliminate case workers doing intake, etc. My niece is a case worker and says the handwriting is on the wall. She got her degree back in the 80s but has enrolled in school again.

        • LMNOP

          I think this particular example is really mixed. No disrespect to your niece, because there are a lot of polite, hard-working case workers out there who really do want to help people, but a computer isn’t going to be nasty and give you an attitude when you’re applying for assistance, so in this example I would say computers come out ahead.

          I don’t care how many self-checkouts the grocery store puts out though, I’m not weighing all my produce for free.

          • fxd8424

            I agree with you about some caseworkers. One woman that is an acquaintance comes to mind. She gives the impression that because she has a job it somehow make her better than the people applying for benefits and she treats them accordingly. I’ve always hated how poor people and people who are in need are treated. When the company I worked for went out of business during the recession, and I received unemployment, she seemed to think that somehow I suddenly needed her to advise me on what I could and could not afford. Say what??? LOL. I had to distance myself from her because it was about to get ugly. Saw her at a funeral some years later and she asked me why did we stop talking. LOL . . . . .
            I know I was luckier than most during that time because my bills were still paid on time and my granddaughter and I still took our trips. In other words, business as usual.
            I think one of the reasons I prefer self check-out is, on some level, I don’t like dealing with clerks. You remind me of my granddaughter. She doesn’t want to do much of anything that reeks of slavery (free labor)
            .

    • IsitFridayyet?

      “All of the minimum wage jobs the author mentioned will, sooner rather than later, be automated.”

      I disagree. Some jobs listed in the article that pay minimum wage (i.e. home caregivers, Daycare providers and Preschool Teachers) cannot be automated.

      • Geoffrey

        Agreed. I’ve edited my original post — changing “All of the…” to “The majority of the…”

      • Me

        Common core is this country’s first attempt at automating teaching jobs. If this experiment succeeds, I guarantee there will be widespread teaching layoffs and herding of students in learning hall style classrooms where they interact with screens that predict their challenges rather than humans that caress them into feeling smart. Watch for it.
        Caregivers may not be as automated, but nursing supplies, transport, tracking, pharmaceuticals, etc will be, which means all of the fringe administrative work that makes caregiving possible will soon replace humans with machines. At which point, people will start opting to care for their families at home instead of outsourcing the job to professionals, which will then lead to the collapse of care provider industries.

      • fxd8424

        Never say never. There are already robots in hospitals.

    • LMNOP

      I think the idea of a basic income grant is great, countries that do some version of that have seen all kinds of successes from it. It is also much more efficient and economical to give money directly to poor people to use how they need to use it than to pay professionals to provide “services.” And less degrading. Also great for the local economy, of course, when people have money to spend.

      I did a 50 page thesis on this topic, so I have a lot to say, and really it’s overwhelmingly positive, and really realistic. A country like the United States completely has the capacity to ensure that everyone has enough money to live, we just choose not to.

  • miss t-lee

    Everyone deserves a living wage for working a full time job every week. Not a scrape by, get by wage, a living wage. If $15 is what it needs to be, that’s what I support.
    Folks steady wanna argue why someone doesn’t “deserve” a certain amount of money for a job that they do. The excuses for why not are all pretty much bullsh*t. Folks should be able to have a decent standard of living for themselves, and/or their families.

    • This is really the bottom line. Human rights.

      • miss t-lee

        Bingo.

    • PaddyfotePrincess

      Preach!

      • miss t-lee

        Girl…you know how I do.

    • The problem is that people don’t want to come off that paper until a law forces them to. It’s damning on folk.

      • miss t-lee

        If a law is what needs to happen, that’s what needs to happen.

      • The law won’t help. They own the law. Until people decide “You’re going to pay me or I’m going to rob you, or worse.” We are kind of stuck here.

      • LMNOP

        I think you just made the case against libertarianism.

        • Perhaps. Personally I find it an argument in its favor. There’s nothing like having to clarify what one really wants to make it clear where society’s priorities lie. And if people consistently choose lattes and weed over their fellow man, we now know what people really think of society.

    • It bothers me to NO end. People act like life and circumstances don’t happen. They speak with so much disdain at grown people who work minimum wage jobs, because they consider the work, and the people who DO the work lower than them for whatever reason. All I see is a person who is doing what they can to survive. The harsh reality is, not everyone can be the best. College educations aren’t attainable for EVERY american. Entrepreneurship isn’t a viable option for EVERY American. Everyone doesn’t have equal skills and talents, or even levels of intelligence. However, I don’t think that means you should live life with constant and persistent struggle. Having a place to live, food to eat, a way to work, and money for things like grooming, washing clothes REGULARLY etc are not privileges. Those are necessities.

      • Quirlygirly

        I just had a similar conversation with my supervisor. No everyone is cut out for college however that is the standard that is pushed. Meanwhile trade jobs, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, not pushed because it is seen as “lower or lowly”. Whether a person is captain of industry or a maid cleaning a toilet, the range is needed and it makes the world go round-so to speak. One is not better than the other because at the end of the day, we all are just looking for decent housing, food, and clothing.

        • miss t-lee

          That’s the thing though, at one time blue collar jobs were a viable career. Most of my family members raised families doing so, and they weren’t struggling.

          • LeeLee

            Same. Neither one of my parents went to college and they are two of the most hard working and honest people I know :)

            • miss t-lee

              My Pops attended but didn’t finish. Worked his way up to operations for one of the bigger delivery services.
              My grandfather went to school up til 8th grade and started working masonry, put 5 of his 6 kids through college. The other joined the Air Force.
              My grandmother washed clothes and tended to white folks kids.

              Best people I’ve known.

        • I always some, SOMEONE has to collect the trash, snake the drain, wire the homes etc. However like you said, those things are not pushed. However Americans like the ability to mindlessly leave trash on the curb before work, and come home to it having been removed. We like that we don’t need to know the inner-workings of our electrical systems, because we can call someone to help us with that. But then…look down on the people who do these tasks…makes no sense.

          • Me

            Even those jobs aren’t as secure as they used to be. I renovated my house this year, and I did half the work myself. When I told my mother I switche out all of my electrical outlets for the newer safer switches and plugs, she was amazed. Meanwhile all of that information is on YouTube, and all of the working pieces are practically plug and play (read: automated) these days. We no longer need guys who spent their teenage years as apprentices under master electricians and contractors because the products are being made for monkeys to be able to figure out. It helped keep my costs down, but it also cut into my contractor’s bid. Once Google gets these automated cars fully licensed, those garbage trucks will be driving themselves and picking up trash with those robotic arms while someone at the head office monitors their progress.

            • I maintain there will ALWAYS be people who would prefer to spend money than time. So I think there will be always be a market for some labor.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Very true. These are people who will pay the premium to have someone mow their lawn, shovel the snow, rake the leaves, clean the gutters, etc. despite being able to do it themselves because they have determined their time is best spent doing something else.

              • Me

                That’s true. For instance, some things in my house I just didn’t have the afterwork time to get to on my own. So I had to hire a contractor. Also some things required brute strength which also dictated that I hire a contractor. So, contractors won’t necessarily be replaced altogether, but they will be/are losing footing. I saw on one of those DIY channels a few months back how even new homes are being prefabricated with plug and play wiring built into the drywall so once it’s up, you just connect your switches instead of hiring an electrician. These little steps slowly chip away at the value of handymen.

                • LOL we humans have an overwhelming amount of trust. Something about that just seems like a set up for failure…in the long run. Lately they don’t make anything to last, I don’t know that I want wires INSIDE the drywall…

                  • Me

                    You already have wires inside the drywall. I’m not saying the wall itself has wires in it. The walls are still regular walls, but now they attach the wiring to the back side of the walls and where the electrician used to have to strip and feed wires into outlets, switches, junction boxes, and light fixtures, the ends of the wires are now capped with a plug that looks similar to the USB plug on an ethernet cable, and that now just gets plugged into new universal switches, outlets etc. It’s new to market, so of course this is only happening in a very select few homes in the nation, but the technology is already there and tested. Homes of the future will take less than a month to build from scratch because of these little innovations.

                    • ohhhh i see what you’re saying. I’m thinking they were somehow like…incorporated into the drywall lol I was like “nah”

              • mrs.BAP

                “There will always be people who would rather spend money than time”
                #lifegoals

            • Val

              “…those garbage trucks will be driving themselves and picking up trash
              with those robotic arms while someone at the head office monitors their
              progress.”

              So you actually think that those hundreds of thousands of people that work the trucks now and their unions are just going to roll over and accept losing their jobs to these automated trucks?

              And really, do you think this technology is going to happen, say in the next 20 years?

              • Me

                I don’t know if 20 years is enough time, but 50-75 years, definitely. And no I don’t believe unions will roll over and give up their jobs, but turnover happens regardless of union negotiations. All a municipality would have to do is not post for open positions and use that money to purchase new equipment instead. Considering job loyalty is now a thing of the past, it wouldn’t take long to organically convert a good 30% of that labor into technology. The rest (maybe another 30%) would be subject to negotiations when labor contracts expire.

              • Conrad Bess

                I live in a suburb northwest of Toronto, and we already have the trucks with the arms collecting the trash. Used to be two people in the truck, more often now I see just 1.

                • Val

                  We have those here too. They collect the recycling. But there’s a big difference between a one person truck and a no person truck.

          • Pinks

            Sheeiiitttt..garbage men in NY pulling in six figures easily. Couldn’t be me, but I ain’t mad at that hustle NOTTATALL.

          • fxd8424

            A doctor in the city lost her life last year because she demeaned an exterminator she hired and his work. Granted, this is extreme, but she pissed him off, he strangled her and burned her body to cover the crime. Not saying she deserved to die, but folks need to be mindful of what they say and how they treat people. Everyone is not operating with a full deck.

            • Mary

              Many foreigners come from countries with such a strong class division that they believe they’re better than anyone doing manual labor. They yell and demean laborers and also try to cheat them out money so they can be thrifty.
              It ain’t right to kill anyone, but there is a limit to how long folks will allow you to insult their dignity and make them feel like they shouldn’t exist before snapping.

            • Sheesh. I say that too. People like to forget that mental health is very real. There are a lot of people walking around one bad day away from a massacre. Handle people carefully.

        • Brass Tacks

          Society doesn’t view these things as equal, though. For example: The post a couple months back Damon did on the plumbers breaking Twitter.

          I was genuinely surprised by that turnout, not because they were undeserving, but you usually don’t see many instances of women “publicly” capping for blue collar types anymore.

        • Mary

          My Mom said shop and home economics got cut out of schools because Blacks kids were often tracked into them just for being Black. If there were some waY to make sure that poor, working class, Black ,and Latino kids aren’t pushed into them it would be good to bring them back.
          They could be expanded to include plumbing, refrigeration, welding, hotel management,daycare, etc and provide internships or a way to get courses at the community college for licensing.
          That might also take care of some of the discipline problems in “bad” schools so the academically inclined can learn.

      • miss t-lee

        Thank you.
        I think more folks need to realize that the situations/lifestyle that you are currently in, can and very well might change at the drop of a hat. I think because I’ve been through my fair share of layoffs, temp jobs, volunteering with the homeless, I will always have empathy for folks trying to make it.

        • Yea people also like to ignore that poverty is very cyclical. It is overwhelmingly difficult for someone born into poverty to get out of it. A lot of things have to happen for them to even realize that there is a whole other world outside of their impoverished life. On top of that, if they DO realize it, many times they don’t have the tools to effectively get out. Most people in poverty already have bad credit by the age of 18. Further, they probably aren’t the best students (not because they aren’t smart…but because hunger is distracting) and even if they are decently focused on school, college is so expensive it’s laughable to even think they’re going. I know I went through my entire high school situation with the mindset I wasn’t going to college when I graduated, because my family was just way too poor for me to even think of it as a thing. Suddenly in the 11th grade i find out there are programs for people in my situation (which of course I had no idea about because NO ONE in my family attended college, so who could I have gotten that information from?) However, by that time I was a solid C student…and had wasted a lot of time not applying myself. I eventually went…but I racked up a nice amount of debt doing it.

          • miss t-lee

            Cyclical is right. Those cycles are hard to break, even in my family situation.
            Who can help you learn about college, and/or higher education when folks didn’t even graduate HS?

            • Right? My graduating high school was not seen as an ordinary thing. It was cause for celebration. I was the first in my family to do so. My siblings didn’t, my mother hadn’t, nor my father, nor THEIR mothers and fathers. I mean…when you look at it like that it’s a miracle to be sure that it happened for me. Not only did I graduate, but I went to college…

              • miss t-lee

                My mother dropped out after her sophmore year to help my grandmother take care of the household. It was huge that my sibs and I graduated HS, much less went on to college.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                The key was there were plenty of unskilled labor jobs. A person could drop out of school, work at the plant, and do ok for themselves. People knew that getting the college degree would move the needle from doing ok to doing better than ok. Those jobs are now overseas and it’s created an income chasm

                • Val

                  A lot of those jobs that went overseas are coming back now. Workers in those other countries are now demanding higher wages so in many cases it’s becoming economically more feasible to bring the jobs home.

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    This ties into the discussion we had earlier. Companies coming back are looking to cut deals to keep costs low, states wit no collective bargaining, and getting favorable tax, water, and sewer deals.

              • Pinks

                I had to check myself on my privilege quick fast once because of someone whose background was similar to yours. I was looking at him crazy for not wanting to go to college and he let me know it was either going to class or letting his little brother sit in the house with no food while their mom was turning tricks. Learnt me good.

                • #WellShit :( but yea sometimes you the things people have to deal with at home are so far out of your mind that you really couldn’t imagine that is life unless they let you in on it. There were things my highschool classmates probably would NEVER have thought I was going through. I was homeless for a stint…my mom was in Rehab my senior year…my father was in prison (as usual >_> #NiggasGonNig) like…stuff was going all the way left for me.

                  • Same here – on paper my back story looks kind of sucky but that was just what I knew. Getting to know people’s stories has helped me look at the world from a whole new lens, which I wasn’t always prepared to do.

                • Solo Six

                  Might sound callous, but let’s break it down: if mama is turning tricks, maybe mama shouldn’t have had children. Now (assuming this valuable young man is both black and talented) let’s assume the very real threat of imprisonment or accidental death. People BUY insurance against these things, but in his current state he is not only fully exposed, but at higher risk, to boot. So my brother, what is your plan for yourself and your family if societal tragedy should befall you in the future? A man who can’t swim himself, cannot swim out to rescue others.

                  Higher education may NOT be the way, but I’ll argue that it’s still a damn good start.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              My mom was like FAFSA whaaaaa

              • miss t-lee

                Sounds like my Pops.

              • mrs.BAP

                I was so mad at my mother about that! She refused to fill it out because she equated her name on the forms with her name on the debt. I literally worked and paid for college out of my pocket until I was old enough to fill out the FAFSA on my own. I was in the top 5% of my high school graduating class, so there were more than a few side eyes about me going part time to community college, but that’s what I could afford. I couldn’t really be upset with my mom too long considering that she and every generation before her had started life tending farms, she figured if the military was a good enough ticket out for her that it should be for me too.

          • occupiesthethrone

            You hit the nail on the head! I’m supposed to compete with Joe Moneybags to get into a great college so I can pursue a high level career, but I went to a high school with no AP or honors courses, no textbooks, no languages and no college adviser. If it wasn’t for my mom telling me to go to a community college, I wouldn’t have gone to college at all. We ended up going to college at the same time, now she has two masters and I was able to go from community college to one of the best private schools in the Northeast. There’s no way I would have gotten into that school straight from high school. And not because my grades were bad. My GPA was high, but I went to a high school with no resources and would have to compete with kids that took AP all the way through when I didn’t even get to take Spanish.

            • Same here. My mother and I were in school at the same time. She now has her Bachelors…I do not lol but either way…we learned the curve together when REALLY she should have been able to teach me the curve to set me ahead…but that doesn’t always happen.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Especially when you work directly with people who don’t have anything. You have to appreciate what you manage to get, and tell yourself it will be alright when you lose it.

          But so many people don’t know the meaning of struggle. So they forever sit on their high horse, throwing shade, not realizing it is so easy for them to be knocked off.

          • miss t-lee

            Life will definitely teach you, if no one else has.

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              It always does, with a sense of harshness no man can duplicate.

              • miss t-lee

                Yup.

      • fxd8424

        Preach! Attorneys are good for looking at those who don’t have Esquire behind their names with disdain and contempt. I speak and will converse with anyone who looks, talks and acts sane. I was taught that we are all human beings, and deserving of some respect. Unfortunately, not all got those lessons. I was talking to the woman who cleans our floor one night like always, one of the attorneys observed us and later asked me why I even talk to her. Cause she’s a human being idiot, and has something to say. It irks me no end that there are far too many among us who thinks their degrees somehow makes them better than the person who doesn’t have one. He really pissed me off.

        • OMG wow. ALL the attorneys at my job a sweet as pie towards me. Even the judges and DA’s that attend our conferences treat me nicely. Always chat with me. Never try to talk down to me or like…belittle my role as an admin by requesting me to do #FuckShitThatAintInMyJobDescription. That’s crazy.

    • The “deserve” argument kills me. Even assuming a utopia where everybody has a genius I.Q. and the opportunity to get as many degrees as they want…SOMEBODY has to scrub the toilets. Everybody can’t be a rocket scientist because then nobody is growing the food we eat, or making the clothes we wear. It’s ridiculous.

      • miss t-lee

        Seriously though.

      • Mary

        Well,!in rich societies you hire desperate foreign workers and treat them like untouchables. Saudi Arabia and Japan anyone? Shoot, antebellum Mississippi!

  • A few thoughts:

    – I think minimum wage should be indexed by metro area. What would be a living wage in NYC is mandating middle class salaries in Mississippi and Arkansas. Forcing everyone in the country to work under the same regime one way or another would be unfair.

    – Fix the occupational licensing hustle and zoning laws. Occupational licensing turns careers into guilds that keep the disenfranchised out. And zoning laws often drive up the cost of housing by capping the amount of development that can happen.

    – A negative income tax should ultimately be implemented. That would put cash directly in pockets above and beyond what a minimum wage does, plus it gets the government out of the business of micromanaging the poor. You work, you get help. Simple as that.

    • MysteryMeat

      Occupational Licensing and Zoning needs to be changed pronto. If I could high five you I would.

    • LMNOP

      We basically already have a negative income tax in the EITC, but I think in a lot of ways a consistent supplement in monthly income would have more long-term power to really improve people’s lives than a windfall in February. Maybe both would be ideal.

  • Basic income increases the costs of doing business, thus it also increases the likelihood of mergers and acquisitions i.e. increased power and centralizations towards corporations. There’s more, but this is something that anyone who advocates a. has to also accept b.

    • And there’s the fact that a lot of large companies cynically like minimum wages. They have the revenue to eat the cost while the smaller competition either has to raise their prices and be less competitive or go out of business.

      • I’ve said it many times, and it’s right there in the open, if your municipal/state government is heavily invested in Fortune 500 companies, which they are, simply check their annual reports. Then logically speaking, they are always going to lobby in favor of those corporations. The fact is there’s no way to legislate against big business without hurting small business, who usually are the ones that are best equipped to keep big businesses in check.

        But hey the stats tell a different story…

  • Me

    Here’s one of the biggest monkey wrenches I keep seeing among peers of all persuasions. Oftentimes, you’ll have that kid in the middle or back of the class who just so happens to have a great hook that gets that ball in that can. That kid then behaves and treats others as if that happenstance is the norm and not the exception, or just some fluke, or just his/her particular set of abilities kicking in during a right time/right place moment. That kid goes on to become a well to do basket shooter and looks down on all the others who continue to miss the shot instead of returning to that room and teaching other aspiring shooters how to hook that ball properly, or advocating for the basket to be placed in the center of the room encircled by all shooters, or some other equally equitable solution. These types of players also prevent the forward motion of our economic system because capitalism dictates that those who can shall milk those who cannot.

    Until we can shift the paradigm of how people view success from an individualistic achievement to a societal achievement, what will continue to happen is the well to do shooters will horde the information necessary to create other well to do shooters from the middle and back of the class, and the basket will continue to be placed within reach of those who got to it first. In short, until the folks who made it out of poverty/lower middle class start advocating for the poor/lower middle class, this debate on minimum wage will continue. Some of us are no more than one or two generations out of the hood/slums/projects/ghetto/etc, but we act like we came from old wealth and knowledge. We talk like falling back to where our grandparents or great grandparents had to climb out of is not possible because we have our degrees or decent jobs or nice homes in decent neighborhoods. The goal shouldn’t just be to increase the minimum wage, it should be to establish a universal standard of living that everyone is entitled to (i.e. good schools should not ever be to expensive for any American, quality food should not ever be out of reach for any American, quality healthcare should not ever be denied to any American, etc).

    I support increasing the minimum wage to a liveable amount, but it’s a bandaid, not a fix to the systemic problems we face.

    • But that would mean effectively destroying the individualism that makes America unique and replacing it with a communitarian mindset. Not impossible, but a generations long project.

      • Me

        That’s exactly what I was pointing to. We all herald capitalism as a working system, when in fact, we’re voting against ourselves by employing it. It only takes one misstep for you to be on the losing side of capitalism. And pulling yourself out of it depends on how quickly you can regain your footing BEFORE you start being taken advantage of by other capitalists. There will never be a true middle class here so long as we operate under individualistic motivation. I know we’re several generations away from enough people choosing to be more socialist/communitarian because greed is human nature, but my thought is that’s what it would take to truly fix the growing divide.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          “It only takes one misstep for you to be on the losing side of capitalism.”

          In theory that’s the beauty of capitalism; inferior products will not be propped up. In the immortal words of some rachet scholar Do Better

          “There will never be a true middle class here so long as we operate under individualistic motivation.”

          The middle class is not dependent upon individualistic motivation.

        • Mary

          There is no heaven on earth. It doesn’t, never has, and never will exist.

      • -h.h.h.-

        and whats to say a communitarian/socialistic approach would work?

        all ‘ologies/cracys/isms/’ work on paper, but when implemented in real time? with real human beings? whos to say you get the same corruption?

      • “Capital” originally was the French word for property, so capitalism is really just propertyism. Socialism/Communism, despite their many variations have to logically be against any concept of private property, rhetoric aside. The reason why they repeatedly fail, is because yes people in desperate times will embrace collectivism for the sake of survival, but the richer and more secure they are, the more they want to own their ish.

        Thus capitalism…

        • But they don’t hear you doe….

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        There’s nothing unique about thinking that you’re The Chosen.

      • Mary

        Bingo.

    • I’m all emotional reading this. I want to like it again.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      American exceptionalism is a disease that had a cure from day 1, but no one wants it.

      Mind you, this mindstate is as old as recorded time. It’s not special in any kind of way. Even when we emphasis on capitalism, realistically the problem has always been “I come before U”.

      As long as that is still believed to this day, we will always find a way to make our own plights more crucial than anyone else. Think about it. We are speaking on American wages, but we still make more money when we are poor here in this country than so many other countries do in comparison. How many South American, Asian, or African countries can honestly say that they get designated housing, programs geared toward feeding hungry children, and access to water easily, even if all of those things SUCK here? Not many at all. But we never look at the citizens of those countries and say “I’d give the shirt off my back to help that person, because the kid from the hood still has more than them”.

      We aren’t going to ever say that. And it’s not about our priorities being mixed up. It’s just that our vision is limited. Very much so. And the legacy is so wide, so encumbering, that on our own, we’d drown in our thoughts on how to fix this, let alone actually doing what we say. There’s so much that SHOULD happen but never will, not because of the rules but because of the beliefs people don’t want to let go of.

      • Me

        Actually I think it IS that our priorities are mixed up. Think of all the communist societies that we’ve straight up embargoed because they operate on a shared resources plan instead of a “get yours because I’m getting mine” plan. We’d rather squash anyone who dares to level the playing field than give up what little advantage we have over the next person. This is the main reason I believe everyone is afraid of China taking over. Being told to help other people when you only want to help yourself feels as close to 1st world slavery as westerners can think.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          The thing is, the Communist method isn’t good either. Both plans are short-sighted at all times, and never take account how many people that need to be stepped on in order to gain the success they claim can be achieved.

          At the behest of trying to create a job & military force out of men, China created a population of over 160 million single men who have no hopes of finding wives in their country. At the behest of trying to be a premier superpower when it comes to technology, they skimmed off a lot of basic life necessities (clean water, clean air, proper community sanitation, etc) leaving many people outside of the 3 big cities in China to be at risk for numerous health concerns, while those in the 3 big cities will probably die quicker from stress-related concerns.

          I don’t really think there is a simple solution. At all.

          • Me

            My theory on why communism isn’t working for China is that China is double dipping. They’re intra-communist but inter-capitalist. They treat their citizens like a one for all exercise, but they interact with other countries on the capitalist platform: trying to get over, be stronger, richer, more resourceful than the next government. In all fairness, it’s not possible to be truly communist when you depend on goods and services from capitalist sources, and China would end up like Cuba if it tried to be.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Agreed
            To add,

            The black folks in Cuba didn’t do as well under communism as one would expect given that the new government explicitly outlawed racism.

            Rasta communes is typically the new arrivals doing all the work. Basically a pyramid structure.

            Every organization has to handle individuals that want to free ride and game it to their advantage.

        • Mary

          Sorry, but China, Cuba and Russia are not places you’d want to live in. Life is very hard for anyone who goes against the regime too openly and 30 years ago you were out right disappeared. Equality is a myth because the top party members live like royalty while the common people “sacrifice” and toe the party line to survive.
          No, the US should not have embargoed Cuba and pushed them into early 20th century poverty, but life wasn’t a picnic before either.

    • miss t-lee

      “Some of us are no more than one or two generations out of the hood/slums/projects/ghetto/etc, but we act like we came from old wealth and knowledge.”

      This word right here.

    • Brandon Allen

      Real talk, a lot of this involves moving physically. I don’t know how you get the “hook shot” makers to stay in the room and pay to get the trash can moved. Staying in a bad neighborhood after “making it” is tough.

      It’ll probably take wholesale redistribution.

      • Me

        And that’s the problem. The folks that have the ability to turn a bad neighborhood into a good one are deserting those neighborhoods instead of investing in them. This is how/why gentrification takes place. When the folks that “make it” leave, they take they’re purchasing power, voting power, ingenuity, and values out of that neighborhood with them. Then those same folks that “made it” go to some other neighborhood and struggle to stay afloat rather than swimming easily in the place they ran from. In the race to do better, folks are overlooking the gems they came from that could easily be polished into something nice. Buying a house is one of the easiest ways to gain power in your neighborhood. Once you start paying property taxes, you now have the power to demand your local government to do more for your community. You now have the power to partner with your local law enforcement to change crime stats. You now have the power to make your block look better by fixing up your home and lawn and encouraging your neighbors to take similar pride in theirs. And if you’re doing all that in a neighborhood that has lower funding than other neighborhoods, your voice becomes louder than if you did it in a neighborhood where your dollars pale in comparison to your neighbors. Of course there are some neighborhoods that you can’t stay in after you make it (projects, gang territories, etc), but for the average poor [black] person living in a working class neighborhood, it’s a disservice to move up and out because it perpetuates the cycle of poverty instead of addressing it.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          You’ve said so much here. The balance between wanting better for your kids, keeping your neighborhood dynamic the same, and falling into the status trap is real.

          • Me

            Oh yes. I have this conversation often with my friends even about church. A lot of people will jump from church to church whenever something rubs them the wrong way rather than staying, getting involved, and holding the feet of the ministers to the fire when change needs to happen. You can’t build a community by deserting the one you came from. Because when your kids get of age and decide that what you’ve done wasn’t enough, they’ll jump ship too, and it’ll be a constant cycle of starting over. Wealth is not built that way. Wealth is built by the ones who stick around to do the work. Neighborhoods don’t all of a sudden become beautiful when white folks decide to gentrify. They pick the downtrodden “potentials” and put the work into turning it into their vision. There’s no reason black people can’t gentrify their own neighborhoods. If your parents get too old to take care of the house you grew up in, save up your coins and buy it from them so that asset stays in the family. If they decide to turn your old apartment into condos, invest in it. Donate to your old high school. Go out with the kids on Saturdays to do neighborhood pickup with them while they try to rack up community service hours. Be the community you wish you came from.

        • Brandon Allen

          I agree with you in theory. It’s just hard to get people to do that. Especially when schools are tied to property taxes. People aren’t going to take chances on their own kids. Theyll move. Starting a business in a neighborhood is a safer bet than buying a house for peace of minds sake.

          • Me

            I know it. It’s my current gripe with middle Americans of all persuasions. Folks would rather pay private school tuition for a toddler than to get involved in their school board and demand that the public school that THEY ALREADY PAID TAXES FOR get their act together. Nevermind that these are schools that they, themselves, have already proven by virtue of their own matriculations at those very schools CAN do a good job educating kids if the right effort is put into it. No, they will pick up and SKRUGGLE in some uppety neighborhood so their kid can be mediocre in one of the buzz schools rather than to put that money where it could benefit far more kids. It’s the battle between lifestyle (keeping up with the Joneses and their seemingly egghead child) and commune.

            Then the notion of starting a business where you won’t live is no better. You become that person who is willing to take a buck, but won’t leave a buck. So not only are you not investing in that community, you’re effectively robbing that community because whatever amount of business taxes you pay to that municipality is pennies compared to what you spend at YOUR grocery store, restaurants, mom & pop shops, etc. And let’s be honest, you’re probably opening shop there because it’s too expensive to open shop in the cushy neighborhood you choose to live in. All of these things is why I say the folks that leave do a disservice to those communities, but I know that what I’m asking for is another paradigm shift.

            • All of this right here!

          • Mary

            Plus, once the neighborhood gets better property taxes go up and the elderly can no longer afford to stay.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    At my local supermarket, they’re replacing the low wage cashiers with self serve kiosks. This is happening in every industry.

    In a college area, where everyone is consumer savvy, this would actually be convenient.

    But I live in a diverse hood, where there are old people, families, and lots of surprisingly not technically adept teenagers. God forbid they have produce.

    This has made a bad situation worse as a consumer.

    But those 5 cashiers replaced, that’s five teenagers that don’t have after school and summer jobs. That’s a lot of Nike’s and other teenage disposable income items not being bought. That’s even more idle hands.

    Minimum wage is the tip of the iceberg.

    And where is the money saved going?

    • miss t-lee

      “But those 5 cashiers replaced, that’s five teenagers that don’t have after school and summer jobs. That’s a lot of Nike’s and other teenage disposable income items not being bought. That’s even more idle hands.”

      Not just teenagers, that’s 5 jobs any adult could have.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        In my neighborhood, yes. Especially when you cross the river and incomes jumps a few tax brackets.

        That’s sad, but it’s more of a reflection of how black people have been economically degraded by this country for hundreds of years.

        But years ago, east coast grocery stores were unionized. It went from a good job, to what it is now. In recent times, the income was good for a teenager who lived at home.

        Now?

        • miss t-lee

          Well, I’m speaking from a broad perspective. Most folks think minimum wage jobs are being done by HS kids/college students, when these days it’s mostly adults.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            I just wanted to illustrate that when white America catches the sniffles, black America gets cancer.

            Even under a Bernie Sanders style social democracy, they will be first among equals.

            A different problem, but like the kids say it’s intersectional.

            • miss t-lee

              I’m really not talking Black or White here, but it’s really all the same.
              Sh*t is f*cked up.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      And where is the money saved going?

      To shareholders which you may be unbeknownst to you.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        I disagree and most shareholders would as well.

        American companies are sitting on trillions of funds and not giving the shareholders dividends.

        This has been making the news in recent months.

        For example, Apple is sitting on billions offshore because they don’t have anything better to do with it. ( that’s a problem) Money made off a factory that has suicide nets for its employees. (Foxconn)

        One might say stock price, but the stock price rarely reflects book value, and trades in multiplies of earnings.

        I don’t think average Americans really understand what is going on. They all know that they’re losing somehow, but not exactly sure what is happening.

        And a lot of them feel as if they made a mistake at some point and it’s their fault. They are to blame…

        But that’s not what is going on.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Ask yourself this questions,

          when your 401K went down were you pissed?
          were you REALLY concerned about what measures these companies took to get earnings and stock prices up so that you could see an increase in your investments?

          do you know ALL of the companies that comprise your investments and not just the top holdings the investment company puts in the report?

          People need to remember that they also play a role in the decisions of some companies.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Sure there are shareholder activists, but most socially conscious people just sell instead of protest.

            The reality is that you can’t use the secondary stock market to correct issues, because the problem is the market itself. The market is amoral, just like corporations. And the mechanisms of the market and the incentives of individuals have made bearable situations worse.

            The issues of income and wealth disparity go way beyond America.

          • Mary

            But if you scrutinize every company and only went with the ethically, morally or environmentally responsible ones you wouldn’t make any money.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      To shareholders, the top 1% of the corporation staff, their lawyers, and their R&D staff, to help them keep investing in new technologies that allow them to make one-time payments instead of having weekly payroll for “non-essential” staff.

    • Val

      “At my local supermarket, they’re replacing the low wage cashiers with self serve kiosks.”

      I think ‘being replaced’ is not exactly right. Those automated check outs exist along side human cashiers. And from what I’ve seen most people when given the choice choose to have a human check them out.

      So I think in the long run most jobs will not be lost to automated check outs.

      • Me

        Think about this Val. When’s the last time you went to a major retailer (grocery, Target, Walmart, Marshall’s, etc) and didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes to get in front of a teller? When’s the last time you saw more than half the registers open outside of holiday season? When I was younger, I remember customers could just ask a manager to open up another register if the line got long, and an associate would come running up. Try asking for another register to open up these days, and more likely than not, there won’t be enough staff on hand to fulfill that request. Those closed registers are jobs that were downsized. Now when I go to Home Depot or even CVS, what I see is one manager sitting at the front of the automated check out lines ready to swipe a badge if a customer needs assistance. The ratio of living employee to automation will swing to the bots sooner than you think.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Heck try finding an associate to help you at some stores. *looks at Home Depot* I know that when I go into Bed Bath and Beyond, for example, if it gets busy they call the staff off the floor to ring until the rush is over. The people still shopping get miffed because there’s no one to help them. Folks complain to management but it hasn’t changed the companies behavior.

          • Val

            But does that have to do with automation or just companies trying to save money by having as few people on duty as possible?

            • Me

              It’s both. Automation reduces the number of employees you need to get all of the tasks accomplished. The only place I see this being slow to implement is clothing stores only because there would need to be some strategy on how to keep losses down from theft. But other goods, the writing is on the wall.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                Mall stores, clothing in particular, have been losing to internet sales, the ultimate brick and mortar automation

        • Val

          Well, I was at a Walgreen’s store the other day and there was a long line and I heard an announcement over the PA that said, “I See Three”. Next thing you know two more cashiers opened two registers. So there’s that.

          • miss t-lee

            Same thing happened to me yesterday at Walgreen’s…lol

        • Mary

          Did you see tEx Machina? Except for the kill your -maker part companies could buy humanoid robots who think and look like humans to replace tellers and even take care of patients and children. If they put a few of those in service to boost customer service few people would miss humans, unfortunately.
          I don’t think it’ll happen tomorrow, but probably within your children’s lifetime. (I’d stay away from the ones made in China!)

          • Me

            Oh god! This makes me think of every damn time I have to call into customer service and they hit me with the “talk to me” automation system. I always press zero until a human answers. I don’t mind machines, but it creeps me out when they try to make machines treat me like a human (my one exception is that I think those smoke alarms that talk instead of beep are really dope, especially for the kiddies). If they give me a robot to interact with, I just wanna push buttons. I’m not trying to talk to inanimate objects after a lifetime of being told that makes me look crazy.

      • AlwaysCC

        most jobs won’t be lost to automation. but jobs that require little/no skills most likely will be the first that are replaced by automation.

        when it comes down to the bottom line, it is a cost/benefit analysis. will building/purchasing/maintaining automation cost more than hiring/training a new worker? the answer will vary across the board. companies are downsizing and managing by attrition at all levels due to advances in technology and automating processes.

        • Val

          I agree. My overall point on the thread is that it’s alarmist to think that all of a sudden millions of jobs are going to be lost to automation. No society, especially a capitalist one, could survive if that was even remotely true.

          • AlwaysCC

            i don’t think there will be massive layoffs either. but when we discuss these “lower wage” jobs, many of them require little skill and will probably be the first jobs to be replaced. and i think over time that practice will creep into other areas. so it won’t necessarily be a one-time layoff, but the effects will definitely be felt in the marketplace.

          • LMNOP

            No one can hear the voice of reason though, because robots don’t have ears, and it’s all robots these days.

            • Val

              Lol

      • L8Comer

        7/10 at the grocery store or CVS a human has to come assist me b/c the machine won’t take my coupon, or says I need to remove an extra item from the bag when I didn’t put one other, or just b/c help is required.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    We all deserve a living wage that works with the market. We shouldn’t drown in debt because everything goes up in price except the worth of your work.

    However, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we are viewed as numbers. Not as people. Every single day that we forget that is another day our pleas will be ignored.

    If you don’t believe me, think of your job right now. Most of you get paid in a fair manner, or perhaps less than that, if you aren’t doing multiple hustles. With that said, if you got injured tomorrow, how sure are you that your job would do right by you, not because they fear a lawsuit, but because you’re valuable to them? Most of us can’t say that at all. They’d drop us in a heartbeat and replace someone else to do our job. Might take them a while, but then again, you’re doing the job of 3 people because they figured out how to cram all those jobs into one position so they wouldn’t have to pay 3 salaries. This alone is why even if they grow the minimum wage to $!5, it won’t fix the loop hole.

    Your local supermarkets, chain stores, etc have Self Service lanes instead of cashiers. McDonalds is installing machines to compute orders so they could eliminate half the staff, and only require a hand full of servers on deck, instead of a whole staff. The loopholes aren’t going anywhere. Just because we demand one thing doesn’t mean those in charge haven’t already figured out a way to counter that option. We need to fight for our humanity over everything else. Because otherwise, we just remain as numbers, and numbers only have value when they decrease or increase, not when they speak.

    • DBoySlim

      Your local supermarkets, chain stores, etc have Self Service lanes
      instead of cashiers. McDonalds is installing machines to compute orders
      so they could eliminate half the staff, and only require a hand full of
      servers on deck, instead of a whole staff.

      Easy solution. Don’t support that s#it. I never use the self check out If it doesn’t give me a discount (I’m looking at you Aldi). Why let the corporations get away with charging you to work for them?

      • miss t-lee

        “Why let the corporations get away with charging you to work for them?”

        I knew I wasn’t the only one who looked at it like this. Main reason, I don’t use em either.

      • Me

        Interesting concept. But what say you to the theoretical rebuttal that more automation frees up the working class to learn more sophisticated skills and become even greater innovators rather than button pushers?

        • DBoySlim

          Mindless work is necessary.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        I agree, but getting everyone on board with that logic has always been the biggest hassle, especially if people believe their options are slim.

    • PDL – Cape Girl

      “how sure are you that your job would do right by you, not because they fear a lawsuit, but because you’re valuable to them?”

      I know for certain most getting treated like a stepchild. If you’re getting love and coddled, likely you’re doing something where the company benefits. They ain’t never feeling any employee like that. That’s why they have worker’s comp, ad & d, etc. Just ain’t the kind of world we live in. Eeeevery now and again, you might find a company showing some love to a great employee but I would never look for or expect.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        That’s how it always plays out in my head. They just love using their staff until there is nothing left, unless you’ve done something exceptional for them. Even then though, they’ll still find a way to pimp you out.

More Like This