American Workers Deserve A Pay Raise

Those opposed to raising the minimum wage should try living on it.

Those opposed to raising the minimum wage should try living on it.

Recently, President Obama proclaimed economic inequality to be “the defining challenge of our time” which coincided nicely with demonstrations by fast-food workers in over 100 cities demanding a raise in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00 but  Republicans have consistently opposed any such increase.

The American worker has been outsourced, offshored, downsized, screwed over and kicked around as being lazy ingrates. A $2.75 raise for minimum wage workers wouldn’t put a stinking gallon of gas in the tank of the Mercedes-Benz E-class crew of defenders of downward economic mobility who bitch and moan that even a modest increase will kneecap the work ethic.

Corporations have done their damnedest to kill incentive, abandoned any pretense of loyalty to their work force, and exercise ruthless fealty to the Great God Profit while demanding more and more concessions from their workers and control over their lives. All the while expecting a “positive attitude” to being repeatedly screwed over and shat upon.

We exalt the entrepreneur and flip the bird to the worker.   Conservatives howl paying more in minimum wages takes money from the businesses to give to people who should be more motivated than to go out and make more than $7.25 an hour.  This is circular logic at its worse.  If everyone is making $20+ an hour, who is going to flip those burgers, wait those tables and wash those dishes?

We’re not loving it.

It costs McDonald’s about 70 cents to make a Big Mac and then they turn around and sell it for $3 bucks. It costs Mickey D’s more to sell salads than burgers which is why it always makes those commercials where young, hip, multiracial and slim people are happily chomping into a Big Mac.

McDonald’s global sales in the third quarter of 2013 rose to $1.52 billion. The only punishment the uber-wealthy and multinational corporations are suffering are possible backsprain from having to lug all those money bags around.

The only people against a raise in the minimum wage are those not making minimum wages. Here’s a quick four-question test that asks Could YOU Survive on Fast-Food Wages?

The American worker needs a pay raise and people working in the fast food factories definitely need it most. My daughter came home from college this summer and worked at a Mickey D’s. She got cursed out, called names (including the N-word) and threatened. She gritted her teeth and toughed it out, but she hated the experience. Working in fast food sucks and I do not understand why this is an issue.

minimum-wage-

Personal stories of success and failure are just that–personal. They can serve as object lessons, but they should not be taken as representative for the group . Somebody pulls themselves up by the bootstraps and is now pulling down six figures? Great! Good for you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, but that is your good fortune and your happy stroke of luck is yours and no one else’s.

Anyone who believes working a waitress, a cashier, or parking cars requires no skill has never tried to get the food and drink orders straight for a table of ten, toiled on their feet at a Wal-Mart checking out a line full of unhappy, unruly shoppers and their tired, cranky, howling kids or successfully navigated a luxury BMW into a narrow space between two massive SUV’s and still left enough clearance to open the door without scratching the finish.

Everybody enjoys dumping on the lowly wage slave until they need their coffee cup refilled.  Try asking a single mother trying to afford rent, childcare, food, transportation, utilities, clothing and medicine on a lousy $7.25 an hour what difference an extra $2.75 might make.

Telling other people they haven’t worked hard enough and they haven’t taken advantage of their opportunities sounds too much like Horny Herman Cain’s “if you’re not rich, blame yourself” line.

Giving a little more to the working people doesn’t mean taking a lot more from the wealthy people. Oh, and by the way? Not every waiter and waitress or day care worker or even the greeter at Wal-Mart aspires to go to college or start a Fortune 500 company and should not be looked down upon as being lazy and lacking ambition because of it.

It flies in the face of the rugged individualism hype to concede most successful people get that way with some help along the way, but sorry folks. It’s a fact, and as mad as conservatives were when the president said it, all he did was expand upon a thought previously expressed by Elizabeth Warren during her Senate run.

The Shero the Left's been looking for?

Sen. Warren is a class warrior. A working class warrior.

I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Word.  We’re all in this together.  Don’t believe the greedy and the selfish who claim they got theirs all by themselves and nobody helped them get it.  Giving a little more to those toiling for the minimum wage isn’t about to stop anyone in the top one percent from having a very Merry Christmas.

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Everybody’s Watching The Charles Ramsey Show

Charles is in charge and loving’ every minute of it.

The life span of a media shooting star is roughly akin to that of a common house fly.  There’s a surge of attention with cameras and microphones.   Did a crime occur?   Is there an angle or hook that makes the crime unique and unusual?

What happened?  Who’s involved?  Do we have a victim, a villain and a hero?   The folks at home love news stories where it’s easy to separate the good guys from the bad.   The case of the kidnapped, raped and imprisoned women in Cleveland for over a decade by Ariel Castro met all the requirements of Must See television programming

To call Charles Ramsey…colorful is to be woefully understated.   Here we had a man casually talking about eating his Big Mac and how his neighbor had just been revealed as the-Worst-Human-Being-In-the-World.

Ramsey ruminated about Castro:

“My neighbor’s got big testicles because we see this dude every day.”
 “I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to salsa music…”
“We eat ribs with this dude.”
 “He’s not doing anything but the average stuff. You see what I’m saying? There’s nothing    exciting about him…well, until today.”

Finally he cemented his Internet superstar status with his line about his chance encounter with the long-missing April Berry.

“I knew something was wrong when a little, pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway.”

Thus was born the line that launched a thousand internet memes.

His hair was wild and unkempt.  The white T-shirt he wore didn’t exactly look freshly laundered.    The guy looked like he should be working under the hood of a car and not playing the part of the dashing hero.

Everything about Charles Ramsey seems set up to be ridiculed.   Everything except this:  He did the right thing.   He helped where others might not have choosing not to get involved.  Ramsey saved a life.  There’s no arguing no matter how unkempt, unpolished and unpretentious Ramsey’s demeanor none of it matters more than his good deed.    Which doesn’t mean there weren’t those who were made a bit uncomfortable by Ramsey.


One blogger put it this way,  “I must admit that I am guilty of watching and laughing at Ramsey throughout the video, but then I began to think about all of the recent “African-American” internet sensations and came to the conclusion that people are laughing at us, not with us. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to offensive/embarrassing videos the internet/YOUTUBE does not discriminate, but taking a closer look at Ramsey, Antoine Dodson, and Sweet Brown one can only think that these working class, uneducated African-Americans are fulfilling a need America has had for over 150 years of seeing African- Americans perform.”

Why, if Brother Ramsey would just get his teeth fixed, cut his hair, put on a clean white shirt with a collar and a tie, splashed on some Old Spice and smiled real wide and pretty for the camera he’d be a credit to his race and a hero we could cheer for.

Anybody uncomfortable with Ramsey’s speech and appearance needs to back off, sit down, shut up and regroup because its their priorities that are out of whack.   Ramsey did a good deed and that is worth a hi-five, not the back of the hand treatment from the arbiters of authenticity.

“But he’s a clown,” they sputter with indignation.  “Just LOOK at him.  Listen to how he speaks.  He’s an embarrassment.”

There’s only been one Sidney Poitier out there in our lifetime and everyone isn’t going to be the Perfect Racial Representative.   What is it about Ramsey that distresses some people so much?  Is it his hairstyle (half fro/half not)?   Is it his inarticulate way of speaking or his fondness for fast food burgers?

What about it is about the guy that bothers so many about Ramsey?

Could it be this?

“O-TAY!”

Who precisely is Ramsey embarrassing?  Certainly not  Amanda Berry. Michelle Knight  or Gina DeJesus whom Ramsey helped to freed from ten years in a living hell.    Like most horrific crimes of this nature where someone is held captive for years against their will, the nation was riveted to this story.   Then something else bright and shiny came along to capture the attention of the media and they and the rest of us wandered away.   That’s how short-Attention Span Theater works.

While  Ramsey’s moment of fame may disgust the High Priests of the Black Pride Brigade,  how many of them look just like him when they wake up in the morning?  How many of them dread bumping into a Charles Ramsey lookalike they’re related to at their next family reunion?

Charles Ramsey is not only one of us in his ordinariness, he’s the face we see glaring back in the mirror after a hard night of drinking and partying.    Some of us don’t much like that face and wish it would just go away.

The same way as earlier media-made stars/Internet sensations Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice and Antoine “Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife” Dodson quickly cashed in on their fleeting fame, Ramsey is making his move.

He’s going to be a motivational speaker.   Talking to whom and telling them what I could not begin to guess.

Enjoy the ride, Charles.   There will plenty of others looking for a way to turn a bizarre crime into a money-maker.   You only happened to be the first to cut the deal.

Anybody with their Jockeys in a wad over Americans (particularly the White Americans) laughing at The Charles Ramsey Show needs to take a pill and relax.  Everybody plays the fool sometime.   Some will even make a buck off of it.  Relax.  It’s not as if this program will be renewed for another season.

Ask these former captives if Ramsey is a hero.