Scrooge city! Employers hotly defend poverty-level wages

By Caitlin Kelly

‘Tis the season!

Check out the 300 comments — and climbing (including a long one from me) — at the Harvard Business Review blog where a Wharton professor, Peter Capelli, (gasp, competing B-school!) posted the following argument in favor of actually paying workers a living wage:

Jobs paying $15 per hour are not the concern, though. Those are routinely seen as good jobs now. The concern is those jobs paying at or around the minimum wage, $7.25 per hour or only $1160 per month for a
full-time job. About 1.6 million workers in the U.S. are paid at that level, and a surprising 2 million are actually paid less than that under various exemptions. If you are an employer paying the minimum wage or close to it, the Government has determined that your employees need help to pay for food, housing, and healthcare even if they have no family and no one to look after but themselves.  As we’ve been reminded this season, many of those workers also need help from families and coworkers to get by.

No doubt the reason low-wage companies continue to pay low wages is because there are plenty of workers willing to take jobs at those wages, and the need to pay more to avoid the risk of being unionized is
largely gone. But “can” and “ought” are not the same thing.  Nothing about the minimum wage implies that it is morally ok as long as you pay at least that much. It simply says that the government will prosecute you if try to pay less than that level.

A longstanding principle in all developed countries including the U.S. is that labor is not like a commodity where taking advantage of the market to squeeze down prices is a fact of life. Employees have human rights that do not disappear when they enter the workplace. Even in business law, principles like the “mechanic’s lien” say that employees should be paid before other creditors because they are more vulnerable than businesses and do not get profits to compensate them for risks.

We’re at an inflection point in the U.S., where some low-wage workers, unprecedented in decades, have actually begun to stage walk-outs, strikes and protests in recent weeks.

In Germany — where 9,000 workers are employed by Amazon — employees have just gone on strike.

Wage list
Wage list (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have — as we say here in sports-metaphor-obsessed-America — skin in this particular game.

I worked 2.5 years making $11/hour (the federal minimum is still $7.25/hour) selling costly outdoor clothing at an upscale mall, the subject of my book, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail.”

No matter how insanely productive we were — one of us sold $16,000 worth of merch one holiday Saturday — we never got more hours or  serious raise (mine was 30 cents/hour) or a boost into a low-management position with a (barely) liveable salary.

The endless argument in favor paying crap is that low-wage workers are all teens, seniors and/or have no skills.

False! A recent survey of 436 New York City retail workers found that two-thirds of them are supporting another family member on their wages. Their average age? 24.

I also pay my assistants $15/hour, albeit part-time, about 10 hours a month. This year I paid out $1,5000 in wages to one worker, a significant amount for a one-person shop — me — and a healthy sum to a person new to my line of work, in effect, someone essentially entry-level I was training and paying.

I am appalled, disgusted and fed up with corporate greed, corporate welfare and the right-wing outrage that all low-wage jobs are low-skilled. They’re not.

Every single job adds profit to an employer’s bottom line or — in union-free America — it’s swiftly cut, with no severance or warning.

Walmart and MacDonalds workers suck up my tax dollars in Medicaid and food stamps because their greedhead CEOs think this is moral, equitable and justifiable way to treat workers.

I disagree.

How about you?

37 thoughts on “Scrooge city! Employers hotly defend poverty-level wages

  1. Just shared this with Peter, Caitlin! Asking American taxpayers to subsidize their miserly ways is outrageous. Perhaps if more people understood this they would make different retail choices…

    1. Great. Thanks.

      The comment thread is a perfect storm of on-line class warfare.

      Did you hear (?!) about the 30-yr-old man in a Range Rover shot dead this week at a upscale NJ mall? I suspect we will see more of this.

  2. I think anytime someone works hard but still can’t pay their bills or feed themselves, it’s up to us to either increase their pay so they can meet expenses or we have to help them. I think they should do the former rather than the latter.

  3. Wow… one commend on the Harvard blog hit the nail on the head. The 50’s paid $1 an hour for minimum wage, and 60 years later, we’re only making 6-7 dollars an hour. Inflation apparently should bring the wage to $18.00 per hour. American Government (And Canada)…get your shit together.

      1. Steve

        Counter them? They are in bed with each other. Big business today is forced to pay off our government to be able to secure a profit through graft and bribery. They no longer have to build a better mousetrap or provide a better service for the consumer. It’s now about WHO you know not WHAT you know. On this point we are both in agreement. Business should NOT be conducted in Washington. I would like to see a Constitutional Amendment that bans any and all lobbyists and also limits the terms of all elected officials. Lets allow businesses the opportunity to compete on Main Street instead of the back rooms of the Capitol building. No argument from me

  4. Steve

    Please first tell me where the government gets the authority to tell a private business how much ANY employee is worth. Minimum wage jobs are generally entry level and/ or unskilled or temporary jobs where the unskilled can get trained or realize they can’t make a decent living on minimum wage. If you are going to force a business to pay whatbYOU deem is fair instead of them who actually have to PAY the employee, why stop at $10/ hr? Why not make it $25 or union scale and make it $40 or more? A business will pay what the employee is worth to them, NOT what the employe or you THINK he’s worth. It doesn’t work that way, or at least it didn’t when America was free. If you want to make a higher wage, educate or train yourself so your value is increased and because of your skill sets you become worth a higher wage instead of forcing a business to comply at the point of a gun. Capitalism works EVERY time, Marxism has failed everywhere its been tried. It is failing in America too, or haven’t you been noticing?

    1. Whew. It’s been a while….and I knew this one would hit home for you.

      “Minimum wage jobs are generally entry level and/ or unskilled or temporary jobs”

      Not true. They are not “unskilled.” Every job requires skills — maybe not what you, as an individual employer, consider a skill. But I can assure that a 100% unskilled person is never going to be hired or paid. “Just” working retail — putting up with customers’ endless shit — takes a whole range of skills in itself, from memorizing product and service information to physical stamina to listening and selling.

      They are hardly temporary jobs — if it’s the ONLY job available to you (try facing age discrimination and/or a dying industry) — often becoming a job of desperate last resort.

      “realize they can’t make a decent living on minimum wage.”

      Which is why dozens of cities have passed “living wage” laws. Their economies have not exploded into fiery flames of utter devastation. As you well know (?) millions of educated Americans have lost well-paid jobs and companies are refusing to hire — despite record corporate profits. Everyone needs to make money to buy food and housing. Why should anyone willing to work hard — and **earn profit for their employer** — suffer poverty wages? If you can’t make a profit and pay decently, your business isn’t too healthy, is it?

      “If you want to make a higher wage, educate or train yourself so your value is increased and because of your skill sets you become worth a higher wage”

      You know I respect you, but this is utter bullshit. Not every person HAS THE MONEY to attain more education (it costs money, remember? They are already living in poverty AND working full-time). Nor, if they are working 2 or 3 low-wage jobs at once, do they have the time to attend classes or do the work necessary. I saw this dilemma firsthand among my 14 co-workers at The North Face. Some had kids. Some had 90-minute each way commutes to even *get* to work.

      Yes, we all need to improve our skills. I get it and I agree, in principle. But there is no magic wand to wave that will suddenly make a lot of unemployed/underpaid people able to get or keep a better-paying job.

      I do not think keeping working people in desperate poverty — sucking up MY tax dollars in food stamps and Medicaid because fucking Walmart is TOO CHEAP to pay properly — is acceptable behavior in ANY country in the world. TELL ME — why on earth should I pay one penny of my hard-earned taxes in aid to workers that Walmart (raking in $$$$$$$$$ in profits off of their labor) refuses to pay a living wage? Either your business can pay its workers or it can’t. Corporate welfare is THE ultimate scam of all!

      Capitalism is a highly efficient system for some. It works extremely poorly for millions of desperate Americans who are lining employers’ pockets with profit — yet seeing NONE of it for themselves. This disgusts me. It’s greedy and lacks any notion of morality.

  5. YES to all you just said, Caitlin! Thank you for saying it all so well.

    Over and over I come back to the same question: what is the purpose of society? What is the purpose of our economic system? Is it to make giant profits for some at the expense of everyone else? Is this truly better for human beings? I don’t think so.

    If more people come to realize that our current setup is not serving our true needs, we can change it – respecting the value of everyone’s work and showing it by paying a living wage will, in the long run, be better for us as a society.

    1. Hey, so good to hear from you again! Thank you…

      I agree. I feel like the U.S. — a country I chose to come to in 1989 with high hopes — is stumbling toward the ugliest possible version of itself. Child poverty and income inequality are at all-time highs not seen since the Depression, when (historically) people seemed to feel a much greater sense of solidarity with those who struggle.

      Where is our WPA and CCC? Millions of Americans are suffering the bitter sting of capitalism while the elite are richer and richer and richer. It is shocking to me.

      I was not at all surprised to see a 30 yr old man driving an $80K vehicle shot dead at an upscale mall recently. It is horrible, but I am amazed it is not happening more often.

    2. Steve

      Ginny-The purpose of our society is to provide a place for its citizens to live and work with guaranteed OPPORTUNITY to work hard and succeed. Government has now taken upon itself the role of trying to guarantee the results of our labor by determine we are equal and deserving of compensation even if we refuse to earn it. Do you work for a living? Is the wage you work for yours or the governments? I’m not talking taxes, I’m talking about the commodity you trade your time for because that’s what a wage actually is. It’s a measurement of what YOUR time is worth. Let me try to give you a quick example if you will allow me. Say you went to college for 8 year to be a doctor, your time would be more valuable because you invested YOUR time into obtaining a skill that someone who quit HS posesses not to even mention the cost of obtaining that skill, thus YOUR time is more valuable as a commodity. The role of the society is to guarantee YOU the right to keep the fruit of YOUR labor. There is nothing wrong with making a fortune or even an obscene profit if you earn it. Bill Gates is a hugely wealthy man because. He does what no one in the world is able to do. Ryan Howard makes millions of dollars a year because he can hit a curve ball 33% of the time. The CEO of Exxon makes 20 million dollars a year because he can run a corporation with 180,00 employees. How many people in the world do you think have that skill set yet you vilify him because he’s a businessman. Why is the CEO or businessman expected to surrender his right to the fruit of his labor as well?

  6. Steve

    First of all, you didn’t answer my question as what authority does the government have to tell privately owned businesses how much they have to pay an employee? I know that you are educated but have you ever taken even an introductory course in basic economics to be able to understand how commerce works? You know, basic supply and demand stuff?

    This blog site is a very limited place to discuss this topic but I do however wish to further respond to a couple of your points. What you are advocating by giving the government the right to boost the minimum wage is most of all a surrender of an individuals rights to determine their own destiny. If the government can tell an individual how much they must pay at a minimum, they also can tell how much is too much at the other end of the spectrum, which they’ve also already done, by the way. Remember how criminal it was a while ago for these CEOs that were making millions of dollars? That is the other end of it. Now, I suppose you probably think that’s a good idea also because it ‘evens the playing field’ and equality after al is a good thing, right? Not so fast. Lets jump back for a moment to your ‘skills’ comment about minimum wage earners having skills too. In that you are correct, they do have skills, they have skills that command a minimum wage. In an economy that is governed by supply and demand, which we still have here in the US, the pool of people that possess that skill set is very large which means the business owner can choose from to fill that posi tion because the requirements are low. Now if say NASA is looking for an aerospace engineer, that pool of applicants will be very small to choose from therefore they must pay a higher wage to secure that applicants services.

    What you are advocating is giving the government the right to determine that process instead of supply and demand. Now if you choose to do that, and you can do that as we see every day the government doing so several things can and will happen as a result. First of al SOME employees will actually make more money per hour. Companies such as Walmart will pay their employees more. They will not hire more people and they will cut their work force and they will pass the cost of these new regulations on to the consumer, me and you and anyone that shops at Walmart as a cost of doing business. Also what will happen is that small businesses like Steve’s ABC Shop, which employ way more people in this country than Walmart will also have to comply. Lets say a small business with ten employees, two of which are minimum wage jobs. Now of those two, one is a high school kid that comes in part time on weekends and after school. He sweeps the floors and while he’s here, at his entry level job he is learning basic job skills that stay with him the rest of his life. Things like showing up on time, taking orders, interacting with customers and other employees and things as basic as cashing your paycheck and realizing how hard one has to work and how long to be able to afford that item they seek to purchase. The other one is an older woman that wants to pick up a few bucks a week so she can have a little extra spending money of her own and somewhere to go and do other than sit around the house watching soap operas. If you mandate that Steve now has to pay those two a higher wage, through regulation, those two, or at least one will lose THEIR job. Also, the other eight that work at this company are going to want more money for themselves because they are now making minimum wage as well. Do you think the owner is going to NOT control his direct costs? What about his percentage of matching SS taxes, Workers Compensation rate, insurances and other regulations he must comply with?

    There is far more involved in just waving a magic wand and demanding businesses pay a higher wage. The additional costs are real and must be paid for by those you choose to burden with your regulations. They have no choice as they are faced with FORCE to comply or else. This may really surprise you but businesses are NOT created to fulfill some Utopian ideal about us all being equal and content, they are created to make a profit for the owner and or stockholders. Quite frankly I for one and sick and tired of a large segment of our society bitching and complaining about having to deal with the results of the choices they’ve made for their own lives. People choose to drop out of school or do drugs or get their girlfriend pregnant before they are married or not go to trade school or whatever other excuse they come up with as to why they are in whatever situation they find themselves in. Why am I always the one accused of being greedy and without morality? I paid my dues. Where were all these complainers when I was working 80 hours a week to start my business. Where were they when my kids were eating store brand cereal and hot dogs because that was all we had? You want to talk about MY morality? What is moral about taking something you didn’t work for from someone who did?

    1. Here we go.

      No one deserves to be treated like garbage — being paid pennies and sucking up GOVERNMENT funds (my taxes, Steve!) by a company ***making a profit*** from their labor. It’s really very simple: you can either afford to hire and pay your staff, (and most low-wage jobs are part-time with no benefits) or you cannot. Simple!

      The next set of calculations — if you are a private company — is how much you will claim as pure profit and how much you decide to pay your workers. If you are not making a profit, you suck!

      Some people HAVE to own a $100K car, a 7,000 sf home and school their children privately. Then pay their workers pennies because they just “can’t afford” to pay them better. Some people think that’s a terrific choice. Others don’t. The minimum wage — which at $7.25 hour buys very very little in 2014 — is set by the government to moderate greed. Hah. Like that’s working out so well…

      It’s a little insulting, your opener. Yes, I studied economics. But Steve — tit for tat here — I also studied philosophy, which questions the most basic and fundamental assumptions we make (as voters and legislators) about what makes a society worth living in. And I, personally, am sickened to the bone marrow by this FUCK YOU mindset that is growing every day in this country.

      Does it really make you feel so much better about all your perfectly-made life/work choices to know that this nation’s rate of child poverty is one of the world’s highest now? Or….that’s “not your problem.” It IS your problem, whether you want it to be or not — because your tax dollars are paying for it.

      It is the ultimate threat — we’ll fire you!!!!! — of raising minimum wage. Your two least likely job-holders — the teen (living with parents) and older woman — are specious choices. Read the RAP report for some data-driven perspective on who works these jobs — neither one of them in this category.

      As someone (are you unaware of what I do for a living?) who writes on business for the NYT and WSJ, I’m quite aware how business is run. I run my own small business, with an annual profit margin of 30 percent or more. It’s not rocket science. My industry pays shit — so I ruthlessly control my costs.

      What I never understand in our “discussions” is why or how you personalize everything…?

      Are you really the only person in this country who feels this way? Who, alone among the 42 million of us who are now self-employed and who also hire and pay others, has made sacrifices of time and energy and lifestyle to achieve your goals? Many of us are doing this as well. It does not — de facto — preclude a larger civic engagement and concern about the millions of Americans who are screwed by corporations who REFUSE to hire and are making the highest profits in decades.

      If you choose to live in a society with ZERO concern for larger moral or ethical concerns for those who cannot find paid work (millions; we have the highest proportion of long-time job seekers ever) or simply expect not to need GOVERNMENT AID (that thing you hate so much) while working FT and **earning profits for their employers**…cool.

      Not me, Steve. Not me.

      “Quite frankly I for one and sick and tired of a large segment of our society bitching and complaining about having to deal with the results of the choices they’ve made for their own lives. People choose to drop out of school or do drugs or get their girlfriend pregnant before they are married or not go to trade school or whatever other excuse they come up with as to why they are in whatever situation they find themselves in. Why am I always the one accused of being greedy and without morality? I paid my dues. Where were all these complainers when I was working 80 hours a week to start my business. Where were they when my kids were eating store brand cereal and hot dogs because that was all we had? You want to talk about MY morality? What is moral about taking something you didn’t work for from someone who did?”


      If your vocational choices have (as they truly appear to) left you so bitter and angry, why did you CHOOSE to make them? If you so resent the hassles of hiring and paying and valuing others’ labor, why not just shut down your company and go work for someone else? They’ll pay you…whatever. Fire you…whenever. YOU chose your path. No one is forcing you to do anything.

      That’s the “liberty” of capitalism. Choose your path, Steve, thorns and all.

      1. Steve

        I did choose. I chose to go into business because I wanted more for myself and my family than a minimum wage job. The difference is I was willing to do what it takes to accomplish that feat just as you did. You went to college, I worked my ass off for years in the hot sun and scrimped and saved and risked all I worked for for years for the CHANCE to be better than a minimum wage earner. That’s the problem with our society and why we have so many making minimum wages. They AREN’T WILLING to do what it takes, they want to be taken care of by someone else without the effort and are unwilling to live with the consequences of their choice and it is a choice. There are people without arms and legs that work and make it, maybe not to the tune of $100K a year but what’s wrong with that. You travel around the world, what country has it better than here? My gosh, even the poorest among us here have color TV, food, even cell phones and subsidized rent. I am perfectly willing to step up and help someone who is truly in need but I’m sorry that is NOT what I see going on anymore, at least not where I sit. Go ahead and call me greedy, selfish, whatever but welfare is paying like 50K plus now for doing nothing. That’s your idea of charity? I’d rather be poor than a slave. That’s your solution, keep doing what were doing? And the end result is what? equality? We are all equally miserable? Where has what you advocate ever worked? Free market capitalism has produced the most economically prosperous nation the world has ever seen. What has changed is that the Progressive left has sold us the lie that everybody can have what they want without working for it. They can’t! There are no free rides. The government can only give away what first belongs to someone else. The only thing that hasn’t been decided on is who it belongs to. Until we answer that question as a society all these other problems are moot.

      2. So the question remains unresolved: what is to be done (let them all die in a ditch somewhere? have their kids shoot us dead at malls to get our cars away from us?) for the people who refuse to work or have no skills to work or do not have the education to work? Not everyone has the same innate ability. Yes, I said it.

        I am NO fan of welfare mooching. You know that. We’ve discussed that before. It **disgusts** me. We are in total agreement on that point, even if that surprises you.

        But you and I, able to build a business and keep it going, are not saddled by:

        1) damaged mental health (can’t work or work at a high level); 2) damaged physical health; 3) generational drug addiction and dependence (crap role models); 4) drug or substance addiction ourselves; 5) the inability to simply function well in a highly competitive culture.

        I was born: white, female, Canadian and into an upper-income family. I have worked since I was 15, hard. But I was also blessed with some advantages heading into the game of life — my entire university year’s tuition cost me $660 a year to attend, then as now, Canada’s top school (now $5K/yr for resident Canadians.) I had NO debt at all when I graduated (thanks to progressive Canadian social policy — OMG) and that allowed me to pick and choose my work (freelance) instead of taking some crap job and turning into a desperate wage slave.

        All of these are HUGE advantages over someone who can’t even speak intelligently and to adults. Success is a complex mix of skill, talent, hard work, attitude and LUCK. Much as you loathe liberal pieties, I equally can’t stand the Right’s self-righteousness. We ALL work hard, Steve, no matter what our political views.

        Some leech of the system. So….simply blow up the system?

        Hey — Target just got all its computers hacked? Should we shut down all commerce because one (HUGE) store effed up? And — oooops — didn’t even plan to tell shoppers their data might be compromised?

        There are no simple solutions to greed, laziness or stupidity. I wish.

  7. Steve

    I realize we are not going to agree on a lot of things. I also realize we as a society are pretty screwed up in a lot of ways. My beef I guess and why as you say I take things personally is because I guess I take things personally. I agree with you that things are screwed up but as I se it they are that way for a reason. I think that over the course of at least the last fifty years or so we have come down with all these ‘problems’ and I ask myself why? What has changed? Economically speaking I think the thing that has changed the most is how a large percentage of the American people are now perfectly willing to exchange their rights AND obligations as citizens and members of society to the government for the promise of cradle to grave benefits that they have become too lazy to secure for themselves. I find it interesting that I have asked you at least twice to whom MY wages belong to? Me or the government? Don’t feel bad though, I’ve asked this same, I believe most basic question to a myriad of self professed liberals and have never gotten an answer. Usually they respond with something along the line of being a member of society requires us to pay taxes, to help the needy. OK, I get that and I am not disputing that per se. I am talking about your wage. That which YOU EARN by performing whatever it is you do wether that is business owner, street sweeper, writer or whatever. Who does that belong too? Forget about how much that is for a moment and just tell who it belongs to? If it belongs to me, which I believe it does, then it should be mine to do with as I SEE FIT., not you or anyone else. Now, does that mean I can be greedy and keep it all for myself and live in a big house on Long Island? ABSOLUTELY! It’s mine to do with as I see fit. I as a Christian however believe that I have an obligation to my fellow man to help those in need because when I look at how God has blessed me I can come to no other conclusion and believe it or not I live what I preach. I do this because I WANT to which means I volunteer to do what I WISH to do with what BELONGS TO ME. I earned it, I can do what I want with it. Now, on the other hand, if what I earn belongs to the government to do with as they see fit whether I agree with who or what they give it to then it is no longer voluntary, it is forced and nothing more than theft at the point of a gun because ultimately only the government has the ability to take by force. If that is what you profess, then you have relegated me to nothing more than that of a slave and taken my freedom from me to keep what Ive worked for. A wage is nothing more than a commodity that is exchanged for an individuals time. These are basic human principles that need to be addressed before we can fix ANY problems we face as a society. Sorry to take these things so personal, but to me, my freedom and God given rights are very personal. All these other things can be worked out by changing percentages and spending levels, that’s easy but the fundamental principle of who owns me and my propertymust be addressed first and on that issue I am unwilling to compromise. I will not live as a slave!

    1. Whew again. 🙂

      The larger problem — not about YOU, but society/culture/policy-making — is how/if/when and why we (by we, the people, i.e. represented through our government — sometimes) help people who struggle. How we set a basic floor beneath NO ONE will be allowed to sink.

      I’m glad you are Christian and have a conscience. (Same for anyone of any faith — or no professed faith.) Compassion and conscience are all we have to separate us from brute savagery. Oh….and government policy! If everyone were kind enough to help others, we’d be all set. Maybe. Maybe not.

      I have a HUGE problem….HUGE! — with how the government chooses to spend the taxes I pay to it, state and federal. Roads and bridges and libraries and health care (even for the indigent), yes. Corruption and kickbacks and wars. Nope. But it is what it is. I have NO effective say (even if I could vote) over where my very hard-earned money is being spent. I 100% disagree with many forms of government spending. But I also agree 100% with others.

      “A wage is nothing more than a commodity that is exchanged for an individuals time.”

      No! Not at all. It is a market-driven (beyond federal or state minimums) number. Beyond low-wage work, you *negotiate*, as a worker, to get whatever you possibly can, even when offered a “fixed” salary. One’s value to an employer can also VERY much be a question of perception — certainly in my industry where I recently met a male blowhard-writer who boasted of TWO $8,000 assignments this year. I’ve never gotten even one at that rate. Does he “deserve” that much more money than I? Meh. Who knows? He got it and I didn’t.

      I’m not only selling clients my time. I am selling my skills (obviously, as well as my time.) I aim for an hourly rate of $100+ for every hour I work. But only because I have high-level skills can I work quickly enough (at higher and higher volumes for shitty money) to even survive! You, running your own business, know all this stuff very well! How to maintain terrific quality, done quickly (enough).

      In some people’s eyes — to just be personal — I’m probably seen as “worth” $100,000+ a year for my 30 years’ skill, hard work and talent as a writer. But the marketplace (which is savaged right now in my industry) is offering most of us appalling, 30-yr-old fees. I make LESS, working my ass off, in 2014 than I did in the year 2000 and nowhere near that amount.

      Fair? I think not! This as a market/industry failure. I don’t make it personal. I hate it. But it is what it is.

      So while I know these issue are deeply concerning to you, at the end of the day — I just need to make a lot more money and not have a damn heart attack from the endless stress of trying to do so! I don’t spend much time on politics. I am too busy hustling for work.

    2. Steve

      It’s amazing to me how much we actually agree with one another and don’t even know it. I’ll bet in about two hours we could fix every problem there is over a beer (Canadian even…I love Molson) I have often told my kids ” first break in life you get is who you’re born to”. Yes, you’re right, we aren’t all equal. Some of us are more equal than others, that’s a given. Some of are more ambitious than others. Ask yourself why some are stuck in abject poverty? You’re a smart girl, that shouldn’t be hard to figure out. Why aren’t you stuck? Could it be that that would be and is unacceptable? Why? Because you’re worth more than that? You respect yourself more than that? Ask yourself why others don’t feel the same way? Because their self worth has been corrupted? Because they would have to make an effort to achieve less than they do for making no effort? Why are they like that and how did they become that way? I’m old enough to know that it wasn’t always this way. We didn’t act the way we do as you alluded to in your previous posts. So what changed? Tell me what you think not what you feel. Feelings change, facts and reality don’t. There is a common denominator here and I’m not sure you can see what it is

  8. Steve

    Exactly, but you’re still dodging my original question. Who does your labor belong to? You or to the state. No matter how much money you make or want to make or need to make it comes down to whom it belongs to. You can’t have it both ways. Your fruit either belongs to you or it doesn’t. If it belongs to you, you have the right to dispose of it, spend it as YOU want. People have a right to be greedy and selfish, it’s there’s. I can only control myself without making a slave of someone else. I know that you are a writer and I know that you now do web casting. Why? Because YOUR TIME belongs to you and obviously the WSJ and the NYT doesn’t value your talent as much as you deem it to be worth. Why do you insist that the government has the right to determine that for us?

  9. Steve

    By the way…thank you for the debate, I love the opportunity to discus things with you and you haven’t thrown the race card at me yet. Or even called me an idiot (as some in my immediate family have done, and I won’t succumb to naming names, so don’t ask)

    1. Steve

      Almost all immigrants, Chinese, Irish, Italian and yes they worked their rear ends off because it was still better than where they came from because they new that at least here they had an opportunity to come here, work hard and be better than what they had. What is wrong with hard and work? Where has that work ethic gone? Nobody here wants to work anymore, they only want to get paid and start out where their parents ended off. Are you saying that because of their grandparents hard work of a hundred years ago we OWE them something?

      1. I’m not at all sure (?) what your point is here…?

        My husband’s grandfather fled Mexico to work on the railroad in Kansas, so this is not an unfamiliar trajectory for us.

        “Nobody” is a generalization I can’t rationally respond to.

      2. And another thing. I work with the Filipino and I have actually sponsored students to get through school. I know all about them getting 1.67 a day or something. I always congratulate them for working in call centers when they bust their asses off trying to speak English fluently. I have lost friends over there in terrorists attacks, and most recently Typhoon Haiyan. I do know they were slaves for 360 years and yet they served with us and still are loyal to us.

        My point is when people gave their lives working on the infrastructure of this country, they got little satisfaction in return and while they are better of than people in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, their efforts should reflect that hard work. Not stereotypes!

        As a white kid in the south and my whole family was military, I have seen how life is and treats people. Not a person’s fault they are born into poverty. I am sick of the mistreatments of white people due to political correctness, bitt I know many people of color have contributed and are seldom given credit.

        As a veteran I had a pretty good job and even one considered to be a dream job but the veterans who had laid in the fields, shivering in tents and being hurt by vehicles hitting them, I told them they are the true warriors. But the bottom-line is no one is better than any body. We all have a role to fill and I thank God I was given the skills and talents to make my life better.

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