How to Eat the Rich at $7.25 an Hour

living-wageIn honor of May Day and Republicans, let’s be honest: The Dow Jones and the Unemployment Rate are horrible indicators of financial health of a country. They (particularly the Dow Jones) may tell us how a certain segment of the population (particularly Wall Street and capitalists) is doing, but that’s like a doctor checking the health of a patient solely through a rectal scan. A more comprehensive test is needed. Particularly, see how well off the bottom-third-income (or, non-income) families and individuals are doing. How much do they make and how much savings or wealth they have against how much money it costs for basic amenities like decent housing, comprehensive health care, healthy food options, transportation, clothing, utilities, diapers, etc.?

And then realize that the bottom third is so far in the red it’s a wonder they survive.

And then measure that against the living of the top 10% and we wonder how the top 1% survive. If people are so hungry, shouldn’t they be eating the rich? Isn’t that the option we’re left with?

Some people will call this class warfare. “How dare you suggest that the poor become cannibals?” I want these people to remember their absurdity when the food banks start drying out due to a combination of reduced food stamps, an ever-increasing cost-of-living, and stagnant-or-disappearing wages. I want them to remember their reactionary priorities as we poor will probably not maybe not perhaps not hopefully not storm the mansions like zombies looking for flesh and revenge.

As we sit back and notice the predictable, that Republicans would blockade a slight minimum wage increase, let us consider that they may be doing us a favor. When workers at the periphery are risking their livelihood to organize, strike, and resist their bosses to send a clear message that minimum wages need to be doubled, a couple dollar increase tied to inflation is a weak-ass compromise by a political class that has yet to find its activation center, let alone its guts. $10.10 is not enough for one person, let alone a family. We need to demand more.

When the wage disparity between fast food CEO’s and fast food employees is 1000-to-1 and the wealth disparity is exponentially higher, get ready for the blood, America. It’s May Day and people are hungry while others are stockpiling. May Day!

Let the whole month be May Day – the next year. In a society where people cannot afford to be married and yet being married allows financial stability, it’s May Day. Where we punish people for being poor, and the poor for not being poor enough, it’s May Day.

A couple of dollars an hour may make a decent, necessary change. But it’s not greedy or wrong to demand a more just system for those working several jobs just to live on emergency rations. It’s actually detrimental for society and even American capitalism to allow this system to continue the disastrous, inane, FoxNewsWorthy route it’s heading. This is why Thomas Piketty’s proposals to tax capital at 15% and any income over $500,000 at 80% isn’t seen so radical. It is the kind of invasive surgery that our capitalist society needs in order to survive. As the insurance and health care industry needed health care reform in the US, so does capitalism need – at the least – an overhaul.

To be honest, the health insurance industry needs to die. I wouldn’t cry if capitalism did too. Better capitalism die than us.

Say it. May Day.


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


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