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.

jasdye

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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  • Pipercat

    It’s not really Capitalism, it’s Speculative-colluded-profiteerism that gets maintained by wealth extraction.

    • So a mode of capitalism…

      • Pipercat

        I’m a bit more ripe than you are Jason. In the old days, when civics was taught, Capitalism was about the investment of capital. Investment in the company, employees, communities and the nation as a whole. People had pensions, stock ownership and savings; they owned their homes and every generation was doing better than the previous. There was one economy and money used to percolate throughout. This was over 40 years ago when priorities were based on the big picture. Over the last four decades, this was chipped away and we are now in a dual economy scenario where there is a general economy and a speculative economy. The latter is not capitalism, it is an oligarchy. To keep the speculative economy functioning, requires extraction of wealth from the general economy to prop up the gambling going on at the top. Money no longer percolates, but flows upward and is subsidized by printing more of it. (no, I’m not a Libertarian) Add political stoogery, and well, welcome to the 21st Century!!

      • Stephen Barlow

        YOu are talking about the days of integrity in business. The pension fleecings of the 80’s, the union Pension Loans of the 60’s and 70’s. The downsizings to reduce pension payouts to ZERO of the 90’s

        Before that, a man took a job, invested his life in the company, and the company took care of him in return.

        But now, the Romney’s buy, make promises they never intended to keep, saddle an acquisition with debt and milk the spin off assets for their own profit and leave the company more helpless than it was before.

        Look at Hostess. After intentionally mismanaging the company, within the last year the management gave themselves 300% bonuses and severance packages.

        The people who actually ARE the company, got nothing. not even their stock was worth a penny.

        We need a fundamental change in human psychology and I think the only way to get it is to leave America.

        In the rest of the western world, the ratio of Executive pay to worker’s pay is 20-1 or less. Here, it’s 562-1.

        The quickest answer is not “a 2nd Amendment resolution” as Sharon Angle promised if not elected.

        It’s going to be to target the Fortune 500 executives. Take their children, kill their wives.

        Scratch that, take their mistresses.

        Sink their yachts, Burn their summer homes.

        THAT is what it will take. Just like France in 1789, Russia in 1917. The US in 2025?

        Aren’t the poverty wage earners just about tired of hearing “Let them Eat Food Stamps?”

      • Pipercat

        The distraction is in full force. Better to numb down the Proles instead of the dumbing them down. I must confess the notion of 1917 comes to mind should an uprising actually occur.

  • Josh Griswell

    Anyone else think that getting back on the gold standard and enacting term limits for Congress would do so much to America back on the right track?

    • Matthew Reece

      The gold standard would do far more good for the poor than raising the minimum wage, in terms of increasing their purchasing power. Term limits for Congress, on the other hand, would just encourage them to loot faster.

      • Stephen Barlow

        PLEASE explain that crap about the Gold Standard!!!! PLEEZE!!! I NEED a good laugh.

        Just remember, the Gold Stand volume of the economy when it was ended and calculate how much gold a dollar would buy in today’s economy. 1/35th of an ounce. It was $1230+ this week. So a dollar to the poor would be worth 1/1230th of an ounce.

        Even the POUND is not standardized to the price of Silver anymore.

        And remember one thing, Gold Certificate Dollars, were REDEEMABLE IN ACTUAL GOLD!!!

        Grow up!

      • Matthew Reece

        The gold standard is not ideal (something resembling Bitcoin is), but tying the dollar to something to prevent central bankers from debasing the currency and giving the proceeds to their criminal friends in government and big business is the best way to help the common man get more purchasing power.

    • Stephen Barlow

      There’s not enough gold, but 3-3 year terms in the house, 2 5 year terms in the Senate and one 7 year term as president.

      It eliminates career politicians, reduces the power of lobbying and makes the election cycle so much simpler. The Senate is the only office where you do NOT have to spend HALF your term electioneering.

  • Matthew Reece

    What we have now is not capitalism. It is variously known as crony capitalism, crapitalism, state capitalism, or fascism. These things need to die so that true capitalism, anarcho-capitalism, may flourish and relieve the ills discussed above by destroying their root cause: the state and the unfair advantages it creates for the wealthy.

    • Stephen Barlow

      The label is irrelevant. It is simply the haves, and you and I and the other 99%. We outnumber them. We just need to get off our asses and take the risk of expressing our anger. By taking back what we should have been paid.

      Can you imagine a harbor fire @ the Richie Rich Yacht Club? The horror and panic a mysterious leader like a “V” could strike in the wallets of the wealthy.

      • Matthew Reece

        We must strike the root. The root is the state, not the 1%. The 1% are merely taking advantage of the state to get what they want. Without the state, they fall back close to the rest of us.

      • Pipercat

        They own the state right now Matt. They will never voluntarily relinquish the power they have accumulated.

      • Matthew Reece

        They have always owned the state, and they always will as long as it is present. They will never voluntarily relinquish the power they have accumulated, which is why the power must be taken by force. But then, unlike every past violent rebellion, we must destroy the power rather than wield it ourselves.

        This, of course, raises an interesting question. Will someone have to play Gollum to the anarcho-capitalists’ Frodo Baggins?

      • Pipercat

        Destroying the power becomes the problem. It always seems that these revolutions are led by Sméagol.

      • Matthew Reece

        And he just won’t stumble into the lava…

    • Stephen Barlow

      So you believe in medieval anarchism. Explain how electricity would be managed without a ‘state’?

      • Matthew Reece

        If we free the slaves, who will pick the cotton?

  • Stephen Barlow

    The premise of this story is EXACTLY how Unions became powerful. The Morgans and Rockefellers and Carnegies of this generation are about to get anti trusted. They are about to have to commit murders to STOP the changing tide of the American Workers.

    I have been preaching a National Sick Out since Reagan Executive Ordered that striking is illegal.

    I will be ugly. Don’t be surprised if a poverty stricken nut job poisons the ketchup @ a mcDonald’s in protest. Don’t think that salad won’t get peed in @ Applebee’s.

    Angry people do disgusting things. Look at all the anger at the failed artist/little corporal Hitler did with his hatred of Jews?