“You Want Fries With That?” How About a Livable Wage?

Laura Clawson, over at Daily Kos, is following the labor actions of fast-food workers.

Here’s a handy chart that explains part of the situation:

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I’m not big into copying myself, but I once gave a speech to a group of homeless advocates and noted:

“When we have people cold and hungry and sick and without hope because they cannot provide for the basic necessities of life, then there is a problem. We need to make a few tweaks to the system.

“When we ignore our responsibilities to people who are cold and hungry and sick and without hope because they cannot provide for the basic necessities of life, then we are actors in a tragedy.

“And to the extent that some people are required to be cold, and hungry and sick and without hope in order for society or the Market to function, then we have entered the realm of sin.”

We may not like to admit it, but our way of life depends on tens of millions of people who perform relatively low-skill jobs. That’s the way it works. No one’s saying they should be millionaires, but no one, no . . . one, should go to work every day and not be able to afford life’s necessities.

It’s not uncommon to hear the same people who complain about workers organizing to get a better share of the wealth they help create also complain about “big government spending” on social programs. Okay, make you a deal: the private sector provides livable wages (and equal pay for equal work), affordable health insurance, a safe workplace free of harassment, and an adequate retirement, guaranteed (oh, and a promise to protect the environment, or at least take responsibility for and clean up your messes), and we’ll zap all those programs that are currently needed to provide those things.

Later,

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