Are we less humane than our grandparents?
In 1938 The Fair Labor Standards Act banned child labor, set the workweek at 44 hours, and imposed a minimum wage of 25 cents per hour. Today, the richest country in the world pays a minimum wage of $7.25; a raise of 10 whole cents a year for the past 75 years for a full time worker. If wages kept pace with worker production, the minimum would be $16.50. Instead, executives making $1,000 a day are running around screaming disaster over a national pay hike of a $1.75 an hour. Leading the charge are billion-dollar-profit McDonalds, KFC, Yum-Yum,, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut—all of which are raking in record profits, higher than before the Great Republican Recession. There is absolutely no reliable evidence that any minimum wage hike has ever led to lower employment. Just the opposite is true. More money means more earnings, more taxes, less absenteeism, less worker turnover, less worker training, more productivity, and more profits. Business has a mindless mania about low wages even when they are shown higher profits are tied to sustainable wages. Reducing poverty and narrowing the widening pay gap between the rich and poor are surely better public goals than a market where billionaires are free to stick it to workers for higher profits. Human dignity is a far greater social goal than despicably high executive compensation. Instead of asking if we are better off than our parents, we should ask if we are as generous as our grandparents. In the midst of the great depression, they shared America’s prosperity, raised up the poor, sent kids to school, and gave workers a decent wage to care for their families. Can we say we are proud Americans and do any less than our grandparents? Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA