A Living Wage – Why Those Evil, Greedy Corporations Just Won’t Pay It

I get so tired of hearing this complaint.

A Living Wage?

My first question is, just what defines a living wage? Considering there are hundreds of millions of people living (barely surviving, but living) on less than $1 a day, I’d say just about any wage you earn in any developed country is a living wage.

Then the question becomes then what standard of living constitutes a “living wage” here? Let’s boost it to enough food to not be malnourished, a roof over your head and clothes to wear to fit the climate. If you’re willing to do what you need to do, even a minimal part time job covers that with money left over.

What’s next? A car? A private apartment? A cell phone? Air conditioning? Cable? Video games? Name brand sneakers? Who decides? Heck, I’ve only got three of those.

Oh, those Greedy Corporations

The next part is if a particular business is even able to pay what someone considers to be a living wage. While a business can pay people significantly less than they’re worth for a short while, especially in a tight job market, but what they can’t do, ever, is to keep paying people more than they are worth. An employee has to contribute more to the bottom line of a business than the total costs of hiring them.

If an employee makes the company $10 for every hour he works and you raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, guess what … he’s out of a job, no matter how much he needs it. A business can’t afford it to be any other way and still stay in business. That’s not being a greedy corporation, it a business necessity.
If you increase the costs of having an employee by adding in mandates of any kind, same thing. An employee HAS to be worth more than they cost, whether that cost shows up directly on a paycheck or not.

And It Keeps Getting Worse

That’s what ALL externally imposed costs on employers do. They price people out of jobs by making it more expensive to hire them. They don’t allow a person to work cut rate while learning how to do a job, so they never get to learn what they need to get a better job, if they can get one at all. It drives people out of business or they never start one to begin with. That means even fewer jobs.

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The Confederate Constitution Actually Had A Lot Going For It

Everyone knows that the Confederacy was that evil part of the country that saw no problem with owning people. But it wasn't all bad, especially when it came to their Constitution.

If you read the Confederate Constitution, although most of it is copied verbatim, there are several areas that differ significantly from ours. Slavery, of course, was made legal subject to the same limitations on importation of any new slaves. But a separation of State and Economy got the most new changes and limitations on the government.

It explicitly banned their federal government from favoring any branch of industry in any way via duties or taxes on imports.

It required a 2/3 vote for approval of federal appropriations outside of a limited list of purposes as well as for taxes or duties on exports.

It required appropriations to have specific line item amounts for specific purposes and banned any additional payments to anyone after the initial contract had been made or services rendered.

It gave the President a line item veto on expenditures.

It most forcefully banned Congress from appropriating any money for the facilitation of commerce aside from a very few specific cases involving water transportations such as buoys, lighthouses and dredging, and, even in those, duties were to be laid on the navigation that got those improvements until they were paid for.

It made the Post Office pay for itself after the first two years.

It also made a Constitutional Convention easier to call for, requiring only three states instead of our 3/4. It limited the number of people any one Representative in the House could represent to 50,000. It gave the President the power to remove any department head or anyone in the diplomatic service. It also incorporated the Bill of Rights almost verbatim into the Constitution itself.

One of my favorites was getting rid of general omnibus bills: "Every law, or resolution having the force of law, shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title."

Except, of course, for the issue of slavery, I approve of almost all of them. They were almost all additional and explicit limitations on the power of the government in areas that our Constitution over the previous 70 years was found to be lacking in actual practice. Of all of the changes, only the slavery one was changed in ours.

Lincoln's issue, the succession itself, has never been addressed. There never was any ban on it. In fact Texas, which used to be an independent nation on its own, explicitly wrote into the agreement when it joined the US that it reserved the right to secede.

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Market Insanity

Speculative bubbles have been around for a long time. Whether it's a single item or a broad generality like real estate, they have the seeming power to make your wildest dreams come true or to destroy entire economies.

The Dutch Tulip Mania was the first recorded speculative bubble back in the late 1600's. Tulips were highly prized flowers and the bulbs weren't exactly cheap. But a group of investors saw them as a way to make money - big money. They started bidding prices up and up and tempting more people into the bubble, until a single bulb could be "worth" several years of actual wages.
 
Then one day a few people finally said "This is crazy. They're only flowers. Beautiful flowers, but just flowers." Over a matter of a few weeks the prices plummeted and lost 95+% of their "value" and wiped out the entire life savings of a lot of very foolish people.

Bubbles have been blowing up on a regular basis for quite a while now. The dot coms and real estate are only the two most recent to pop.

But they're back. All those trillions of dollars the FED has been pumping into the economy since 2008 haven't been invested in actual productive pursuits, but into speculative investments. Propping up companies that should have gone under (bail outs anyone?). Starting of companies that should never have been started (think Solyndra). Projects that never got off the ground. Real estate again. Dot com again. Multi billion dollar buyouts. Lusting after the Next Big Thing.

I don't expect a pop in the next few months, but I'd be surprised if it was more than a couple of years away and this one could be a lot bigger than the last. A whole lot of paper wealth is going to disappear and there's even more dominos lined up to fall over this time. Time to be thinking about battening down your financial hatches.

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