A lot of fast food workers went out on a wildcat strike today in several American cities. Fox News’ Niel Cavuto interviewed one of the strikers (via Gateway Pundit):
Shenita Simon: “Those that think we’re making so much money and if we follow a particular type of budget, I can’t afford to pay rent. I can’t afford to feed my children. I can’t even afford the healthcare for my husband. Things that you guys see as everyday life is luxury to me and it’s not fair… I say, why are you the companies, you the franchisees getting raises. You’re making billions and millions of dollars per year. Why can’t we barely survive? Why is it we who are employees, who work, who put in hard sweat, why can’t we survive? Why do we have to go hungry at night? Why can’t we pay rent? Eight dollars, seven twenty-five, seven fifty is not enough.
Neil Cavuto: Is it a fast-food company’s purpose and responsibility to meet pay, to keep up with the living standards of a given city? Is it really up to that organization?
Shenita Simon: It’s their responsibility. Because when they’re cutting our checks, not giving us lunch breaks, you’re not giving us benefits. When you’re doing illegal actions against us. Yes, it’s your responsibility. Because when we’re making the bare minimum, and you’re stealing from us. Of course, we can’t survive…
Indeed, you can’t – an adult with family responsibilities can’t make ends meet while working at a fast food joint at minimum wage. Thing is, such a job is never going to be a job which can support someone with family responsibilities. Such a job is either for a young, entry level worker just getting started in life, or for an elderly person supplementing retirement pay.
It is true that the fast food companies are making quite a lot of money – and you can bet dollars to donuts that the senior executives are rolling in pay and benefits. But if you have ten workers at a fast food joint making $7.50 and hour and “win” your fight to increase pay to $15.00 an hour, all you’ll get is five or less workers manning the store…the other five will be replaced by automation. No matter how you want to slice it up, flipping burgers is just not that valuable an occupation. It is useful work. It is work which needs to be done. It, like all honest work, has inherent dignity. But it is work which just about anyone can do – supply and demand; when there is a very large pool of potential workers for a particular job then there is no rational reason for high wages being paid.
Ms. Simon’s problem is not that fast food work is low paid – her problem is that she’s working there when her skill level should have long ago moved her in to a more difficult and highly paid line of work. There are two explanations for why she hasn’t – and I don’t know which is the more prominent part in her life, and it doesn’t really matter:
1. She’s messed up in her own life to the point where she’s stuck in a dead end, entry level job.
2. The people who run our government – and whom she probably voted for – don’t like having a lot of jobs around which would allow someone like Ms. Simon, if she applied herself, to rise step by step up the employment ladder until she reaches a point where her wages afford a comfortable, middle class life for an adult with family responsibilities.
If Ms. Simon wanted to do something useful, she’d lead a protest demanding Obama stop blocking the Keystone pipeline…and she’d move to those areas of the country which are booming and thus have bags of blue collar jobs available for anyone who is willing to work hard and slowly move up the ladder of success. But, she’s not in to that – either not in to challenging her liberal leaders, or not that in to investing the sweat equity necessary to move from minimum wage to middle class wage work. She wants a free ride – no development of her skills; no challenge to her work ethic, but double the pay she’s getting now.
That is the essential pull of socialism for the lower class – a promise of getting a lot more for doing no more (or even less) than they are now. Of course, if Ms. Simon and those like her really get their way, there won’t be fries with that socialism…not much work would get done, at all…especially as we’d all be too busy lining up for our potato rations…
Some really great points have been made in the comments and now I’ll step up and defend Ms. Simon a bit. She does, indeed, have a cockeyed view of the world and if she “wins”, then all she’ll do is lose…unless, of course, she becomes an apparatchik passing out the potato rations to the rest of us (socialist revolutionaries fall in to two categories – in the upper echelons, wanna-be Lenins; in the lower ranks those who essentially aspire to be bureaucrats or policemen). But, remember, the world she lives in has not been made by her – that she lives in a world where getting a decent education is becoming increasingly difficult and finding blue collar work with a future ever rarer is because of the design – conscious or not – of the Ruling Class. That this Ruling Class is largely made up of people whom Ms. Simon votes for – and which feeds her the terminology she uses in her battle – is neither here nor there; she is living in their world, and following their script.
In New York City rent control keeps rents high; a miserably bad education system is in the iron grip of the unions which entirely control the city government; high taxes discourage new business formation; various regulations and taxes make manufacturing within the city limits difficult to do at a profit; imported illegal labor ensures that a great deal of the entry-level jobs are priced genuinely too low for a legal American to live on (illegal immigrants are commonly – and illegally and unsafely – jammed very many in to each substandard housing unit); union control of the few genuinely productive areas left (especially the port) ensures that unless you’re juiced in with the union, you ain’t getting a job there. For someone like Ms. Simon, there isn’t much of a chance – she can’t get educated (even if she goes to school – even to college; they won’t teach her), she can’t start her own business, there aren’t any decent blue collar jobs for her to get…so, she’s working at McD’s and is frustrated – and then in the final, sick irony, she’s set out in to the streets by the rhetoric of the very Ruling Class which has set up a system where she is bound to fail, unless she becomes one of their little, Stalinist tools for continued control. Have pity on the poor lady – she knows not what she does.
We have to change this – we have to get in there and start “community organizing”…explaining to the Ms. Simons that her problem is, indeed, a rich, white oppressor…but it ain’t the redneck with his rebel flag painted on his truck…its the upper class liberal with his “equality” sticker on the back of his Prius.