Friday, October 24, 2014

Something Else

It has been a very long month.  When my pay check came in the mail and I saw that I had 10 hours of overtime on it I got physical proof that I was tired because I'd been working a lot and not because I'd become some tremendous sissy in the past couple of years.  My relief was tangible so much so that it caused a gentle rain to grace a drought stricken land.  It wasn't enough of a rain to do anyone any good.  It just made some mud which got tracked into a house and caused a fight which spun out of control.  The police got involved.  But I am sure in the end it will work out alright.  The lesson here is that I very much need to take some time off and I will!

That is not what I wanted to write about though.  I just wanted a little bit to warm up.  However, seeing as how I haven't picked a topic yet I'm just going to go through things  that are on my surface thoughts.  I have at least 4.

1)  Sometimes when I come up across a thing I don't understand I don't research the solution to said problem.  Instead I keep it in the back of my mind, mull it over, and try to unravel it for myself.  I know full well that the solution to my problem is a well asked question away or in most cases 45 minutes with google but sometimes it is best to put your problem solving skills to work especially when they are big concept problems that greatly affect our every day lives.  I am ashamed to admit that this particular problem took my a couple of years to unravel.  Now granted I didn't spend several years in a row puzzling over it.  In fact I went for months without thinking about it.  However, it is one of those things that should of been much simpler to solve and it wasn't due to my fundamental lack of understanding of how our monetary system works.  This pisses me off a little bit but that's a different topic.

The problem was, "Why did President Clinton merge investment banking and personal banking?".  See before Clinton a law was passed by someone, I don't remember who and I don't feel like looking it up.  The law stated that there would be a separation of investment and personal banking.  Personal banking is what you use when you want  a loan, a savings account and a checking account.  The bank is supposed to take part of your savings account, turn them into safe loans.  This keeps your money in the community and offers up some safe guards against financial crisis.  An investment bank does all the crazy fucking stockmarket shit.

So why on god's green earth would we merge the two.  During the great depression people lost everything when the banks folded.  We have institutions which are to big to fail.  By the by our pathetic excuse for a media organization has been using that phrase wrong.  To big to fail means that should the institution fail it would take enough of our ecconomy with it that the results would be catastrophic.  They are a thing that legally shouldn't excist and yet there they are.

Anyway the reason for the merge is simple.  Like bloody simple.  One most of us belong to national bank chains like Bank of America, or Wells Fargo or something similar.  So it isn't like our savings and loan comes from and goes to local sources anyway.  Two money in a savings account is, ecconmically speaking, useless.  It might as well be shoved under a mattress, buried in your back yard, or even burned.  Money that doesn't circulate has no purpose.  It has to move through the system in order to grow.  By opening our savings accounts to the risks of investment banking now all that money we tuck away for a rainy day is free to circulate around the ecconomy which helps stimulate growth.

I am unable to verify this, because I lack the research material but I am willing to bet there are links to the explosion of the financial markets and this law.  Has it been a bad law?  Well that's still up for debate but I am leaning no but until I can explain it I can't really have an opinion.  Oh well.  That is something I can't just magically figure out for myself.  I'd need to do some heavy reading and it is a question that is still being answered to this day.  Is it a good law or not?  Oh well.  Yeah I am nerd.  But whatever nerds are in.

2) I was doing the same process with the problem of minimum wage being 15 monies an hour.  I figured both of these problems out in the same week!  YAY!  I may be tired and have most of the joy sucked out of me but damnit I am thinking about shit.  WOO!  *removes top* *then gets shy and puts top back on and sits back down a little red faced*.  Anyway yeah some people want the minimum wage to be 15 monies.  They keep siting the law that states the minimum wage should provide a working wage.

Now opponents to this have mostly been really dismissive and nasty.  Basically you are poor and you work a shitty job so go fuck yourselves.  Or less agressivley, "Well why don't you hire a lawyer and...OH WAIT we don't pay you enough to do that HA!  Fuckers".  If I had the energy I'd go find a quote from the CEO of Applebee's I never really ate their because their food is a bunch of bland overpriced piles of shit but holy crap did that man  make an ass of himself during the passing of the Affordable Care Act.  I've hated him ever since.

Back to the topic at hand as a poor worker, I and the people around me would benefit greatly from a 15 dollar per hour pay check but it is a bad idea and I finally fucking figured out why.  This one only took a could of months.  Okay so here's the skinny.  The minimum wage was started in 1938 and back then the world was a very different place than it is today.  Hell the world back in the 50's was a different place that it is today.  When manufacturing was America's major source of jobs the American economy was a very different place than it is today.  The main reason being is that just about everyone who was working was working for their lives.  By that I mean these folks worked while they were either in high school or immediately after in factories, stores, farms, salesmen, for the rest of their lives.  Summer break still existed so kids could help out on the farm or get a job to help their family raise money to get through the winter.  College was reserved for those who were already rich and planned on entering into business or law.  It was also the year Superman made his first appearance.  The specter of WW2 loomed writ large though no one really knew it yet.  Most families subsisted off of a single income provided by the man while the woman stayed at home to take care of the house and children.  This point is important because our work force was 51% smaller as a result.

Things are very different now.  Hell things are different now then they were ten years ago.  NOW there are kids who get a job in high school because they are bored and they just want some spending money.  There are people who are getting jobs as a form of recreation I can't fucking fathom what is wrong with people like that but they are out there.  I've met them.  There are kids who get jobs because their parents believe that having a job will help teach them responsibility.  College is something that everyone can now go to.  Granted the student debt thing is fucked and something to be tackled latter but the point is that you can at least get in the door.  Women are part of our workforce now and they are holding more and more positions of power every year.  Good on them I say.

The point being is that 15 dollars an hour for a minimum wage is silly because not every person in the workforce is working for their lives.  Some of them are just passing through.  Do they need 15 bucks an hour to pay for school?  Yeah absolutely but lets not muddy the waters here.  Lets stick to two basic things.  One in 1938 when people entered into the workforce they were generally there for good.  Today that is not so much the case.

By setting our wages to 15 dollars an hour it kills our ability to negotiate and there.  Right motherfucking there is the problem.  I got it.  See 10 bucks an hour is a pretty reasonable minimum wage.  I've yet to see an actual job that doesn't deserve 10 bucks an hour.  It also still allows employers to hire on people at 12-15 and more marginally skilled positions without melting the budget.

Lets be very clear when you are paid the minimum wage it is because that is the least amount they are legally allowed to pay you.  If they could get away with less they most likely would and in the past they did.  The minimum wage wasn't enough to protect workers.  That's why they formed unions.  This way workers of similar jobs could band together in a large enough group to force their employers to do horrible things like pay them a living wage or have better working conditions.  I hate to put it this way but people don't want a 15 dollar minimum wage.  What they want is the ability to negotiate their wages in a legal way that avoids retaliation on the behalf of the employers.  Let's use me as an example.  I make X amount of money.  Because of the next sentence I can't say the exact amount.  Now lets say my friend Corey makes X+2 amounts of money.  Corey got hired after me and was made full time almost immediately while my boss dicked me around instead of making me full time.

Had I put down the actual amounts of money we make and it got back to my bosses I could be fired.  Hell I could be reprimanded for talking about the full time situation.  What this does is that it shields my bosses from having to pay us fairly.  To be clear I am not talking about Chef, or the head of Culinary I am talking about their corporate overlords.  They don't have to worry about pus organizing because they can auto fire us for discussing our wages.  This is true for every job.  If the retail workforce were to unionize in a big way they'd have to undertake a serious risk.  Most of us are way to poor and have people who rely on us so we can't afford to take risks.  Our corporate overlords know this.  They know they have us between a rock and a hard place.  They know the one hard worker who is worth the three shit workers will work for the same meger pay as the shit workers so why bother giving anyone merit based raises and yeah that's that son.

The 15 dollar and hour minimum wage is an attempt to circumnavigate this and it isn't a bad one.  Unions have had to fight for their existence for a long time.  They are portrayed as the bad guys and they've had their fair share of problems but they are important for keeping their employers in check.  But they come with a risk.

So what's the solution?  Well it isn't the 15 buck minimum wage.  As much as I'd like it it would slaughter small to mid sized businesses along with some small to mid sized corporations.  It is easy to look at the 1% and say, "Well just give us part of that" but that is a very small population getting a very big piece of pie.  The 15 min wage would fuck everyone over except them and the poor who got to keep their jobs.  At the same time there needs to be a better format for dealing with our bosses than unions.  Unions are the right idea but the wrong methodology.  I can't prove that but it feels right.  We can't use the legal system because, well, it is to slow and to expensive.  Workers do need a better outside arbitration system to quickly and safely air their concerns it needs to happen outside the corporate structure and possibly anonymously but yeah.

I get the problem though.  I understand the feeling but we can't loose sight of the bigger picture.

Well that's enough for one night.  There did something productive.  Imma gonna go eat candy now.

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