Saturday, February 23, 2013

Republicans Love Cheap Labor But Hate The Welfare State: Problem

Bill Maher recently said something interesting about our economy on Real Time the other week. Responding to the negative republican reaction to Pres. Obama's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $9, Maher commented that we're either going to have a welfare state where the government subsidizes food, housing and medical care of the people, or we're going to have to force businesses to pay people a livable wage so that they're not working 40 hours a week and still in poverty. It's true. The bottom third of the economy who gets by on minimum wage while often raising kids lives virtually at the poverty level at the current rate of $7.25. This makes them more reliant on government aid fostering the welfare state.

Republicans have long argued that raising the minimum wage will hurt businesses and force them to raise their prices which will hurt consumers. Maher thinks that we should let prices go up: people with money will still buy their $11 salads even if it goes up to $12. I agree. We have to pay people a decent livable wage in this country if we don't want working people swelling up the welfare lines. When we become a country like Brazil or Mexico that has enormous economic disparities between the haves and the have-nots, we'll either have to live in a welfare state or we'll have millions living abject poverty dying of simple treatable conditions. The "job creators" that republicans speak so highly of, as if they're saints or prophets, will mostly be creating low paying, dead end jobs with no health benefits or job security if they have their way. The job creators must create good paying jobs that allow a person doing it, not to have to require food stamps in order to survive. Creating jobs alone is not enough if there's going to be constant pressure to keep the wages low.

Whenever I've had more money, I've spent more money. This is true for everybody. The only problem business owners realize, is that if they pay workers higher wages, it means they might have to take home less wages themselves. What many of them want is to keep wages as low as possible so that a larger percentage of their earnings can line their own pockets. This is corporate ethos at its best. But the long term trend for this is a permanent, working, underclass, in need of a welfare state, because they cannot earn enough money to pay their rent and go to the doctor when they're sick. It seems republicans are stuck in a catch-22. They can't have it both ways. We either pay workers more, or we're going to have to live in welfare state.

Another reason why republican ideology is as absurd as creationism.

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