New Rules to End Wage Exploitation

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Photo by Hannah Wei on Unsplash

Low wages and the proposed Federal minimum wage.

“Taking advantage of someone’s need for a job and paying them only pennies to perform work so you can get rich is an example of Exploitation.” — defintion per YourDictionary.com. And having a job doesn’t mean your needs are now taken care of. Statistics that show unemployment is low don’t equate with people being able to pay their bills or afford a place to live. I agree with the Democratic political push to increase the federal minimum wage.

In 1989 I was earning $12 an hour as a transcriptionist. That was good money for that back then. Now in 2020, over 30 years later, some politicians are fighting to get the federal minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. Has time stood still? No, it hasn’t. The cost for everything in life has skyrocketed. And only a precious few have been able to keep up. And many are hoarding their privileges.

Exploitation!

No one should work for pennies. Many rely on public assistance to make up the difference with their low wages. Earning a day’s wage should put money in your pocket, not just spare change. I equate my self-worth by the amount I earn from my work. I can’t help it. Good pay makes me feel good about myself. I know I’m not the only one.

If businesses have trouble paying good salaries, then someone needs to start educating them on how they can. It might be better to help businesses strategize, than to make people apply for public assistance.

And if the minimum wage is raised, that will be no excuse for businesses to start discriminating on who they think is worth $15 an hour. $15 an hour is still peanuts in the U.S. for the educated, uneducated, citizen or immigrant.

The years that a person is able to work can be limited depending upon health and other life issues. If people only scrimp along with low pay during their working years, then they will have no way to save for the future. Don’t make people dependent on the system to save them later. Even Social Security is often not enough to live on, and it’s debatable whether it will one day run out.

It’s true that some people can’t hold jobs, have bad skills or just don’t behave on the job. Self-esteem goes with good pay and goes a long way. Show workers that there’s a perk with good behavior. And yes, repremand them if need be. But don’t make them work for low wages if they are honestly trying to do a good job.

Create the workforce for it!

Educating teens with job skills through high school programs and vocational schools creates an elevation in lifestyle and confidence. Let them graduate from high school with job skills. Don’t sell them that they have to wait until they finish college to succeed. Not everyone is suited for 4 or even 2 years of college life. Some need money now and don’t need to acquire more debt.

College is great but it’s not a guarantee of success and riches. Having a degree but no pedigree can still keep you in the back of the line. And college can always be attended later in life. It doesn’t have to happen just out of high school. It shouldn’t be go to college or choose to be homeless. Where’s the in-between? That can be too big a leap. Not everyone is ready at the same time.

Many turn to crime for big money and a luxury lifestyle. They don’t realize that those are hollow and false goals. The road to riches should not include theft, dishonesty, or harm to others. Out of desperation people do bad things. Let’s create more legitimate opportunities for everyone so that turning to crime is the least of them. And hurting people or doing crime for entertainment is pure evil.

Stop with the studies and statistics around work, wages and unemployment that create mere projections. Just put money towards helping regular people make some.

I know that it’s easy to say we need to save the world but that it’s hard to do. True. But maybe we should at least try. Raising the federal minimum wage can’t hurt. Earning pennies keeps people in poverty. For some being middle-class is even too lofty a goal at this point. That doesn’t seem right in a country that prides itself on being the land of opportunity. Make that opportunity a living wage. Make it so working doesn’t feel pointless. Make it so people feel good about themselves. Make it so they don’t have to work forever. Make it happen.

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