Monday, July 5, 2021

Fake Patriots

I hope you’re having a great holiday weekend! The good old Fourth of Jue-Lie! That’s the day when social media pages are flush with “easy patriotism,” the kind of token symbolism that passes for true dedication to one’s country. I’m not impressed by sticking flag images everywhere. You want to be patriotic? Support the right to vote without barriers. Support the right to assemble in protest. Support the right chuck religious mythology and support peoples’ right expect scientifically sound solutions to real problems. Any yutz can wave a flag. Supporting democracy is a big ask.

That’s especially true when your team loses. Patriots don’t whine about phantom fraud that’s somehow responsible for their guy losing. Patriots pass the torch with class and double down on voter outreach the next time. Or maybe develop some ideas that garner wider support. Do something substantial, rather than merely trying to convince poor people that poorer people are to blame for their lot in life and rigging the game for the next election. Patriots accept blame for their own actions, they don’t point fingers at others who had no role in their downfall.

You know, if you’re going to storm a government building in hopes of interrupting the implementation of a free election, for Pete’s sake, just own it. Pointing fingers at Antifa or BLM, who had zero involvement with the whole ordeal, is as pathetic as it is embarrassing. No one believes you. Just accept that you’re an instrument of, or support insurrection. Don’t piss on my boot and tell me it’s raining.

Now onto today’s main topic.

I know I’ve mentioned my thoughts on this issue before but seeing such misinformation appearing in print chaps my ass like wet blue jeans.

There are several points of contention regarding this line of thinking.

First, the entire thing is based on the misperception that burger-flippers are the primary (if not only) earners of minimum wage. They’re not, by a long shot, and that upends the very basis of this guy’s opinion. They love to call them “burger-flippers,” but often, the term “Essential” is more apt. You remember the heroes we were celebrating last year, those who risked their lives to put food on shelves or stock drug stores? I bet a significant number of them are working for minimum wage, especially once the “battle-pay” provisions elapsed. Where would we have been without them?

Sure, the military is essential, but how essential is child care when you have to go to work? Lots of child care professionals work for minimum wage.

Another point: Wages for the military and the rest of the public are not related, in that they come from different systems and employers. We can raise pay for military members without having any effect on private sector wages. Republicans can ask for a pay-raise for GIs anytime they want. All they’d have to do is cut back on spending with defense contractors, or maybe kill some of the weapons programs that military leaders say they don’t want or need. (But have to accept because said weapons are being built in an influential congressman’s state.) We spend more on the military than the next 12 countries combined. Don’t tell me there’s no room in the budget for better-paid troops. Lobby your congressmen for that and I’ll be right there with you. But don’t pretend what private employers are paying for minimum wage is a factor.

As I frequently point out, the right loves to target programs that help the lower and middle classes by pointing out that there’s some other more favorable group that’s being overlooked. But when they have the ability to do something about these “favored” groups themselves, it never happens. They’re only interested in military pay or homeless veterans when they’re trying to kill some other program. Otherwise, they don’t do a damned thing about it themselves.

In this case, they want military members paid more than service workers. But the solution should be to improve the pay of the military rather than to suppress the pay of everyone else. If they want to talk about earning gaps, how about figuring out why CEOs are billions of dollars more important than the people who defend this country. That’s the real disparity. It’s the zillionaires who are overpaid and overvalued. You want to sprinkle some dough around that comes from the CEO class? You could pay a hell of a lot of privates and sergeants from a 1% tax on the top 1% earners. Funny, I don’t hear any Republicans asking for that to happen. But they come out full force against “essential service” workers being able to make a living on a 40-hour week.

They can’t support this illusion in any factual way. That’s why they have to base their campaign strategies around preventing those particular people from voting.

Another point of contention is the lack of recognition that these minimum wage jobs are taken by choice. The author seems to think that it’s their fault for being roped into these low-paying jobs because they lack ambition or education.

But tell me, how are they supposed to get this education if they can barely get by on their wages? How can they possibly pay for school without going balls-deep in debt? The price of college has skyrocketed since I went to school.

I paid my way through college by working service jobs (grocery store, gas station attendant, record store clerk). The minimum wage was only 3-4 bucks an hour, but a semester at my state college was less than $1000. But now, it’s pretty much impossible to pay for one’s own degree just by working service jobs.

And I should mention that every single time the topic of raising the minimum wage was broached, the owner-class predicted price spikes and massive job losses, which never, EVER, came to pass when the wage was raised. The argument hasn’t changed since then and it’s still just as wrong.

Republican opposition to a higher minimum wage is 100% based on protecting profit margin. Business owners want wages low and production high. As was then and ever shall be. But that’s not a popular public argument, so they have to rely on stereotypes and distortions like the author above does. We just have to see it for what it is: a desperate attempt to keep the money in the upper class.


On the home front, we’ve had some excitement around these parts, as a family of robins made a nest in the holly bush right by our front door.  I’m sure they felt safe there because holly leaves are full of pickers that will tear you up when you try to handle them.

We’ve been monitoring the progress every day. Then when we came home from out of town last Tuesday, we found they’d hatched. Out of the four eggs, we could see at least 2 babies. So we got used to being yelled at by mama and papa robin anytime we dared use our own front door.

Sadly, our guests came to an unfortunate end.

Late Friday night, in the wee hours, the dog erupted in a barking fit. Sweetpea went out to see what the matter was, and found the dog on the couch, but staring at the front door. Not finding anything worrisome, we went back to bed.

But the next morning, she found that the babies were missing. They were nowhere near ready to leave on their own yet, so we figured that it was a cat or a fox the dog heard, having a midnight snack. Eventually, we found some, well, “parts” lying on the porch, which confirmed our fears.

The circle of life can be a real bitch sometimes.

And speaking of, I never understood all that stuff in the Lion King, with all the jungle animals celebrating the birth of a new creature that was predisposed to killing and eating them. If I was a zebra, I’d be like, “What are you all doing? Let’s stampede that thing out of here before another one of us gets killed! Remember? Last week they got Stan, and Bernie the week before! These things aren’t our friends!

Maybe they just hung around because the songs were so snappy.


Bohemian said...

Completely agree with your assessment of the minimum wage issue. The Man is a Veteran and it chaps my hide too when non-veterans trying to pretend to be so fake Patriotic always want to 'use' Veterans as their excuse to downplay something else more important. While, never doing anything significant for the Veterans they allegedly are so 'down' with! Most Veterans don't really want to be the Poster Child for anyone using them to negate doing something positive for Society. As for Elite only being interested in making more off the backs of a permanent underclass, that's Capitalism gone awry and having become obscene. We shouldn't even have Billionaires and Trillionaires, nobody needs that much money in a lifetime, they couldn't even count it if they spent every second of their lives counting it!

bluzdude said...

Republicans are only interested in veterans when using them as a club against helping anyone else. Unless it's tax cuts. They'll walk over a hundred wounded GIs to get to a tax cut.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Once again agree completely. Back in 1993 we had a small business and our delivery people made $10/hr. Everyone told us that we paid people too much. But you know what? We started them at $10 and depending on the job we paid more. We NEVER had turn over. These people were loyal to a fault. We found if we valued them they treated our little business like their own and by God it worked. We appreciated them and on days where we all worked very long hours (valentines day for example) they were compensated accordingly and celebrated their hard work with an employee party that they got to choose the location. I am a firm believer in a higher living wage. People need to live, not just survive. We need compassion in our world so deserpately. The right is allergic to that concept of compassion and living in someone elses shoes.

bluzdude said...

That was something the record store company I worked for never understood. They always paid minimum wage, at least to start. And that meant that many of the clerks I hired would leave in a second if they could get 10 cents more an hour somewhere else. Getting daytime help was damned near impossible. Who is available during the day and wants to work for minimum wage? Nobody now, and nobody back then either.

Bohemian said...

You were the kind of Employer Peggy that I worked for initially right after High School. It was a Family Owned Biz that was so good to us it was so difficult to leave to pursue my Career Choice. But when the time came for me to progress into a Field they knew I'd do exceptionally well in, they sent me off with their Blessings and stayed in Touch. So few Corporations Care about their Employees or Value them, so turnover is high, exploitation is high, it negatively impacts every aspect of the Business actually, whether they want to admit that or not.

RO said...

Totally agree with what you're saying. Ironically, I was just going through some stuff to clean up the clutter and found a LES Statement where my monthly salary from USAF was a whopping $763.00!(lol) Most of us didn't care because we were kids, lived in a dorm or base housing if married, had free medical care, minimal food costs, almost free travel and other cool benefits. But if you wanted to take vacation and be out in the civilian world, or live off base, there was a culture shock. That's when we noticed that we were grossly underpaid. The military salary should be raised, but military salary has nothing to do with the civilian world. People should get a decent AND liveable minimum wage. I wish more people could see your post about this. Are those blue eggs???! So sorry to hear about the bird tragedy. Hope you guys are doing well, and sending lots of hugs, RO

bluzdude said...

Only to Republicans would the answer to low wages in the military to be to lower the pay of other people to make the comparison better.

Yes, the eggs were blue... robin eggs. We still see mommy and daddy around the back yard. Maybe they'll try again next spring. If they're smart, they'll build their nest a little further inside the bush.

We're doing well and hope you are doing the same.

MJ said...

I was wondering about the benefits - housing, medical, the mess, and I don't know what else. Comparing these benefits to market rates would be beside the point, I thought, although unless we can let the writer from Mineola might suggest the same benefits to minimum wage workers to make his argument work.
Since the military deal includes potentially putting your life on the line and a contract to stay there for a set time or else face charge they should really be paid more PLUS some sensible benefits. If you might have to move on brief notice, housing being provided on both ends of the trip is a no-brainer. For example.

bluzdude said...

That is indeed an aspect that these wage warriors often overlook when using military pay as a club to suppress private sector wages... Military members have their basic needs cared for: housing, clothing, food, etc. So it's true, those things have to be factored if one is trying to make a valid comparison. But if they should do that, it only weakens their argument, hence, the omission.

Bohemian said...

Now that they've greatly eroded the Military Benefits is why they are having trouble retaining Career Military. The 'Free' Healthcare promised for Life is no longer Free and Retirees already fulfilled their end of the Contractual Agreement. Civilian section employment I've always had while The Man was Career Military, so we could compare discrepancies that by omission, Politicians always ignore, on both sides of the aisle. Everyone should have a livable wage and access to Healthcare, period. Even if an affluent person in American gets sick enough, they could be Bankrupted quickly, it's out of hand.

MJ said...

Agreed - we've seen the same. It's maddening when the government ignores its contracts, especially those with people it will arrest for blowing off *their* side of the same contract.