For What It’s Worth

Well, it’s been finally settled, what ails America.  You see, the richly overpaid media stars who spout errant nonsense to us each day disguised as news seem to agree with the plutocrats that even words that might hurt that the delicate feelings of those who make, say $50,000 per hour, must be censored at all costs.  Meanwhile, they fret endlessly about the fact that somewhere, someone other than a CEO or TV host is living high on the hog, tens of dollars over the poverty line when there’s simply no possible way their paltry labor could be “worth” the current princely federal minimum of $7.25.  Here, a billionaire schools a mere millionaire:

(From Media Matters)

Schiff: “One Of The Most Anti-Poor People Rules Is The Minimum Wage.” On the September 21 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade hosted author and businessman Peter Schiff, who claimed that minimum wage rules negatively affect employment for young and poor people. From Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: All right, so let’s look at what you think we should do. How to encourage job growth, according to Peter Schiff: abolish the minimum wage. People think that’s anti-poor people.

SCHIFF: Well, one of the most anti-poor people rules is the minimum wage. It keeps people poor. What the minimum wage does is says that if a person that has very little skills, and generally they’re young or they’re poor, you can’t hire them unless they can produce –


SCHIFF: — $7.25 worth of value, but it’s not just that. It also has to compensate you for all the mandatory benefits and taxes and risks associated with hiring people.


SCHIFF: And people that have no skills, it’s not just worth it to hire them –

KILMEADE: Peter, I want to get through, too -

SCHIFF: -- maybe $3 or $4 an hour, if that’s what they’re worth – (emphasis mine!)

KILMEADE: — I understand what you’re saying. You also say – you say to repeal – hold on a second.

SCHIFF: — and you wouldn’t have all this red tape, maybe after a year or two, they would be earning $10 or $15 an hour -


SCHIFF: The problem is they never get a chance. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/21/11, via Media Matters]


Now, nothing’s going to be better at making the poors mend their wicked, greedy ways than to pay them $24 a day.  That’s 121 bucks a week!  How much is a hot bunk in a trailer housing fourteen and some ramen, anyway? Clearly, the Republicans are going where the money is this time.  Taxing these fat cats some more, the great majority of whom we are told bask in the alarming luxury of flush toilets and home refrigeration, is currently the plan to balance the budget, so the first thing we have to do is cut their pay so they’ll get used to it, I guess. They’ve been riding that $7.25 gravy train long enough, the righties would have it, and it’s time for them to go all Bangladeshi on us or the rich might have to fly commercial, and America as we know it is all over.

The most insidious implication of this more than usually repellent exchange is the blandly accepted notion that, sadly, a lot of our fellow humans are only “worth” a wage, say, 1/200oth of what some other, undoubtedly better dressed but dubiously more productive fellow human is.  Nothing to be done about it; they ought to eat less.  You know how fat the poors are and all, wasting their money on rent and gas instead of personal trainers; they’d surely be less unsightly if only couldn’t afford to eat.

Not wanting to sound like a broken record, but when I hear exchanges like that, I do see why Obama is so overconfident about being reelected.  He could even go ahead and “compromise” with the Republicans, deciding that, say, five bucks and some change might be alright, and Tom Friedman, David Brooks, and the entire WaPoo op-ed page would sing Hosannas to the heavens. Better yet, the Servant Problem would be solved, once and for all.


  1. cocktailhag says:

    Testing 123…. Yesterday the comments were tits up, but they appear to be working now. YMMV….

  2. michlib says:

    ” … if that’s all their worth “. No quote could better illustrate the poverty of spirit and imagination exhibited by our oligarchs. We’ve always known that money talks. My greatest fear is that it is now the only thing being listened to.

  3. michlib says:

    Observation #2 – That Kilmeade is one tough interviewer !!! Where does Faux find all those junk yard dogs ?

  4. Henry says:

    I think the answer may lay with education. Having said that, being educated was a good weapon against poverty back before this financial shit hole we find ourselves in currently, now a days, most everyone is out of work. So that leaves the question about illegal labor from south of the border, (speaking of minimum wages). These poor folks could give a rat’s ass about minimum wages, they will mostly take what is offered and be glad about that, heck, they ship it back to the mother land anyway. I believe there will always be two classes of people in society, the haves and the have not’s. “Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage”. Niccolo Machiavelli

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s silly. We don’t live in a feudal society, or at least we didn’t from 1932-1975 or so. Government policy can choose to create a middle class or it can choose to create what we have today; this isn’t rocket science. Taxing rich people (91% under Eisenhower) doesn’t just raise revenue; it prevents people with so much money that they and generations of their heirs will never have to work from buying the government as a personal plaything. Once you allow slimy rich people like the Koch Brothers to amass 50 billion and spend it to amass more, democracy is dead. And to say immigrants don’t give a “rat’s ass” about the minimum wage is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard; at least as dumb as what I was criticizing in the post.
      The US has the worst inequality, and the least participation in democracy, of any other industrialized nation. Not coincidentally.

      • michlib says:

        RE the Koch brothers – just so we’re all clear on this one – they inherited their fortune from daddy, who amassed HIS fortune working hand in glove with papa Joe Stalin. Entreprenuerial virtuosity ? Their only talent is rapacity and exploiting plums proferred by bought politicians.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Which they’ve done quite nicely, despite that darkie socialist in office. Once worth a paltry $43 billion in 2010, they’re now up to $50 billion. Wonder what they’ll spend it on? Besides bodyguards, I mean…..

    • The Heel says:

      In defense of Henry, I must say that illegal immigrants in SoCal really appreciate whatever you pay them. In our projects, they gladly dig trenches / haul material and work hard, long days for a few dollars. Since I am a generous person, I bring them food, drinks and I pay them at least $10 per hour – which is a lot in comparison to my christian conservative agricultural entrepreneurs.

      And yes, in a country built on immigration, you will indeed always have at least two classes – the ones in the boat and the ones trying to enter it. The newcomers accept their fate and work double hard, so their children can get education and better jobs. It puzzles me why most conservatives try to stick the slacker label to them and try to make them scape goats for budget crisis. In reality, slackers are a lot more common in trailer parks. Descendants of immigrants from many generations ago…

      • Henry says:

        Well said my German friend! What I meant by “rats ass” is that I have relatives who come to this country during the picking season each and every year and they will gladly take whatever wage is offered to them at the time. They tell me, “it is double what I can get back home in half the time. Thanks for your response Hag. As always, you are the master of the pen.

      • Henry says:

        And Marcus, thanks for your generous heart when it comes to these peasants who dig those ditches.

  5. Ché Pasa says:

    The minimum wage is one of those persistent hairs up the butts of Our Betters, right along with all those “poors” (heh) who don’t pay taxes. You know, it’s just so dambed unfair and all.

    Which is why I don’t watch FOX. Or really much of any teevee come to think of it.

    Right now, I’m watching choppy live-streaming of the “Occupy Wall Street” events on the Intertubes. Periodically, I might check in with the BART protests. Then there are the marches over redistricting right here in the Valley.

    Who was it, Boner or somebody, claimed that the riches were on strike, no jobs for you, because of all that Uncertainty the darkie socialist in the White House (“Who’s house? OUR house!”) was causing. Yeah, well. They’re on strike all right. They refuse to pay taxes, they refuse to invest in America, they refuse to hire, they refuse to manufacture, they refuse to do any goddammed thing cause they’re on a sit down strike, sitting down on their yachts and their sea-side terraces, just like the workers use to do when they went on strike back in the day.

    They really are daring us to do anything about it, aren’t they?

  6. mikeinportc says:

    Kilmeade is in the running with his co-dullard, Steve Ducey,for Dumbest Person on TV, which is ,of course, probably why he was hired.

    The actual object of all that help-the-poor crusade, is to make the rest of us compete against that, or be sent packing. Squeezing the existing workers, even more than hiring new peons, would really pump up the wealth creatin’.

  7. michlib says:

    Makes you wonder what Woody Guthrie would be singing these days.–mHug

  8. mikeinportc says:

    Speaking of Woody Guthrie, the ‘Murphys also do a good cover of Which Side Are You On? .

    Slaid Cleaves has our political era(among other things) pretty well pegged. Probably why he’s not a super-successful household name. ;)
    Sorry, can’t link to indvidual songs. There’s a handful on YouTube, but my intertube doesn’t seem to like him. Freezes/crashes whenever I try to get to them. ????

    This is for MVYRadio archive. Just search in the “Name” section. Click on the Narrows, 2010 pergormance in the little window.
    “Green Mountains and Me ” :( :::::::
    & “Hard to Believe” are a couple that come to mind . (It’s not entirely depressing, just mostly. ;) )

  9. mikeinportc says:

    & “It’s a Beuatiful Thing”

    …& swiftboatin’ talk show whores. Look at all the lies it takes the job of making kings.You can’t own the truth, just gotta conceive it…

    ….while the profiteers count the cash & praise Jesus.The press sings another chorus of ‘Let Freedom Ring’. ……

    ..send our boys away to come home in parts.Believe the lies with all our hearts. It’s a beautiful thing. “