Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

"So where are those jobs which pay a livable wage today? Good question."

Right before noon, I had to run out and do some errands. Every store I went into, I saw the same thing that my wife and I see most every week. Help wanted. Everywhere. It is just like the heyday of the 1980's except for one thing - the economy today sucks. So what gives?

Burger King hiring up to $15/hour. McDonald's hiring up to $10/hour. Stores are hiring all over the place for wages. But (and this is a big but), none of these wages are good enough to raise a family on without government assistance. So why work for $10/hour? Many people agree with that. That is one of the reasons we have a workplace participation rate of historic lows. People are trying to make as much as possible off benefits as they work for low wages. 

This gets back to the age old argument about letting people work for a livable wage. So what is a livable wage? In my book, a livable wage is one where you can support a family and as well as making your mortgage and car payment(s). So how much is that? $20/hour? Maybe - but that is only $40,000 annually. How about $30/hour? That is $60,000 annually. But to pay a mortgage on a half-way decent house, to drive a car which is not a rattle-trap, to buy food, insurance, pay for utilities and yes, have a few bucks over for fun, I am thinking a livable wage today is more than that. How about $40/hour? That would be about $80,000 annually. 

So where are those jobs which pay a livable wage today? Good question. It seems we have a boatload of jobs at the lower end of the spectrum, and precious few at the higher end. As much as I would like to hang this on Obama, this did start long before Obama. But it has just become so much worse under his watch. 

Today, we are in desperate need of something new under the sun. A game changer. But we insist on not making negative changes to the economy which do nothing. We need to bring back the real jobs, family raising jobs, retirement funding jobs, and we need to do it now! If I had done my career at Burger King for $15/hour, I would still be working - still flipping whoppers. And I would be doing it until I was 80.

Don't be fooled by seeing this "new economy". Look under the covers. It is bad - very bad. If we want to be a country of clerks and short order cooks, the table is set. Don't get me wrong - jobs like those are important. For people starting out. These wages are just not enough to raise a family on.  

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