BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Screw you! We got ours. Get your own. So spews the Republican leadership, and the major American corporations that keep them like Don Sterling f*ck toys, as they continue to defecate on any and all Democrat attempts to raise the standard of living of America’s working poor. Meanwhile, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer fires her just hired (15 months on the job) COO and provides him with a $58 MILLION severance package! You know, it’s sh*t like this that makes one wonder just how far this American plutocracy of ours is willing to go to prove it’s the most selfish, middle-finger-up-the-ass-of-the-less-fortunate, nauseatingly elitist form of government on the planet. And then, VIOLA!, in a mere fraction of the time it would take to peruse “Atlas Shrugged,” I was able to recall an even more egregiously disdainful example: Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s — who at the time was himself fleecing Disney for an average $121 MILLION annually — presenting Michael Ovitz, his recently hired-then-fired President, with a golden parachute worth $140 MILLION after only 454 days on the job (that’s $300,000 for each day of employment). No wonder it’s “The Happiest Place On Earth.”
Now, as I was saying, American right wing politicos and fat cat corporations like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Koch Industries are railing against any increase in that magnanimous $7.25 an hour private dole we call the “minimum wage.” Huh? Can that be right? Do these exalted captains of business, industry and Capitol Hill hypocrisy truly expect us to believe that the economy is going to “tank” if they extend a little well earned relief to the working poor? Aren’t these some of the very same phonies who’ve been pole axing literally every effort of the Obama administration to get folks back to work ever since their duplicitous Wall Street buddies DID, in fact, TANK the nation’s economy? Damn, my reckoning with regard to the working poor must be completely off base. Hell, I’ve been thinking all along that minimum wage earners WERE, in fact, important positive contributors to the economy. Holy hypocrites! Apparently all those under-paid, unappreciated skrimpers, scrapers and just-barely-getting-byers who pluck our chickens, flip our burgers, make our beds, wait on our tables, wash our dishes, stuff our purchases into plastic bags — and do just about every other thankless job that every reasonably well-compensated American would sooner be caught dead than have to perform — have been existing in some sort of happy-go-lucky-constant-play-
God forbid that a couple of bucks an hour raise for working folks — who’ve been forced to supplement their wages with food stamps and welfare in order to keep hunger pangs and bill collectors at bay — might increase the cost of the products peddled by their bosses a nickel or two or some loose change at most. Perhaps these altruistic business mavens are fearful that bargain outlets like the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores will “tank” as a result of the sudden loss of so many of their regular customers. Or, maybe these noble guardians of the status quo are concerned that such suddenly affluent ne’er-do-wells won’t spend their windfall but rather squirrel it away under floor boards or mattresses, or bury it in tin cans in the backyard. Who knows, maybe they fear it could spell the death knell for the payday loan and buy here/pay here used car industries. Yuk, yuk. Nah, naturally it’s all about simple selfishness and an acquired elitism that tells these self-appointed arbiters of achievement that they are, in fact, “entitled” to every penny of their outlandish incomes whereas plain old working stiffs are completely deserving of whatever deprivations and indignities life inflicts upon them.
Well, since we already know that a substantial increase in the minimum wage will have near zero effect on employment and boost the economy in general, it appears more and more likely that getting it enacted will have little to do with economics and everything to do with morality and just plain common decency, both of which appear to be in short supply where the right-wing opposition is concerned. One has to wonder why, other than blatant callousness and/or just plain indifference, it is that those who earn or have amassed so much are so reluctant to grant a meager increase to those who take home so little? One thing we can be thankful for is that their sentiments in the matter aren’t pervasive in the public at large — 71% of the population favor an increase! Count me in with Eugene V. Debs who more than a century ago clearly anticipated our current circumstance: “I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.” And Franklin D. Roosevelt who recognized that it was a matter still plaguing the nation a half century later: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Fast-forward to 2014. Obviously, time does NOT heal all wounds.
P.S. Gregg Steinhafel, CEO of Target, has just resigned (there was a small matter of tens of millions of customers’ credit card information having been stolen). He’s expected to receive some $55 million in severance pay. Yet another disenfranchised golden boy parachutes safely to earth. Such are the hardships of life on the edge in the ivory tower.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.