Invictus, a frequent contributor to Barry Ritholtz’ blog had a post up that dissected some stats about how many people are receiving some form of government assistance. In referencing a news story he pointed out that there are 108 million receiving some form of help, they may be working or not, but receiving something. The 108 million is slightly higher than the number of people working and getting no assistance.
Invictus then goes on to tackle the idea that we have become a country of moochers.
Of interest to me is the plight of fast food workers cited in the the post who simply do not earn enough to stay above the poverty line. This is something we have addressed before in terms of people taking on second jobs to make ends meet.
Part of the equation here is income inequality which I believe is a huge negative for society (this is the liberal side of my brain). The country has been able to wriggle out of the consequences from other seemingly terrible economic dilemmas so no one should be surprised if we wriggle out of this one but I think this is a serious threat.
The conservative side of my brain however tells me that front line fast food jobs aren’t intended to be careers are they? My younger sister started working at a chain when she was very young making minimum wage or close to it and was able to move into managing a store. She did not make a lot of money from this but she made career level money that was well above poverty line levels which when combined with her husband’s income was decent–not wealthy but decent.
I do not have all the answers of course but there are jobs that simply were never intended to become long term careers. Doing something for four or five years at minimum wage as a stepping stone would be considered paying your dues not having a career.
Not having the answers is about not knowing how to reconcile the fact that some folks have no interest in putting in the extra effort to make themselves more marketable (to their current employers or other employers) in an effort to improve their lot in life (assuming a minimum wage worker).
Invictus concludes that the GOP can’t have it both ways in terms of not raising the minimum wage and reducing/eliminating assistance programs. The flip side of that is when forced, people will take steps to work more when their assistance is taken from them. For some people that would absolutely be true but sadly and inconceivable to me most would not.
This really is a dilemma.