In the old days, and in every other city in the world most days, favor-seekers bribe politicians — with cash in envelopes, with legal contributions, or with political support. In Mike Bloomberg’s New York, the mayor bribed you, buying the silence or cooperation of individuals, cultural organizations, and social service groups with hundreds in millions of dollars spent on small personal favors — a legal payment here, a medical procedure there — and charitable contributions.
Nice catch by Corey (The Reactionary Mind) Robin:
Throughout his career, [Edmund] Burke’s financial state had been precarious. Much to his embarrassment, he was periodically forced to rely upon well timed gifts and loans from his wealthier friends and patrons…
Thanks to the interventions of his well connected friends, Burke secured from Pitt in August 1795 two annuities that would wipe out his debts and a pension that, along with an additional pension and the income from his estate, would enable him and his wife to live in comfort into their old age.
Three months later, when Burke took up his pen against a proposal for the government to subsidize the wages of farm laborers during bad harvest years (so that they could sustain themselves and their families), he wrote, “To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government.”
(Belated thanks to commentor Ranchandsyrup for the link.)
The ongoing movement to raise the wages of fast food workers got a boost today from two new reports that attempt to quantify just how much those low wages cost society as a whole. It’s a lot.
The first report, out of UC-Berkeley’s Labor Center, attempts to calculate the total amount of public benefits that taxpayers provide to low-wage fast food workers, who are not paid enough to cover their basic needs. The findings:
More than half (52 percent) of the families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in one or more public programs, compared to 25 percent of the workforce as a whole.
The cost of public assistance to families of workers in the fast-food industry is nearly $7 billion per year.
Even those lucky enough to get full time hours are not immune: “The families of more than half of the fast-food workers employed 40 or more hours per week are enrolled in public assistance programs.”
Shorter, more profane study: The greedy fucks who are reaping enormous profits by selling us diabetes-causing crap are too fucking stingy to pay their employees a living wage, so the rest of us have to pay the freight on the back end instead of shelling out a nickel more on a Happy Meal.
I say it’s time for those shiftless, Cadillac-driving, t-bone-steak-eating bucks in the board rooms to get their goddamn feedstraws outta our wallets.
Poor Matt Welch, he tries so hard, but sometimes your wingnut talking points leave you unprepared:
Loathesome. And remember, Welch wasn’t always pissed off about big one-sized fits all systems.
I asked commenter VidaLoca to give us an update on the fast food strikes and he was kind enough to do so. This report is from Saturday.
I wrote you earlier this month about the events surrounding the second one-day strike of fast food workers here and the “walkback” actions that followed on August 1 and 2. We had a third strike and walkback yesterday and today, and inasmuch as there seemed to be some interest among BJ readers regarding the second strike I thought there might be similar interest regarding the third.
As most people who have been following this story are probably aware, the strike movement is growing nationally. I was told that yesterday saw strike actions in 77 cities (which is an increase over the 50 cities I had previously heard reported). In Wisconsin there were strikes in Madison (new, but not a big surprise if you are familiar with the People’s Republic of Madison) and Wausau. The latter is of interest because it’s kind of a big deal here when political activity of this sort gets outside of the Milwaukee-Madison axis. Locally we saw growth both in the number of workers and the number of businesses involved. Also whereas previously the affected economic sectors were fast-food and retail, yesterday saw the first call-center workers walk off the job.
Aside from growth in numbers and spread across economic sectors the most notable new development this time is the growth of confidence among the strikers. In the first two strikes, the rule was unconditionally that workers returning to their shifts the following day were “walked back” by supporting delegations from the community. This time that rule was relaxed — the veteran strikers were confident enough about their degree of vulnerability (or lack thereof) that they basically said “you guys cover the newbies, we got this” and took a pass on the walkbacks. So this time we were only doing walkbacks for first-time strikers. And it seems to have worked — I was doing walkbacks from 6AM this morning until noon, and I didn’t hear about any cases where strikers had problems getting back to work with promises of no reprisals.
We looked at some pictures from Fight for 15 on Friday. This is Low Pay Is Not OK.