The stock market has doubled since President Barak Obama took office, on January 20, 2009. Many Corporate Chieftains–who have truly benefitted with Wall Street’s resurrection–however, continue to call for a Leader who will do more to help small businesses create jobs. At the same time, Americans wonder how their 401(k)s and IRAs have rebounded and, yet, employment is growing–but, only ever so slowly. What gives?
The big corporations might be using the request for a better business environment as a ploy, and asking for enhanced job growth when, all the while, their actions don’t reflect an interest in small businesses or job growth. Fast food and big-box giants especially have forced much of their competition out of business. The bargaining power that these giants control enables them to force their suppliers to cut their own profit margins to the barest bone. And their employees are very dependent on Food Stamps and Medicaid, as much as their paychecks.
Remember the old corner pharmacy, and now we’ve got a choice between CVS, Walgreens or your supermarket. Borders and Little Professor are gone, and Barnes & Noble is in Bankruptcy; so, Amazon might, some day, be the only book “store” available. I haven’t seen a locally-owned Arrow Hardware in ages; so, it’s mostly Home Depot, Lowe’s or what’s available at the local big-boxes. And, the b.b.’s have forced oh so many small, Mom and Pop stores out of town. There’s no need to mention the fast food, pizza and big-box giants, by name. Oh, and, Bloomies is owned by Macy’s.
Now, I have written before about the cut-throat tactics of Amazon and suggested patronizing the small local options, if there are any–to keep, at least, some semblance of competition. HA! But, I would like to, once again, comment about something that has been in the news lately–the minimum wage. By the way, if the minimum wage had merely kept pace with Inflation, since it was initiated in 1968, it would be $21.72 today.
A couple of years ago, VISA established a web site, with a proposed budget, in order to show McDonald’s employees how they can survive–if they work two jobs. It had recently been updated as noted in the Consumerist, as follows: http://consumerist.com/2013/07/19/mcdonalds-and-visa-quietly-edit-widely-mocked-sample-budget-add-heat/.
The Consumerist also listed some comments by actual McDonald’s employees, http://consumerist.com/2013/07/15/we-have-some-problems-with-visas-sample-budget-for-mcdonalds-employees/. It’s good for a few laughs.
Why is Costco, alone among the big-boxes, able to provide a minimum starting wage of $10.50, while the others seem to be at or near the mandated minimum wage of $7.25. Did Costco realize, like Henry Ford did early in the last century, that better paid employees can buy their products, become advocates–and perhaps better employees?
There’s a cute article in the Metrotimes (Greater Detroit), about “Moo Cluck Moo” , a burger and chicken restaurant, http://consumerist.com/2013/07/15/we-have-some-problems-with-visas-sample-budget-for-mcdonalds-employees/. M-C-M is truly a fast food restaurant; however, it has a well-known local chef involved and prepares food grown in the local area; but the starting wage is $12.00 per hour. Wouldn’t you be happy to eat at a restaurant where the food is better, supports the local agribusinesses and you know the employees are being treated better?
Just raising the minimum wage to $15.00 would benefit 51 Million workers, and impact 30 Million more Americans. It would increase the purchasing power of Poor and lower Middle-Income people, enhance production and result in additional hiring. This would inject $475 Million into the Economy (raising the GDP). Lastly, many of the states that have raised their minimum wage above the National Mandate, have actually seen employment increase.
When we shop at these corporate giants, that get by by paying the minimum wage, we’re not considering the true impact of what we are doing. We are suckered-in by our assumed “great deal”; but, we’re paying much more for it in the long-run. And, it’s not just Food Stamps and Medicaid, its the tax credits, Welfare, subsidized school lunches, etc. Also, we are holding good people back from learning, earning more, building stronger families and making a contribution to our Economy–and perhaps our Society. Lastly, we will remain in the dark as to what the true costs are.