Monday, December 17, 2018

Why Wealth Wastes While We Age Against the Machine




I want people to succeed and be happy. Does that mean I should support the increase of a minimum wage? For instance, say the minimum wage is $5/hr and we raise it to $7/hr. Some people will be earning $2 more on the hour while others get laid off as businesses respond to this wage increase by cutting expenses on labor. Are we a happier community?  

I would naturally assume that a happier community would more likely result from a drop in unemployment. To make the market more attractive to those on the demand side, I would want to drop the price of labor rather than raise it. (That would stimulate some hiring activity but leave most everyone else [in this given population] a little less wealthy across the board.)  

As for those who end up making $2 more on the hour, how much of a jump on the quality of life index are they really making? These are still people who are working at a minimum wage -- that has not changed. The other side of this coin is exactly that: the people and their quality of life relative to their immediate needs. 

Some have their backs up against the wall and need the extra $2  to surf the economic flush that sends people down into the sewer cities populated by  monsters with night vision and the forgotten homeless. To have a segment of society that exists in such a financial state of emergency where this type of wage increase makes a difference is itself an unsettling sign of a system that is terminally flawed.  

The flaws in our systems of government and currency are still not naturally the primary threats to the human condition: we are all subject to aging and mortality, and we all care about people who are subject to the same, regardless of the kind of societies we live in or who we are within them. Having more capital means having better options as far as ways in which to protect ourselves and our families from the threats imposed on our welfare for simply being alive.  

Reality serves up the consequences of every decision we make. Those of us with an insurance payout or a pension or a trust fund, etc., can use these financial tools to battle against the blades of reality and maybe turn up injured but ultimately recover enough to reclaim their fiduciary footing.   

I'm obviously not talking about the comfortably affluent who's "money works for them" instead of the other way around. I'm talking about the modest financial growth achieved through honest labor and dedication, or inheritance from a dead relative -- a chunk of money that helps a few people climb out of the rough conditions historically endured in working class poverty. These are the few recognized in the Marxist school of economic philosophy as the "the petty bourgeoisie", while in US Capitalism, are the middle class. Proudly celebrated for their role in the [usually cultural and/or technological] advancement of a society over extended time, the middle class is ultimately liquidated (like any other exploitable cohort) through heavy taxing, inflationary erosion of their savings, along with tantalizing interest rates inviting them to build more debt.   

In the mean time, the Federal Reserve exercises quantitative easing, a practice of printing money for paying off debts, distribute stimulus packages and bailouts -- basically, whenever money is needed. As this occurs in a country that is supposed to be the best in the world, (a) there shouldn't be any poverty, and (b) none of us should have to be working. All our debts should be paid off in the same way, and the work we do as individuals should purely be driven by non-monetary motivations. After all, the US government is supposed to be "by the people, for the people". 

Instead, the federal government has distinguished itself as separate from the citizens, wrapped in an unholy union with the privately owned Federal Reserve, rolling out debt at a staggering rate, as if there is no limit to the amount of debt that it can afford to issue. Instead of working to serve the citizens that should make up it's constituent body, a government made up of agencies run by people in appointed positions  spend as much as they like on lofty private interests while members of the middle class argue over whether or not to give the working poor another $2 an hour, because we know that that money will come from no where but our own wallets. Heavily taxed to fund programs over which we have little control to fuel spending which is purposefully untraceable, we argue over pennies while the lives of those on the poverty line hang in the balance. 

The minimum wage of course, is just one of the countless topics over which to bicker while our youth and our assets degrade. The question of whether or not to raise minimum wage is not easy to answer, and keeps us at odds with each other based on differences in our ideologies (as if that difference matters). It's a distraction that prevents us from eliminating the need for a minimum wage, and by now we've also nearly forgotten about the importance of being a happier community of people. 

Next time, I'd like to focus on the dangers of a topic which is far less debated: the maximum wage.