We used to have the upper class, middle class, lower class, working class. Most of us in America pretended that class wasn’t an issue.
Retired folks living on Social Security and pensions were in a separate category. As elders and retired, they were deemed “entitled” (gasp) to the Social Security and pensions they received. They had, after all, worked long and hard to earn those Social Security and pension checks. Continue reading →
The mob is clamoring for a big, definitive “plan” to “create” JOBS.
The problem is, we are all yearning for a return to the prosperity and good jobs of the 1950s. A return to Middle-class America. That model of American prosperity lasted for a half-century, even as it was eroding away. That model lasted through the inflating 1970s, the greedy 1980s and the bubbling 1990s.
The middle-class model of America, with good-paying jobs all around — it’s over. We aren’t going back to the 1950s. It’s impossible. That’s where President Barack Obama’s JOBS plan has got to start. Continue reading →
Last night, I attended a meeting about social justice issues. Naturally, the controversy about public worker salaries and unions in Wisconsin came up.
One person commented, “The workers in Wisconsin are not poorly paid.” As if that were a known fact.
We all have preconceived notions about how much certain workers are paid. (When we say “public workers,” we’re often thinking of teachers, firefighters, and police officers. It is important to point out that by the very nature of state and local government, large numbers of the workers are in traditionally low-paying jobs requiring low levels of skill or education.) What do you think is fair pay? Please vote.
Which workers are we talking about? Teachers? Police officers? School maintenance workers? School cafeteria workers? Bus drivers? Road repair crews? Attorneys, engineers, accountants? Public health nurses? Truck drivers? Clerks who process paperwork or answer the phone?
Does a police officer deserve to be paid an adequate living wage? Does a trash collector? Should fair pay be enough for the worker to support himself or herself only? Or should the pay be high enough to also support a child? Two children?
Was answering these questions difficult, impossible, easy? Who should set pay rates? The governor, the private market, the unions, collective bargaining, lottery? Put them all on the ballot for the voters to decide in a referendum?
How much should bloggers be paid? What? Never mind!