Jon Oliver was on fire in this series of three clips dealing with the strikes by fast-food workers who are trying to get the minimum wages raised from the current $7.25 an hour (which works out to about $15,000 per year for a 40 hour week) to a more realistic $15. Of course this is generating huge amounts of protests by the very same people who think that raising taxes on the rich, even the top 1%, would create enormous hardship on the wealthy. I don’t know if it was ever truly the case that minimum wage fast food jobs were exclusively for adolescents to earn some pocket money but it is clearly no longer true. These jobs have become primary ones for adults and they deserve to have a living wage.
It really, really irks me when well-off people talk about how paying terrible wages is somehow a good thing, either for the economy or for the poor people themselves as if raising the minimum wage will give people such a luxurious lifestyle that it will result in them voluntarily choosing to not aspire to other jobs. The tumbrils cannot come soon enough for people with such views.
There is one and only one advantage that I can see for people being poor and that is if it is just for a short time and especially when they are young. It will bring them into contact with other poor people and help them realize that they are not that different from them, and they will also understand what it is like to live on almost nothing and worry about where the next meal is coming from or whether you can pay the rent.
(These clips aired on August 1, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)