Thanks so much to those that have helped out this month. For those who are new, I struggled for several years on barely-above- minimum wages after falling completely out of the middle class back in 2009. At eleven bucks an hour I slowly burned through my meager savings and then got hit by the financial coup de grace: a freak heart attack with complications. It’s just blind luck I happened to have health insurance and disability at the time. But the disability paid only a fraction of my crappy base pay and, of course, my out of pocket medical costs exploded. I survived, my job didn’t. Beginning in 2013 and through the new year, for the first time in my life, I faced down grinding poverty, food insecurity, cutting prescription meds in half or going without, and even the looming prospect of homelessness.
Finally, after recovering for the better part of a year, and then jumping through a lot of hoops for two more months to land a tech support job that might have paid a little better, it looked like things were turning up. Alas, just this month, just a few weeks after starting, I’m no longer employed and have no unemployment benefits. This all happened in the great state of Texas, where the social safety net for people in my shoes is essentially non-existent, even the Medicaid expansion that would help millions like me has been sacrificed to Gov Rick Perry’s fantasy of winning the GOP nomination for President. Please help out if you can, even if it’s only a few bucks. My Paypal email is Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com.
My story is sad but it’s becoming the norm. It’s just a matter of time before they come for other jobs that pay anything close to a living wage:
Digby — The fact remains that within one year a bunch of server jobs will be gone because restaurants will replace order-taking with tablets. Within a decade or two we won’t need truck or cab drivers anymore. IBM can already diagnose cancer five times better than doctors. The flattening of the teaching profession will continue apace as the technology and techniques behind MOOCs continue to improve. 3D printing will render much of what manufacturing remains obsolete. Anything requiring mid-level management or analysis will be done better by computer within two decades at the max, and probably sooner.
The quoted text is courtesy of Digby Parton at Hullabaloo about a misleading ad against the living wage movement. Living wage jobs were already disappearing, now the sociopaths selling out Americans have something to blame it on as shown above: requests for a higher minimum wage.
Real wages for the bottom third or so of working people have fallen for years. For two generations and counting, a big chunk of households were able to stave off the worst consequences of the guaranteed poverty that lousy paying jobs create by resorting to two full-time wage earners instead of the traditional single breadwinner. But two wage earners can only make up for so much. The Great Recession, loads of desperate applicants, and growing piles of corporate cash thanks to the bailouts that saved the zero-point-one percent, gave companies the perfect storm they needed to justify devastating the middle class anew by automating more and more jobs while reducing wages and eliminating benefits.
One result is Fortune 500 tech companies now regularly pick one my many online resumes out of employment databases to offer me the wonderful opportunity of buying computers and accessories, phone gear, and equipment like Xboxes on my own dime, so I can make ten bucks an hour part-time at home. Inevitably, these are insecure, temp-contract, no benefit or days off customer service tech support roles for highly profitable firms.
The free market can indeed do some neat things. But it’s not a social engineering experiments or a substitute for regulations. Businesses are, at their core, ruthless for profit entities that have fought free market competition with bribery, arson, murder, and war, not to mention enslaving legions of elementary school-aged kids to pick crops or churn out widgets in a factory 16 hours a day, wherever and whenever they could get away with it. Make no mistake, they’re coming for other jobs, too. Doesn’t matter if the economy improves, doesn’t matter if you think you’re immune, doesn’t matter if you’re an educated, experienced pro, it’s just a matter of time until they can offshore you, contract you, temp you, or replace you with younger, healthier, less-educated kids running more and more intelligent and capable devices.