“QU’ILS MANGENT DE LA BRIOCHE !”
In 1960, a person could buy a candy bar for .05 cents (five cents). I know because I bought many candy bars. Today, in 2013 (and if I still ate candy which I do not), that same candy bar would cost me $1.00 (one dollar). Over a time span of 53 years, a candy bar cost 20 times more than it did in 1960.
We could do the same calculation for bread, milk, eggs, and rent. For example, a loaf of bread cost about 20 cents in 1960. Now that same loaf of bread will cost you about 4 dollars; 20 times more than it did in 1960. I paid about 100.00 a month for a two bed room apartment in 1970. That same apartment today will cost 20 times more or slightly less depending upon its location. I think you get the point. The cost of living has been increasing steadily over the past 50 years.
The cost of commodities increases in relation to the annual inflation rate. The annual inflation rate has averaged 3% percent per year for over 50 years. That means that if your annual income has not increased at a rate at least equal to that of the inflation rate then each dollar that you earn will have had decreasing purchasing power each year. Consequently, you will not be able to keep up with the cost of living. The minimum wage was designed to be a safety-net-FOR GOVERNMENT. Do you get that point?
The first minimum wage was set at .25 cents in 1938 during the great depression. It was part of the ‘New Deal’ legislation signed into law under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today, the minimum wage set by the Federal Government is $7.25 per hour. The federal minimum wage has increased 29 times (29 x .25= 7.25) what it was in 1938. Over the past 75 years if commodity prices had remained constant we would all be participating in the middle class. Unfortunately, commodity prices have not remained constant resulting in a smaller middle class and even expanding the lower class. More American citizens are poor.
THE COST-PROFIT DOMINO EFFECT
The structure of the economy is like a circle of numbered dominos. At one end ‘the invisible hand’ pushes down the first domino. The first in turn pushes down the second one, the second contacts the third and so on. There is a high likelihood that all the dominos will fall due to the sum of collective momentum gathered by each preceding domino as that force of momentum is passed on to the next domino.
The force at which the last domino hits the ground is greater than the force exerted on the first domino by ‘the invisible hand’. By the time the last domino hits the ground all the other dominos from the first wave have more or less rebounded and have been propped up by the profit momentum moving in the opposite direction and thus completing the circuit.
That happens because parallel forces of momentum are always moving in opposite directions. One is continually moving forward passing down costs and the other force is continually moving backward passing up profit. The consumer is not connected to the profit force. You are simply a laborer, so you are connected only to the cost force in the marketplace. That is why you can never break even financially. You are always short on cash and being forced more or less to live on borrowed money.
Now think logically, your situation is analogous to the domino effect. That means you are the last domino in line. You are the last numbered domino. The majority of people are always unable to escape that position in the hierarchy. All of the increases in costs from the producers, distributors, and finally to the retailers are passed down to you, the consumer. Then what?
At the end of the day you’re alone lying there on your ass and there’s no one to pick you up. You’ve got to pick yourself up. Freeze that frame there with you on your ass, because when you ‘pick yourself up’, that is the moment that you trigger the profit momentum force feedback (more money for them into their pockets). It is because you ‘adapt’ to higher costs by paying the higher prices for food, clothing, and shelter as well as state and federal fees and taxes. You may be left with a few dollars at the end of the month. You may then realize the loneliness of being broke.
There is no one after you to whom you can pass the cost down. So there is no positive income feedback for you. You get hit the hardest. The only way to make up the difference between what you pay for food, clothing, shelter, taxes and fees for the increased cost of living, is to get a raise in your income that is greater than the annual inflation rate (cost of living raise) or get a second job. If collectively workers do get a minimum wage increase that aggregate increase in wages will reduce the profit margin of all the businesses for which laborers work.
All businesses want to maintain or increase their profit margin in the market place. They want to keep their income advantage. They cannot do that by being fair or just toward you. So they act in such a way as to keep you economically disconnected. That is because the economic system we have breeds economic injustice. The economic system is unjust by design. There is an enlightenment doctrine which supports that conclusion.
THE DOCTRINE OF EXCLUSION
There is evidence to support the argument that our economic system is designed to be inherently unjust. One hundred and thirty-eight years before the Declaration of Independence (1776) the Maryland Colony Council wrote: “Neither the existing black population, their descendants, nor any other Blacks shall be permitted to enjoy the fruits of White society.” This doctrine later would exclude Irish immigrants by degree as indentured servants. We are therefore forced to admit that a legally defined permanent underclass and lower-class of laborers was put into place and subjected to colonial police power. The purpose of that legislation was to profit from free and cheap labor.
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION: Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3
The framers of the United States Constitution inherited the doctrine of exclusion and included it under article 1, section 2, clause 3. Therein it specifically defines the class and ‘caste’ hierarchy of the new United States. At the bottom of the socio-economic-political hierarchy are the same ethnic groups mentioned in the Doctrine of Exclusion. Indentured servants, Native Americans, and Africans were relegated to the permanent underclass (3/5th all others) for Africans, those not taxed for Native Americans, and those bound for service meaning indentured European immigrant servants. The quest for profit was the reason for such a legal hierarchy. The United States was predicated on inequality not equality.
The intent of the framers was to legalize slavery. The slaves would be a permanent underclass. They also intended to create a lower class of dependent laborers which would be comprised of poor Caucasians. In an agriculturally based economy they reasoned, as did the Romans, and determined that was the best or fastest way to generate profit and wealth. It did just that.
But slavery ended. And now a new problem has arisen. It is the growing permanent underclass which cuts across all ethnic boundaries. It consists of men and women, unskilled, undereducated persons, and ex-felons. These are people who have been made obsolete by technological innovations in the workplace and the exodus of manufacturing companies to overseas markets to exploit the availability of poor people who will work for next to nothing.
Nevertheless, the conservative premise that ‘labor exploitation is necessary’ remains fundamental to the operation and success of our national and global economy. This leads to a tragic conclusion. The permanent underclass is no longer needed; it is not even needed to exploit and that class has become a threat to the economy by virtue of its near absolute economic dependence. That conclusion must be rejected absolutely and categorically.
The liberal argument is a deceptive argument. Liberal democrats argue that ‘there should be a minimum wage increase’ in the United States. Their argument is a ‘straw man’ argument because it avoids the driving premise of the American and global economic paradigm. The liberal argument should be absolutely and categorically rejected because it is not a solution to the problem.
The liberal argument does not challenge the belief that ‘the economic exploitation of disenfranchised people who are educationally and vocationally fit for only low paying service jobs is moral as long as there are periodic adjustments to their minimum wages’. We are acutely aware of the immorality of economic exploitation and the dishonest persons that condone it. We know that this is where liberals and conservatives meet nodding yes, yes, in agreement that the show must go on as it is.
We know that the mere adjustment of the minimum wage is fallacious. We know such adjustments indicate actions to maintain the status quo. We know the cycle of economic exploitation will still continue. We know that increases in prices are inevitable as the marketplace adjusts to the increased costs paid out in the form of increased minimum wages. In the end, we know that nothing changes within a dysfunctional economic system and that the system cannot change its own nature anymore than human beings can change their nature. We know that the world is being converted into a global plantation. We know that we have been made into slaves, indentured and otherwise. We know that slaves think and plan like a prisoner of war. They think day and night of freedom. They think of freedom by any means necessary.