“The Pay Is Too Damn Low”

I’ve commented recently about unpaid interns, primarily because some lawsuits have erupted from this abusive practice.

Now here comes James Surowiecki, the New Yorker’s Financial Page columnist, who, in a brilliant, limpid, one-page dissertation, analyzes how and why the U.S. is in an employment crisis. His emphasis is on low-wage workers.

You must read it, because you can read it. Suroweicki is clear and rationally compassionate about the problem of low-wage work in the United States, why this form of serfdom has metastacized, and how we all are complicit.

He discusses the minimum wage, why it’s “brutally hard…to live on a McDonald’s wage,” and why raising it would help but why it’s not the long-term solution.

He tells us why “Low-wage earners have long been the hardest workers to organize and the easiest to ignore. Now they’re front-page news.” And he explains why this has happened, too.

The article ends:

As Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, told me, “The best friend that low-wage workers have is a strong economy and a tight job market.” It isn’t enough to make bad jobs better. We need to create better jobs.

Read it. Just read it.

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