Business owners are complaining today about unemployment hurting their efforts to hire workers. However, there’s an 800 pound gorilla in the room that they, nor the media dare to mention. That 800-pound gorilla is, why not just offer a higher wage?
Considering offering a higher wage is like the third-rail in this American discussion and you would think our media would explore this seemingly obvious solution. However, in a society conceived and driven to world prominence via slavery, it continues to trend towards its natural form.
The obvious objection to raising wages would be that businesses couldn’t afford to operate. In fact, in my neighborhood, Hollywood, CA., a local grocery store, Food4Less, closed its doors two days ago because it claims “Hero Pay,” a five dollar pay increase paid to employees for suffering the dangers of working during the COVID19 pandemic, made this store and two others unsustainable. It’s quite suspect that most of the shut downs were in the ‘hood; this gesture could be interpreted to be them punishing poor people for being paid closer to their labor’s value. To the issue of businesses not being able to operate, so what! It’s the market. The Pandemic has raised the value of labor because many Americans, for the first time in their life, have experienced paying their bills and playing with their kids. Many have experienced a dignified life, for once and will not labor for a downgraded lifestyle. Many companies are offering one-time signing bonuses to lure people back into inadequate wages. I hope people don’t fall for it.
Another sad question is; why does unemployment pay more than employers are willing to offer? It’s shameful that the government can print and distribute more money than employers are willing generate and share with their workforce. There’s a profit margin in this conversation that isn’t getting discussed. I understand with small businesses; many of their owners aren’t living on the high horse. But the fact that Walmart and Target can’t pay dignified wages and remain profitable means their status as industry leaders may be undeserved and perhaps they should be devoured by those smaller businesses mentioned above.
If workers cost more; hey, that’s the market. Business owners blame the market when they impose higher prices on us. These “market forces” don’t seem to decrease their CEO compensation or all the goodies they lob into the “expenditure” section of their tax form to make the profit threshold more distant. When CEOs begin downgrading their lifestyles and flying commercial, I’ll then believe worker pay truly affects their bottom line. Until then, America should regard business owners’ complaints for what they are; an attempt to rally Americans into subjugating the poor into labor for less than adequate compensation; a condition closer to slavery than the current status quo.
Unions formed in America because companies exploited division amongst workers. These companies enjoyed unrestricted market desperation, which caused workers to labor at inadequate wages for fear of another person taking that job. Well, the tables have turned and now business owners with companies that don’t pay enough can be taken over by others with fewer overheads that can afford to pay Americans a dignified wage. Industry leaders today seem to have enough reserves to develop machines for replacing humans yet they complain about not being able to survive. If they cut that job consuming development, like we cut our vacations when we don’t make enough, they can raise their wages enough to attract workers.
Sadly, America will have a conversation about the inability to hire workers yet completely miss the 800-pound gorilla in the room, raising wages.
As a solution to the worker shortage, I suggest the Federal Government offer to continue the $300 payment to employees who get jobs while cutting it for those who don’t work. This program should continue for one-to-two years while employers restructure their businesses to pay a proper wage. When this period is up, it will be sink or swim for businesses and those who can pay proper wages will survive.