Incomplete Journalism, The Fast Food Worker’s Strike and Armchair Economics

It’s really exciting to see that there is coverage of the Fast Food Worker’s strike on CNN.  A public outcry for a living-wage-as-minimum-wage is something I kind-of never expected to see. Unfortunately, I’m not terribly hopeful about the response of the employers and lawmakers to this, in part because of the shoddy, slanted reporting that’s going on.

Obviously, no one can live on the current minimum wage.  The fact that the restaurant organization is claiming that paying people a livable wage will  drive up their costs, forcing them to raise prices, especially on their dollar menu, and hire fewer workers, is not being countered by the truthful statement that if workers make more money, more money will go back into the restaurant owner’s pockets.  Currently, workers cannot afford to eat out.  Maybe they can afford the dollar menu?  I have a hard time believing that a fast food joint wouldn’t benefit from most workers being able to afford a meal deal, that usually costs upwards of $6, rather than ordering something that only brings in a dollar.  (I haven’t eaten fast food in a very long time, so I’m guestimating here.  I don’t dare eat at those places).

I view the elimination of the dollar menu as a positive sign all around.  First of all, the dollar menu’s main target is people who barely have a dollar in their pocket to spend on food, isn’t it?  If people aren’t taking advantage of it, perhaps it’s because they don’t have to; they can afford to buy a real meal.  Secondly, if everyone is making a living wage, the only people who’ll miss the dollar menu are the real bargain hunters.  I believe that if people can afford it, they’re going to choose healthy, organic food.  There’s free range fried chicken and burgers, after all, but that’s not something you’re likely to ever see on a dollar menu.  Honestly, who wouldn’t choose humane, organic food if they could afford it?

So let’s see.  On a living wage, people can afford to take their families out for a healthy meal.  Who benefits from this?  Obviously, the restauranteur and everyone who works for her; waiters, dishwashers, bussers, bartenders, chefs, prep cooks, hosts, if not with the cash from the increased tips, then at least from job security; all of the restaurant suppliers: produce, meat, dry goods, beverage and spirit, utilities suppliers, landlords (or the bank if the owner can afford to own the building, the likelihood of which is much higher in my scenario), etc.  All of those employees and suppliers now have more money to put back into the economy by buying more, likely higher-end, products and services.  You get my point.

What I want to know, and I asked this same question over a decade ago, is why isn’t  this the main stream rhetoric of economists?  Why isn’t this the agenda of business owner everywhere?  

The only thing that occurs to me, regarding CEO’s and billionnaires, is that they’re already making so much money, they don’t care if their businesses do better?  But that doesn’t really make sense, now, does it.  So why are they so greedy; ultimately at their own expense?

It would be a miraculous salve to the economy if minimum wage were to be catapulted to the $15/hour living wage that the workers are asking for, but until my armchair economics are public opinion, I’m not holding my breath on that one.

I’d love any feedback on the economics of this, but keep it intelligent, decipherable and polite.  I took the time to articulate my arguments.  If you claim to be an economist, make your points something understandable or don’t bother.   Attacks will not be tolerated.  I still mediate this blog.

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Book Two

Oh, my mind is so clean this morning.  Amazing considering the nightmare of last night’s tossing and turning.

I’ve recently discovered a name for the torture my mind has endured since junior high school:  It’s called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD.  It is defined as a psychological injury that results from protracted exposure to prolonged repeated traumas in which there is an actual or perceived inability for the victim to escape , which results in the lack or loss of control, helplessness, and deformations of identity and sense of self.   Wikipedia Description  C-PTSD Symptom Chart

Pretty heavy shit, loaded with shame, dissociation and deep, deep grief.  It doesn’t help that we live in a society that just LOVEs to blame the victim, tell people to ‘get over it’, and has a distinct lack of compassion with people who can’t just ‘change their attitude.’

C-PTSD, as described, is a psychological injury.  In other words, there are biological, physiological changes to the brain.  This is your brain on C-PTSD

I guess the reason I want to share this is because it helps me understand why I have been unable to pursue my dreams, and why I have, as my former therapist coined it “A disastrous relationship history”,among other things.  Gaining an understanding of my issues and working through them will eventually empower me to dare to take steps towards the performing career I want, the relationships I’d like to have, or whatever it is I choose to do.  As it stands now, I’d rather not even make the attempt.  The discomfort of the ‘guilt and shame hangover’ that ensues when I function in life is not something I want to keep experiencing.  Currently, the easiest way to stay peaceful is to avoid the situations that trigger those feelings, which, unfortunately, includes most activities.

I had wanted to go for a walk or a run or a dance on the river yesterday.  I had intentions to join a gym the day before that.  There’s something going on that has me not even wanting to walk out the door to engage in activities that previously you couldn’t keep me from.  It has a lot to do with the processing that has begun as a result of reading Judith Lewis Herman’s Trauma and Recovery, a book that I had to often put down for the welling up of emotion it provoked.

In light of this discovery, I think it’s sort of amazing that I’ve accomplished the things I have.  People have always commented on my strength of character and mental perseverance. This new journey is going to be the true test of that.

Baby steps.  It’s going to be slow going.  I think this is the beginning of my second book in life.  I’ve been told by more than one psychic and astrologer that I will live two lives in one, starting at about this age.  Maybe there’s something to that.

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Today’s Lesson

My Bestie, Danyelly, is coming into town tonight for a friend’s birthday and I’m meeting them after work for karaoke (pronounced Kail-A-Oh-kay) so I needed to get a little fancy today. Also, it’s around twenty-degrees-fahrenheit degrees today, and we have two gaping holes in our apartment awaiting attention. I recently picked  up a little Holmes space heater that works tremendously well.

The space heater was working it’s little blower off, warming my room nicely, and I plugged in my hair dryer to the surge protector, thinking “I probably shouldn’t plug both of these in.” Apparently, I should have drunk more of my morning coffee before attempting to work with electrical appliances, because that thought got stuck in pre-caffeine brain matter. Of course, part of my adventurous self was wondering what would happen, since I’ve been really careful about unplugging the 12.5 amp heater so as not to blow a fuse. Curiosity won, I turned the dryer on and everything shut. Off. completely.

I tried to mess with the fuses, to no avail, and again there was a little niggling voice whispering “It’s not the fuses,” that was ignored. There are only three fuses in our fuse box. One of them was obviously not for my room since it shut off the kitchen when I removed it, one didn’t do anything new when I changed it, and the other we had no spare for.

I was going to leave it and just buy a 20 fuse at some point during the day so I could try the one we didn’t have a replacement for, but when I went to get water out of the pitcher in the fridge, the fridge was dark. One can’t leave a refrigerator without power, even in 20 degree weather with two gaping holes in the ceiling. The apartment is chilly, but I don’t think it’s down to forty degrees.  Yet. Plus, the stuff in the freezer would never survive.

Did you know there’s a little black reset button on the end of your surge protector???? Neither did I!! So who can blame me?!, really, for going and pounding on the super’s door to help me?

Victor, our super, and I have a really good relationship. He misguidedly wanted me to be his girlfriend, and despite a small language barrier, I was tempted. A little bit. He’s also twenty years younger than me, which he swears is not a deterrent, but I think he may be a little impulsive in that area.

Anyway. I wake Victor up, and he says he’ll help me in a minute. I’m late leaving for work at this point and a bit panicked. Lesson number one: Never Panic. It’s never necessary and keeps you from taking care of things simply.

I waited about three minutes. I went back and knocked, rapidly and a lot, on Victor’s door again. I’m like, “C’mon! I’m late for work!” I’m getting pushy; trying not to; failing. He protests that he must get dressed and I tell him to just throw on a t-shirt. He finally appears out of his apartment and goes in search of the fuse.

He comes in and checks the fuses, changes a couple, puts them back.  He comes in my room and does something to the surge protector and everything starts humming. “I’m gonna kill you” he says.

“I did that!” I cry in self-defense. “I turned it on and off multiple times!”

“You know about the black button?” he says.

I bend down and look at the top of the surge protector and see that there is a black reset button. Oy.

“I’m sorry!” I hold my face in embarrassment. “I’m so so sorry! I’m Sorry Victor!” I am effusively apologetic. He smile/smirks at me. “It’s ok” he says. “You’re late for work,” he throws over his shoulder as he walks out the door.

“I am. SUPER late.”

I’m gonna have to bake something for Victor.

Luckily, no one was at work when I arrived fifteen minutes late, even though the train was just pulling out of the station when I arrived, which has been happening every. single. day. for about two weeks.  It doesn’t matter what time I leave the house.  I can hear it when I’m coming down the stairs into the station; pulling in, Mocking me.  I can’t run for it because I have peroneal neuropathy which is triggered when I run down stairs.    It is another lesson in not being attached to events you can’t control because my connecting train always arrives just as I am stepping on to the platform.  Here is a great parable about these kinds of things:  Morning Meditation

In the past I would have spent the remainder of the day beating myself up and planning what to do to make it up to Victor. Age and disappointment have jaded me, for the better, I think, because now I’m just really happy everything’s working, that I know now how to fix any power surge outages, and no one was here when I came in.

The lesson of stay calm and don’t get dramatic is emphasized and maybe learned. Maybe.

I am a little bit fancy and ready for karaoke (Kail-a-oh-kay) and will be able to be warm when I get home tonight.  (I used the socket in the kitchen to blow dry my hair).  Stay calm and Improvise. Continue reading

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