We supposedly live in the freest country in the world. But only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages. The issue isn’t just jobs. Even slaves had jobs. The minimum wage buys less than it has at any point in the last 50 years…

My youthful summer jobs were mostly consumed working the family farm and in my irascible father’s chainsaw factory… for 15-cents an hour. That was only for the first 40 – for the additional back 30 hours a week I got nuttin’… except hell.

Hmm… In today’s world my curmudgeon father would be a top-five reason why unruly children have the Department of Human Services set on speed-dial.

One time I actually overcame my fear of death to suggest to my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy that he should at least pay my brother and me minimum wage.

He slowly decided to let me continue breathing as he exhaled one of his omnipotent puffs on his omniscient corn cob pipe:

“I do,” he snarled. “After food, clothing and shelter, ‘yew’ get what’s left!”

Hmm… So when did father-dearest suddenly leap from capitalism and its unequal sharing of blessings, to socialism with its equal sharing of misery?

I tell you, life ain’t nothing but a crime unfolding between conviction and compromise. That is, between getting what we want and what comes.

At the time Dad recounted that he usually paid people what they are worth. That was when minimum wage was a buck an hour. He explained that the employees who do things without being told are worth more and thereby draw the most wages.

In other words, I think he was stipulating that people who work the minimum aren’t even worth what he just flushed down the john.

“But I can’t live on 15 cents an hour,” I protested as I obstinately demanded to know how in the heck I was supposed to maximize the American dream on minimum wages!

Again my father smiled and poked an annoyed finger into my forehead: “Most people find they can’t live on whatever they are earning, son.”


So he said that his job, like any man running a company, big or small, isn’t to solve ‘my’ problems.

“I am not here to make you rich,” he exhaled, “just to enrich you. My job is to manufacture the best quality chainsaws and lawnmowers possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible. But there is only so much money to make that possible. I am not Uncle Sam.”

Hmm… I think I need to get me one of them government jobs. You know, where Uncle Sam overpays you no matter what. For not working, for not hardly working and for not even being ‘essential.’ And furthermore, I ain’t ever heard of no government ‘worker’ getting minimum wages – not even the 800,000 non-essentials who still got their back pay from the 16-day government shut down.

The paradox today seems to be that we supposedly live in the freest country in the world. But only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages. And wages come from work. If you can find it.

However, the issue isn’t just jobs. Even slaves had jobs. The issue is wages. Living wages. Am I duh only guy on duh planet who grasps that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 purchases less than it has at any point in the last 50 years?

Raising the minimum wage again as President Obama proposed not only in his State of the Union address, falls on hungry ears. It tends to be more popular with the general public than with economists.

And that’s not because those geeky, nerdy bean counters think that only Caesar should get his due.

That’s because boosting the present $7.25 minimum wage won’t resolve any problems. It never has, actually, not since FDR first got the law enacted in 1937 during the Great Depression. And if you don’t understand what I am saying, consider the simple mathematics that since its incipience the minimum wage bar has been hiked something like 17 or 18 times!

Low wage jobs don’t pay enough to keep millions and millions of families out of poverty. In reality the prices of goods, houses and general cost-of-living keep inflating faster than even my blowup dolls. And what this amounts to is that wages in America, adjusted for inflation, remain no better than stagnant. Or worse.

In other words more is less. We can barely afford a movie ticket. And forget about a football game. Hells bells, your gas bills gives you heart burn. And what’s with this outrageous escalating cable bill? And for what? Nothing more than watching what you can read or listen to on the radio for mere pennies.

Are you listening, here? Do you comprendè what the heck I just spewed?

And meanwhile, the higher the unemployment the greater the competition for the expanding low, lower and still lower paying jobs.

But you already know that. With the devastating foreign-competition and unions all but decimated pretty soon we’ll all be laboring for less than migrant workers. Not to mention all those putative illegal aliens.


So what can we do to stiff-arm the ever spiraling inflationary costs? I mean, short of shedding blood, throwing the bums outta Washington and telling the carpet baggers of the world to bugger-off. That if they want to continue selling to the biggest consumer market on the globe – that still be us, for you witless wonders watching three football games a day – then we simply aren’t going to pay more than we can afford no more.

Otherwise, we’ll go back to making all that ‘stuff’ bigger, better and cheaper right here in the very same country that invented the Baraclounger.

Hmm… didn’t we?

Look, I don’t need to tell you the obvious: It is no longer an unwritten law of American capitalism that industry will attempt to maintain wages at a level that allows a single wage to support a family.

This ain’t the post WWII Life of Riley America no more. And Corporations don’t care. And we are too distracted ogling new cars and taking pills to get our winkys up.

It comes down – like healthcare – where we all – and I mean ‘ALL’ – need to chip in. All pay something to get something. Work more for less that will cost less. And try being reasonable and rational with our expectations.

I know this sounds like one-for-all-and-all-for-one bit of socialism. But when we started bailing out car companies and banks as well as paying farmers not to grow crops, we already, long ago, stepped in that do-do.

So get over those idiotic labels. They are nothing more than red-baiting. Think about the wry irony: Many people already consider the things government does for them to be social progress; but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.


There is no doubt when we shoot and shout about the government being too big, too invasive and too absolute — we are absolutely right.

It absolutely is.

It also is absolutely inevitable.

Thomas Jefferson wasn’t the first to foretell that: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Even John Adams admonished that Democracy eventually commits suicide. And then there were those capitalist anathemas — Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. They both crowed that Democracy is the indispensable road to Socialism.

And that seems to be obvious – especially in recent years. Because too many of us vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing — and not because we have a concern for what is good for the country.

Actually, the real problem is that we have gotten this Nanny big government elected by the people who don’t vote. And that brings to mind something my dear ol’ Pappy used to say time and again.  

The reason we get the crooked government we deserve is because the rest of us are too busy watching football!

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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