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View Diary: Even if Mitt Romney's job creation claims held up, low-wage retail jobs don't build the middle class (31 comments)

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  •  I dont like this story. It gives wrong impressions (1+ / 0-)
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    WillR

    First off, Staples and Sports Authority are retail outlets. Their workers aren't going to be paid all that much in comparison to people with professional degrees and more intellectual jobs. Had Romney taken over a cancer R&D firm, these statistics would be tremendously different. The quality of jobs created only reflects the types of businesses Romney and Bain improved. Nothing else. Thinking he should be creating $30/hr, + benefits, union jobs at retail outlets is just ridiculous.

    Second, "retail industry average" is an average for a reason. Not all retail is the same. Nordstrom is going to pay it's retail workers more because it's variable pay and they provide a much more important piece to Nordstrom's business plan. Likewise, the retail workers at Home Depot are going to get paid more because they generally have some valuable knowledge about how to use the products they are selling. This isn't so much the case for Staples or Sports Authority. The retail worker at Staples isn't expected to know about the differences between different varieties of staples and be able to discuss them with the customer. Nor is the retail worker at Sports Authority expected to know the difference between different types of footballs and be able to teach the customer about them. Not all retail is the same, and Staples and Sports Authority use workers that are relatively unknowledgable about their products compared to the industry. Hence the lower than average wage.

    Third, $9/hr doesn't get a family of three past the federal poverty line. It does, however, get a family of two out of poverty. It seems like you cherry-picked a "family of three" so that it would come out below the poverty line. And by the way, do we really think that a single individual should be able to support a family of three above the poverty line on a low-skill retail job? I don't.

    But what happens when you have two people in a household working at $9/hr? You get household income about $37.5K. Median household income in the US is less than $10k higher than that. So, the claims about these jobs not building the middle class are kinda bogus.

    Lastly, offering medical and 401k is a big deal. You know it's a big deal because you thought to ask about it. If you have two workers in a household working at one of these stores, it becomes vital and affordable to get medical coverage. It becomes even more important if one household member is an independent contract worker earning significant wages - meaning the retail job is primarily used as an "in" to medical coverage the family can afford as part of an employer group. The 401k is in a similar situation. But I'm not going to get into the messy details of all of this. The point is that health insurance and 401k offerings matter. They matter a lot, and Romney's companies offer them. He's not some corporate monster robbing the middle class and putting them into slave labor. That narative just isn't accurate.

    To avoid the inevitable attacks of shilling for Romney, I advise everyone to vote for Obama. There are plenty of good reasons to choose Obama over Romney.

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