Skip to main content

By Lydia Bowers, originally published on Next New Deal

Services like Uber and Taskrabbit may offer convenience to their customers, but they don't provide essential protections to their workers.

It’s about time we talked about pay. The disparity between the top and bottom wage-earners combined with the inability for most minimum-wage workers to earn a livable income is one of the largest causes of economic stagnation and social justice concern of our time. I couldn’t be more thrilled that it appears we are making moves to raise the national minimum wage to be more in line with a living wage. This raise would have a direct impact on the 3.6 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum and would have far-reaching positive consequences for our economy and society.

But there is a new, fast-growing class of low-wage workers that would not see the benefit of this decision. These new “insourced” workers are individuals who contract with large Internet-based companies like Uber and Taskrabbit to perform services here in the United States, either at a rate set by the larger company or in a free-for-all bidding war. As contractors, these workers receive very little protection in terms of minimum wage laws or unions, let alone benefits or insurance for the work they do. And their ranks are growing fast.

Taskrabbit, founded in 2008, outsources household errands and skilled tasks so you can find time to do what you love, according to its website.  Members of the site, or “taskrabbits,” place bids to perform services for “task posters.” Need your laundry done or someone to paint your apartment? Post it on Taskrabbit.

While this may at first seem like a modern-day update of the community bulletin board for odd jobs, it is in fact a much more insidious shift in how individuals find work, as many who are unemployed due to the recession turn to the website as a primary form of income. With little in the way of health insurance or other protections in work environments that are frequently dangerous (painting, carpentry, factory packing, and bike delivery) and a stream of work that is impossible to guarantee or even estimate, taskrabbits have it rough. Add that to the “lowest bidder almost always wins” formula for Taskrabbit services and the workers in this emerging industry face a bleak picture for economic stability. I briefly worked as a taskrabbit in 2013 as a way to gain additional income, and while it was a fun side-gig for someone employed full-time, I can’t imagine sporadic $15 delivery tasks becoming a viable way to support myself. But this is the emerging reality for many Americans.

Car service giant Uber is also part of this new group of employers. An article published last week in the New York Times , while focusing on Uber’s legal troubles, also outlined the lack of protection or support for its drivers. Uber maintains its drivers are “partners” – or freelancers – who typically drive their own vehicles. The insurance Uber is required to carry only take effect if an Uber driver is found legally at fault for an accident, and many personal insurance polices do not cover commercial activity. “If another driver is liable, the passenger would have to rely on that other driver’s insurance, assuming there is any.” And while Uber’s supply/demand pricing allows drivers to make significant cash during peak times, one driver estimated that he’s worse off than he was without it. “Peter Ashlock drove a cab in San Francisco for 10 years in the 1970s and early ’80s, bringing home about $500 a week. Two years ago he started driving for Uber. After gas and the company’s commission — usually 20 percent — he makes about $1,000 a week. Factor in inflation, and he has lost ground.” There is no union or wage protection in this line of work, giving Uber drivers no avenue to advocate for themselves.

And perhaps more alarmingly, Uber is making strides, at least in New York City, to replace the cab-driving industry, which has a strong union presence. While many taxi drivers in New York still struggle to earn a living wage, their union power gives them the ability to fight for fare increases, as they did in 2012. If we allow Internet companies with insourcing practices and no accountability to replace long-standing industries with organized worker power, low-wage workers will only suffer.

What can be done? Potential responses to this problem include regulating and mandating fair employment practices for these emerging companies or extending minimum wage protection to abstract “partner” employees. Cities in particular could lead the way in regulating these businesses, which would benefit their citizens by ensuring living wages and compassionate employer practices, and strengthen their economies. Whatever the answer, we must address it now. These companies are growing fast: Uber is believed to be growing at a faster pace than eBay in the '90s, and is now valued at $3.4 billion. We can’t let insourced workers be the modern-day agricultural and domestic workers, who were originally excluded from National Labor Relations Act protections and still fight to this day for many rights guaranteed to other workers. In short, while we debate a living wage on the national stage, we have to consider how to address the emergence of the unprotected, underpaid, exploited insourced workers. 

Lydia Bowers is the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's National Operations Strategist.

Photo via ThinkStock.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Economics on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  it's like these apps are just "middle men"-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, JVolvo

    we will put you in touch for a small fee.

    I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

    by stagemom on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:44:57 AM PST

  •  Independent contractors: another thing that... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, JVolvo, FiredUpInCA small doses probably is a prudent and effective arrangement, but now has too many clever, creative "players" who have completely FUBARed the concept.

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:21:36 AM PST

    •  No, I think this was the point all along. (0+ / 0-)

      Along with avoiding unions, employee health care, pensions, other reimbursements.

      Write the smallest check possible, get the work done without having to care about employee 'rights' & employer 'responsibilities'.

      I know that you who hear my singing make those freedom bells go ringing. And so we keep on while we live, until we have no more to give... Don't you know it's darkest before the dawn. This thought keeps me moving on. Pete Seeger

      by TiaRachel on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:29:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whats wrong with freelancing? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, davehouck

        Thats my gig...independent contractor to dozens of different clients. I wouldnt want it any other way. Sure, I dont get healthcare from any of them, but I can buy it myself. ANd if I dont feel like working one day, I dont have to. I can piss off and go surfing, or ride my bike, or sleep in until noon.

        Cant do that as an employee.

        Left Coast Libertarian

        by pacspeed on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:50:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, you don't get healthcare (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          or any other kind of benefits.

          Being a consultant myself -- just a fancy word for "freelancer" -- I agree with you on some of the benefits.  But for you, it's a choice.  For a lot of people, it's the only way to find work, and it can be a very marginal existence.  I don't know what kind of freelancing you do, but in a lot of businesses, demand can be a real roller coaster.  It's great when you get enough work.  It can be very stressful and frightening if you can't.

          The ACA will help, but for you, it's a choice.  But for a lot of companies, using freelancers is a substitute for taking responsibility for the people they hire.  And on the whole, Americans are worse off because of abuses of it.

          Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

          by mbayrob on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:02:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  universal healthcare; good schools; basic income (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The jobs are gone, and they're not coming back.

    Nor should they.

    We should not buy into the view that it is a moral duty to create ways everyone can spend most of his or her waking hours making consumer crap that there's already too much of. That is not why we are granted a few short decades on this planet.

    Instead we should advocate for the view that every human being has inherent worth and dignity, and deserves to live in dignity regardless of whether he or she can find a traditionally-defined job.

    This means:

    * Universal healthcare. Really. Obamacare has taken a big stop, but we're still only part of the way there.

    * Good public schools for everyone.

    * A universal basic income.

    The US economy is currently producing huge wealth...

    FRED profits

    ...using well under its full capacity:

    capacity utilization

    We can do this.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:46:56 AM PST

  •  If you're going to demand minimum wage (0+ / 0-)

    for freelancing work contracted via a specific website, it will be only fair to demand minimum wage for all freelancing work. But how are you going to figure out how many hours a specific task took? In some cases it's obvious (e.g. clean house for 2 hours) but in many cases it's not.

  •  Very bad practice. (0+ / 0-)

    First, odd jobs will always be needed. Second, sleazebag jerks will always find a way to exploit the poor.

    Knowing this, you would think that congress would make the system immune from this taskrabbit scam.

    The internet is open source. taskrabbit is exploiting the less savvy and that is really revolting in my honest opinion.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:14:18 PM PST

  •  Strange position on insurance (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onionjim, fly, mmacdDE

    one can't say their insurance doesn't take effect if the Uber drive isn't at fault.  You either have insurance or you don't.

    Uber is bringing parties together and has a duty to make sure the driver has insurance.  If not, Uber gets sued.

    As for personal coverage covering the driver, it doesn't  That is why you have commercial insurance.

    I have not used Uber, but if Uber is using drivers with personal coverage, and not commercial insurance, then this would be neglect.  A class action lawsuit is appropriate here.

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:23:51 PM PST

  •  Another insidious practise cropping up (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onionjim, nchristine, dewtx

    in the transportation industry is the reliance on company websites for scheduling. Particularly in the case of per diem employees. The worker, scrounging for work for the next day, may be on several scheduling websites just to see if there is work the next day, and can easily spend one half hour on each one, looking for gaps in the schedule, applying for permission to pick up a shift, only to find out when they come in the next day, that the company has either cut a crew, and there is no job, or the shift hours have changed, so now an 8 hour shift is 12 hours, and it was posted when you went to sleep, so now you're either late for the longer shift, or too early, and have to wait a few hours before your shift begins.
         As a consequence, the per diem worker is adding an entire day to his/her workweek, in essence working 6 days to get paid for 5, if they are lucky enough to secure 5 days of work.  One place that was doing this, had two or three people a week quitting over just this issue---by the way, loosing more money on hiring costs and uniforms than they were saving on "efficient scheduling."
           This form of tyrannical scheduling actually forces people to constantly check their computers or cell phones, even while they're driving, because they are in competition for work. In my opinion, companies that do this should, in the event of an accident, pay a stiff fine as well, because the results of their policies are reasonably forseeable.
         Even if you get a higher wage, the employer isn't really going to pay enough to cover the cost to the worker of an extra day looking for work, each week, on the "electronic shape-up." And it can run the average worker maybe 50 unpaid days a year. So just multiply that by your hourly rate to get a rough estimate of what that would mean to you. 50x8=400 hours per year, or if you like 10 weeks of 5-day workweeks, or, 20 percent of the worker's workyear spent chasing the opportunity to make a buck.
       Add to this the obvious: If the shift runs later, you might miss a class at school, designed to educate you for a better job, and if you miss enough classes, now your're on the hook for that semester's tuition, plus you have to sign up for another semester, with maybe more loans tacked on to that, putting the ambitious further behind.
       If you've got kids, in daycare, there may be fines for picking them up late.
       If the hours break bad on the shift, you get stuck in traffic, and maybe late for school or a second job. Etc, Etc. Etc.

  •  Just wait until one of these Uber drivers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    after charging 9X the normal rate for a ride gets robbed and/or killed for his likely thousands he's carrying in cash. He'll be in a union or armed to the teeth before long. And who wants to hitch a ride with an gun totting speculator?

    Knock twice, rap with your cane

    by plok on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:31:00 PM PST

  •  So, to you, these people are too stupid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to know what their time is worth, eh?


    The people who bid on these jobs apply their own value to their time.  

    But, you think they should be forced to value their time higher and, probably, price themselves out of any work at all.

    Thanks.. your concern is noted.  But I think most of these people would tell you to butt out of their business.

    What you seem to fail to grasp is that someone doing a task for another person might only take them ten minutes, but can reap several dollars in return - for ten minutes work!

    You people who seem to want to regulate every tiny aspect of people's lives need to take a vacation.  People really aren't as stupid as you think they are, and they don't need your interference.

    •  "Too stupid"?? Or maybe, with worse information (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      What you seem to fail to grasp is that someone doing a task for another person might only take them ten minutes, but can reap several dollars in return - for ten minutes work!
      What you seem to fail to grasp is that in many businesses, it's not so easy for a casual person to figure out what the right price is.  The Free Market Fairy doesn't whisper the the appropriate price in your ear.  It's actually hard to know in many kinds of activity.  And the people who buy the services often have a much better knowledge of pricing, especially in the kind of arrangements described here.

      This seems to be news to you.  It shouldn't be -- there have been several recent Nobel Prizes in economics over the last couple of decades who have studied exactly this problem.

      Don't assume that the people you're ragging on are the ignorant ones.  Walk down the hall and try the mirror.

      Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

      by mbayrob on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:08:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "right price"? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        What you seem to fail to grasp is that in many businesses, it's not so easy for a casual person to figure out what the right price is.  The Free Market Fairy doesn't whisper the the appropriate price in your ear.  It's actually hard to know in many kinds of activity.
        There is no "right price"!  Whatever the person feels is fair, is fair!

        You would have babysitters unionized, for cripes sakes.

        A person's "extra" time is theirs.  They can read a book, sit reading blogs, or go out and make a few bucks helping another, busier person get their stuff done.  The whole point of these entrepreneurial endeavors is that both sides agree to what's fair.  That's freedom, pure and simple.  And, that is the spirit this country was founded on.

        •  Hard to take this point of view serviously (0+ / 0-)

          Don't know how much life experience you have.  You can read a book, looks like.  Ayn Rand, maybe.  .  

          But I can't imagine anybody who's tried to make a living the way you're suggesting for more than a couple of years talking that way.  Or expecting folks not to laugh at him if he did.

          Freedom is about a lot of things.  Like they say:  you're free to sleep under a bridge in the cold.  But if you lack the economic means to get a roof over your head, it probably won't feel like freedom for you at the time.

          That's what this is about.

          Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

          by mbayrob on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 01:51:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Never read Ayn Rand (0+ / 0-)

            always looked to long and boring..

            Ummm.. life experiences.. I'm in my 60's.. you?

            I've held at least one job every day since I was 9 yrs old (paper route)..  In addition, as a kid and teenager, I did all kinds of day jobs delivering pamphlets, etc. etc.

            In my young adulthood, I took extra jobs at Christmas season during the weekends.

            I've been a paid musician most of my adult life, and I negotiate my own pay.  And I paid for my first guitar at 14 with cash I saved from those part-time jobs while pulling A's in school.

            I have been a consultant, doing programming and IT jobs on the side most of my adult life, again setting my own hourly wage.  And ya know what?  I sometimes under cut my usual hourly wage just to get the job knowing there would be more work in the future.

            So, please.. I know whereof I speak.


            But I can't imagine anybody who's tried to make a living the way you're suggesting for more than a couple of years talking that way.  Or expecting folks not to laugh at him if he did.
            Who the hell said anything about someone making a living?  Most of these bid jobs are done by someone who already has another income.  No one in their right mind would try to make a living off of this stuff - unless they were really good at a specific task and could ask premium wages.

            You don't really seem to have a lot of real world experience dealing with work and selling yourself.. get out there and do it!

    •  YAY! (0+ / 0-)
      So, to you, these people are too stupid to know what their time is worth, eh?
      Yay! Abolish the minimum wage! After all, if you are offered a $1 an hour position, and you can't get a job at $2 an hour, then your labor must be worth $1 an hour!

      The right-wing trolls are in good form today. Although you really have to work on your concern trolling: you can catch just as many flies with honey as you can with bullshit, and most people can smell bullshit when it's thrown their way.

      •  Who the hell said that?? (0+ / 0-)

        right wing troll?

        Hey Fred.. we are talking about people's spare time and how much they value that.  It is not up to you to value that for them.

        Full time work.. and even part-time work are totally different than what is being discusses in this diary.

        Get a clue..

  •  Do we want a world run by corporations? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JJ In Illinois, coffeetalk, rduran

    Sometime progressives get accused of hating the free market.  That we someone expect the 1% to just magically come up with the cash to pay everyone extortionately for not very much work.  Sure, the top 1% get paid extortionately for not very much work, but just because that is unfair does not mean we need to propagate the unfairness.

    In an employer-employee relationship, where one has to be a certain place when requested, where tasks are set, and where work must be done under supervision, there is a need for a minimum wage and hours of work.  That is because there is little or no self determination on the part of the worker.  There are also a bunch of other regulations to protect the worker.  These have increased over time, at the biggest problem we are not regulating is the fact that some employees are not scheduled regular hours.  This causes disruptions in personal life.

    In fact one of the biggest problem, mis classifications or an employee as a contractor has been corrected over the past 20 years.  The IRS is now more active in making sure contractors are contractors.  This was largely a problem in the IT world where almost every employee was a contractor even though they were treated as an employee

    But the examples here do not seem problematic.  The author herself said that she ran errands for $15 an hour, but there was just not enough work.  As an independent, one has to drum up business.  That is a consequence of being a wage slave.  I suppose if one were serious about making money, $500 a week after taxes would not be impossible.  I know many small business owners who put in 60 hour weeks.  Sometimes they make less than minimum wage, sometimes they make a great deal more.  But we would not shut them down because they do not book $500-600 in profit every week.

    It seems to me that Taskrabbit is simply allowing people who don't want to be wage slaves to make money.  This, to me, is a good thing because we should not be peasants, dependent on a master to survive.

    As far as the taxi driver, I think many of us would want to have his problems.  $1000 a week is probably around $30k take home.  And we do not know how many hours he work.  Maybe this is 30 hours a week.  Even at 50 hours a week this is $12 a hour.  I know many people who would want to have this guys problems.

    If we don't want the world to be run by corporations, then these are the exact time of firms we should be applauding, not denigrating.  

    •  Do you actually _talk_ to cab drivers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I do.  Maybe not as much as Tom Friedman, but I do.

      In many places, it's a really difficult, disruptive life, and no, these people mostly don't make that much money.

      So, as to this:

      As far as the taxi driver, I think many of us would want to have his problems.
      Be careful what you wish for.  You may yet end up in a cab driver's shoes.  After driver a few hundred or thousand miles in them, you may not like the fit so much.

      Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

      by mbayrob on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:13:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  example used in the diary (0+ / 0-)

        The taxi driver was the example used in the diary.  The author made it sound like, because the driver was not making 100K a year take home, that the driver was somehow oppressed or underpaid.  The point was not that taxi driving was not a hard job, or that he did not earn his money, but simply that  it was untrue that someone the the service was not providing him a means to make adequate money.  Clearly $30K a year is not good money, but it is not bad money.  I also point out that we do not know if this guy is actively trying to get gigs, or is just waiting for gigs, i.e. if he is working full time, or just getting by.

        And I think it presumptuous to imply that a taxi driver is a less disruptive life that other jobs.  If one works retail, one may be scheduled on a moments notice, and if one does not show up there is no work next week.  That might mean taking a bus to the babysitter and taking a bus to work and hoping the buses are running on time.  Because at 7.25 you can't afford no taxi.

        One of my friends in college worked at a grocery store.  Sometimes he would be on the first shirt, sometimes second, sometimes third.  You don't think that is disruptive.  More recently I knew a kid who worked in a grocery store and was promoted to manager, not pay increase.  But he had to work more hours or he would be fired.  The problem is that that meant he had less time for school.

        Most of use have disruptive jobs in some way.  Many of us were making more money years ago.  But when the average family income is right at $53K, often because two people are working, we do not feel entitled to $100K a year just because we once were able to pull it off.

    •  There's always going to be people who (0+ / 0-)

      complain when any employee can't have all his needs and many of his desires on the wage offered by a single employer.  These are also the same people who coopt a conservative tenor and whine about taxpayers "footing the bill."  Well, taxpayers should foot the bill.  A lot more than we currently do to achieve a far greater ambition than we already have.  That's the only way this is going to work.  Providing for the basic needs of society is the job of the government.  Not Walmart.  Not Uber.  Not Taskrabbit.

  •  I wonder if this relates to the ACA website... (0+ / 0-)


    The company that got the contract to build the website, CGI, emphasized its culture of managing its employees as if they were independent contractors.  They were responsible for finding their next project within the bids that the company won.  If they didn't, their jobs were presumably at risk.

    Separate from any effect on the worker, that approach tends to make the quality of the work product less predictable...

  •  Residential Real Estate Appraisers (0+ / 0-)

    are in this same boat. It used to be that a bank or appraisal company could have a panel of appraisers and you could get a job as a staff appraiser and make a halfway decent living. But since the meltdown, and the government required a third party to stand between the appraiser and the bank (appraisal management companies,AMCs), almost every appraiser in the country has been forced to become an independent contractor, whether they wanted to or not. Sure, there were some rotten apple appraisers out there, but most are honest and impartial. What the government and the banks have done is to shift the blame for the crisis onto the backs of appraisers, when in reality, the most common problem an appraiser would face was the bank telling them to "make our number or we'll find someone else who will". The result has been the AMCs taking 1/3rd or more of the customer's fee(for doing almost nothing), reducing income for the appraisers who actually do the work, the loss of any and all employment protections, an avalanche of AMC special requirements(totally unrestrained), and hold harmless clauses, which relieve the AMC of any and all responsibility or liability(including when the appraiser visits the customer's house: think dog bite, stand your ground and ice covered sidewalks). It has become a nightmare. The National Association of Realtors is supposed to be looking out for the rights of appraisers, but they rather than advocating for us, they just consider us a nuisance.
    Until appraisers get their own union to fight back against the banks, the AMCs and the government, the situation is going to become more desperate and dangerous. Experienced and qualified appraisers are leaving the business every day. Soon, only computer programs will be left to estimate the value of your home, and good luck with that.

  •  This article just doesn't gain a lot of sympathy (0+ / 0-)

    I agree there are always those very willing to exploit the poor and unemployed, but what can be done about it?  The best thing is to get Congress off their fat butts and spend some money on infrastructure so that more jobs are created.  More jobs = fewer targets for these types of companies.

    Secondly I find it really kind of tough to believe the guy making $1000 a week is worse off than when he made $500 a week.  I would love to make $1000 a week.  I still have a car payment, insurance, maintenance and gas bills anyway.  It doesn't add up - sorry.

    •  Huh (0+ / 0-)
      I agree there are always those very willing to exploit the poor and unemployed, but what can be done about it?
      Yeah, it's not like we could regulate it, or have a minimum wage that actually applies to everybody instead of just a lucky few. That's so hard!
      Secondly I find it really kind of tough to believe the guy making $1000 a week is worse off than when he made $500 a week.
      So, just curious, are you one of those people who doesn't believe that inflation exists? Because $500 in 1980 dollars is the same as $1413.57 in 2013 dollars, according to the most accurate measure of USD inflation that we have. Which means that he is making a little over 2/3 what he was in the '1970s and early 80s'.
      I would love to make $1000 a week.  I still have a car payment, insurance, maintenance and gas bills anyway.  It doesn't add up - sorry.
      So you don't think that he might pay just a smidgeon more for 'gas bills' than you do, when he drives for a living? And a LOT more for car repairs, tires, and so on? And, of course, car insurance depends on how many miles you're putting on your car, so his is almost certainly much more expensive than yours. And then there's the fact that he has to pay both halves of his social security... you pay 7.65%, he pays 15.30%. And there are all the other business expenses that you have when you work for yourself, too.

      What are your business expenses?

  •  The solution is painfully clear (0+ / 0-)

    Nationalize 100% of the every single aspect of the economy and stop paying people at all. Simply dole out the apportionment of food, shelter, etc the State deems them required to have.

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      The solution is to provide an adequate baseline.  Then you don't have to worry about wages companies pay out.  And before anyone starts on about how companies won't be paying their fair share, remember that businesses are nothing more than associations of people.  People who can be taxed just like anyone else.

  •  You're not really proposing anything (0+ / 0-)

    Minimum wage is a related issue, but not particular pertinent here.  $1000 a week is $48,000 a year; considerably above the typical minimum wage increase sought after.  

    If you want to get behind something that will actually make a difference, then get behind taking over the responsibility for providing a baseline standard of living for all Americans.  We've ample evidence over the past century that improving outcomes through wages is a piss poor way to reduce poverty and provide subsistence.  So let's jettison the corpse of Puritanical work "ethic" and get behind a guaranteed income.

    It's time to stop pretending Walmart and McDonald's are people and take responsibility for our society as taxpayers.

Click here for the mobile view of the site