Jobs are scarce everywhere you go, and we are all thankful for whatever we can earn right now. But it’s a sad commentary on America’s standard of living, when so many of the working poor I’ve talked to consider Satan’s pay rate to be pretty good ($11.50/hr).
I’m not sure why, because when I look back at the the last 20 years of my working life, I see that in real wages I’m actually earning way less than I was back in the late ’80s.
In 1988, I worked at a mannequin factory, painting faces in the art department. I was paid $8.00/hr. Then, in 1989 – 1991, I made roughly $16.00/hr putting myself through college while working for an insurance company. I thought my standard of living would only go up from there, but when I finally got my degree in ’92, jobs were scarce. So I became a coffee barista and waited tables, and made around $9.00/hr plus tips. I was barely able to survive on that in San Francisco, but I did.
Seventeen years later, this job is paying me slightly over what I made in ’92, yet that wage is supposed to be considered good? How can that be? Certainly I’m not paying the same for food, fuel, etc., that I was back then. I’m just banking on the overtime that’s supposed to kick in this week after Black Friday, which is why I took this gig.
As the cost of living climbs, real wages keep sinking for those at the bottom. I’m so outraged that there is such a ridiculous, embarrasing disparity in this country between the rich and working poor (which, if you’re not already, you could be, very easily). Meanwhile, the Wall Street billionaires keep making obscene profits, and taking our tax money to bail their companies out. Can’t you hear them laughing?