Back in the USSR

If I were the queen of the universe, every time a member of the one percent opened his or her piehole to defend exploiting workers, they would be sentenced to work six months at a minimum wage job, find an affordable apartment, apply for Medicaid and food stamps and be monitored closely by a social worker. Because when Mayor Mikey says crap like this, I can only think of a Yiddish word that rhymes with “nuts”:

To a few hundred New York workers laboring for $8 or $9 an hour, a living wage bill recently passed by the city council means a raise, a few dollars more a week to help feed their families.

To billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg, it’s a wedge to open the door to communism. That’s right — the mayor told a local radio program that requiring businesses that get taxpayer subsidies to pay their workers a little bit more is just like a centrally planned economy. “The last time we really had a big managed economy was the USSR, and that didn’t work out so well,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg is just fine with handing over millions of New Yorkers’ dollars in taxpayer subsidies to companies that threaten to flee the city — no complaints about “free market” capitalism when it’s wealthy real estate developers getting the dough. Requiring those businesses that are happily slurping at the public trough to pay their workers a dollar or two more an hour, though, is just opening the door to Stalin.

In addition, Bloomberg has been willing to support a statewide minimum wage increase — so it’s not really that he opposes workers making a little bit more as much as he’s opposed to admitting that businesses that get public money have an obligation to the public. He’s opposed to admitting that there’s nothing “free market” about any of it.

No wonder a rally in support of the living wage bill was interrupted by a heckler calling him “Pharoah Bloomberg”—the reference to “Pharoah” making workers labor for low wages on taxpayer-funded projects seems apt, as the world’s 20th richest man has vowed to sue to prevent the living wage ordinance from going into effect.

“Mayor Bloomberg is in fact taking the position that the immense buying power of the city as well as its prominent role in economic development should be used to milk private sector workers,” Mark Price, a labor economist who testified in 2009 before the New York City Council over a prevailing wage bill, told AlterNet. “The idea that the government can be used to do this to workers is a throwback to the Gilded Age when robber barons ruthlessly accumulated wealth and power at the expense of workers.”

But as the economy remains stalled and companies that pay poverty wages continue to get huge subsidies from cities and states (like New York’s FreshDirect, which we recently reported is pocketing $129 million in handouts and is exempt from the new living wage rule), activists around the country are pushing for living wages in cities, on college campuses, and in tandem with pushes to raise the minimum wage.

2 thoughts on “Back in the USSR

  1. In Georgia minimum wage is $5.10/hr.

    You know, for all the good here, there is so much more evil.

    It’s not as if good people haven’t been killed off by the millions before.

    At least if it happened here, think of all the horrible horrible people that would be gone.

    Real shame for us, but what a blessing for everyone else, eh?

  2. Uhhmmm… some, upwards of ten million of my ancestors were put to the sword in the name of the jew dog, in the name of “white supremacy”. Perhaps as many as seventy-five million across the “Western Hemisphere”. Hitler was so impressed by our “Indian Solution” that he wrote a book about it.

    I have mixed feelings …

    One part of me is absolutely gleeful at the prospect of you white folks experiencing what we have, yet another more predominant world weary that we as a “civilized” nation continue to pursue such barbarous policy.

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