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The PJ Tatler

Scott Ott


April 5, 2013 - 5:00 am

As low-wage food service workers demand a doubling of their pay, an uncurious journalist never wonders how people who earn $7.25 per hour were able to organize a “nationwide” strike replete with crisply-printed protest signs. For that matter, the dullard scribe doesn’t indicate whether “nationwide” connotes thousands of people in hundreds of locations or a dozen folks on two street corners.

Bad journalism is defined most often by what it lacks, rather than what it states. Incompetence, or conscious manipulation, are found in the question unasked, the fact unmentioned, the absence of context. The passive reader will never notice.

Reporting work of this caliber deserves less than $7.25 per hour, but it does provide an opportunity to explain, once again, how the world works.

Here are a few basic facts of life that each child should take to heart…and by “child” I mean journalist.

1) Your pay is not based on how much money you need to enjoy the lifestyle you desire.
2) Your pay is determined by the skill needed to do the work, and the difficulty of replacing you.
3) If your employer were to jack up your pay beyond those parameters she would have to jack up her prices, which would chase away customers, thereby reducing her need for you. (She alternately could reduce her profits, but that would scare off investors who provide the juice for growth. Stagnation is death.)
4) If you ever get paid what you’re worth, you will soon be fired. Your employer must pay you less than your value in order to make a profit on your labor.
5) Low-skill jobs give you work experience and a chance to impress people with your attitude while you develop additional skills that merit higher pay. (Note to MickeyD’s worker, that lady to whom you’re handing a milkshake may be a millionaire looking for a bright, enthusiastic new employee.)
6) Your attitude, and ability to cheerfully work with people are the most important skills to develop, and tuition is free at that “college.”
7) Your ability to communicate ideas and to engender enthusiasm, combined with expertise in some realm, will take you far. Expertise without communication and people skills generally produces bitter drudges who never figure out why their skills go unrecognized.
8) Ubiquitous internet means that any skill you wish to develop, and any knowledge you want to acquire is at your fingertips…again, tuition free. (You can even google ‘ubiquitous’.)
9) You live in the greatest opportunity playground in the history of the world, with unlimited free access to all of the tools it takes to make a happy, productive, meaningful life. Only your attitude can restrain you from receiving the benefits of this extraordinary moment, in this God-blessed land.

Scott Ott co-hosts a news, commentary and humor show called Trifecta on PJTV. He created and hosted the 20-part series on the Constitution titled Freedom's Charter. His satire site, ScrappleFace, spawned three books and praise from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and many others.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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Well it's easy enough for me to walk right down the street to either Wendy's or Burger King since we have all of them right close together here..and which I would do on principle if this crap really gets out of hand
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, this "grassroots" nationwide protest just doesn't pass the smell test. Reminds me of all the poor, downtrodden, Walmart Workers of America. Its ironic that still there's almost always a job available at one of these big, mean, nationwide corporations, for someone with no talent, no skills, maybe has a criminal record or dubious past. Funny, they insist on starting workers like this at minimum wage, though.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
MacDonald's should pay $15 per hour if they need help and can't get it for $14 or 13 or...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If you ever get paid what you’re worth, you will soon be fired. Your employer must pay you less than your value in order to make a profit on your labor."

I don't think this is correct. A thing is worth what people will pay for it. ("Intrinsic value" is a myth.) In a free market, the seller can shop around, soliciting offers from multiple would-be buyers, and sell to the one who buys the most. If you have done this with your job search, then you are, by definition, being paid what you are worth.

(Of course, the minimum wage distorts this process, forcing employers to pay employees more than they are worth.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have a close buddy who recently took over a small restaurant in a busy strip of fast food joints. I've volunteered, yes at minimum wage, to help him out on some evenings and weekends when he is unavailable; he is already working 80+ hours per week. No, I don't need the money, and would take zero if my buddy would allow it.

The only thing the minumum wage does is price out new entrants to the market. In the burbs where the restaurant is located, inexperienced new hires, generally high school juniors, start out at minumum, which is a lot more than they are worth. But if they survive 90 days, they start making more.

Surviving the first 90 days is the big issue. It is not unusual for 50% of the new hires to quit or abandon the job, when they find out just how darn hard real work can be:
"You mean I have to clean out that filthy sink? Gross! I quit!"
"You mean I have to show up on time for every shift?"
"You mean I have to be in uniform before I clock in?"
"It's really hot, my feet hurt, my friends want to go to the movies, can I leave early?"

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I tried explaining to a McDonald's worker why he wasn't being paid more. He accused me of being a racist.

I though it would be futile to further point out that both he and I were white.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When Obama proposed raising the minimum wage to $9/hour, Republicans (aka the inept party) missed a golden opportunity. Republican leadership should have immediately responded with a proposal to raise it to $50/hour. This would have done two things:

1. The Dems would have opposed it. Some would have opposed it for the right reasons. (Some would have opposed it simply because it was a Republican proposal) The trap having thus been set, Dems would then be forced to defend their position of being against increasing the minimum wage.

2. Think of the reaction of the Obamaphone people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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