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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Good on them

The Chicago City Council recently passed their Big Box wage increase law, targeted mostly at Walmart (the city limits presence of which progressive Chicagoans fought tooth and nail against in the first place)

The "Chicago business community" is of course, predicting the imminent collapse of western civilization due to this unconscionable government intervention in private business affairs. "Thousands of jobs are going to be lost!" goes the hand wringing.


Bravo, City Council, this will almost certainly be overturned by the time it gets to our fabulous new Supreme Court, but good on you.

A lot of black leaders (though certainly not all, many other black leaders are responsible for this law in the first place) are venting their anger at us smug white liberals who are secure in our privileged lifestyles trying to deprive their communities of desperately needed "development". You know what? Do what you like. Just don't expect any sympathy from me the next time you whine about the legacy of slavery 'cause ya'll are doing this to yourselves.

It's my willingness to post sentences like the above on the Internet that pretty much guarantee I will never hold public office myself.

Maybe you think I should mind my own smug white liberal business, but guess what? It affects me, pal.

Walmart is a disease, a sickness. It will kill us all if we let it.

Oh, but Walmart and their ilk are shedding tears about all the poor souls they won't get to employ.

You honestly think Walmart gives a fuck about whether or not you have a job?

Actually, they'd probably rather you didn't. They view labor costs as an unpleasant, necessary evil, one they try as hard as possible to purge. Their workers are little more than cattle to them. The reason this attitude affects me is that it affects all of us. The big people are never going to give the little people their rights and dignity on their own. We have to fight for them.

The forerunners of the people who say that a living wage in big box stores will spell the doom of American business said the same thing, among other things, about the idea of protecting workers from mortal dangers on the job, letting them retire at a certain age, and letting them have Saturdays off. And guess what? We still have to fight for those things too. We have to fight for the idea that human labor is a valuable commodity, not something as plentiful and disposable as dirt.

Once upon a time called the mid-twentieth century (which may go down in history as a brief interval between Dark Ages) in a faraway land called the United States of America, work was a contract between the employer and the employed, not some benevolent act of charity bestowed upon the rest of us by the rich and the powerful and be grateful for what you have, you little maggots...

But poverty is a powerful motivator isn't it? People will do anything for a full stomach and a roof over their heads. "Any job is better than no job." I hear.

Really? *Any* job? Even one where your employers regard you as the scum of the earth and treat you accordingly?

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet?...Forbid it, Almighty God!"

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