Burgers and Bootstraps

We conversationally toss around the classist slight about “working at McDonald’s” or “flipping burgers” like a person who is in that role is virtually without worth. It’s public shaming, humiliation directed at people working — responsibly, competently, and reliably — in necessary service jobs which are remarkably and unjustifiably poorly paid. Yet we let it slide that the uber-wealthy executive class has rigged the system, which, if you haven’t seen the statistical evidence, is now blatantly and repugnantly obvious.

Corporations are legally beholden to their shareholders to maximize profits, not for the greater good but for private amassment of wealth. They have dammed up the flow of our currency in some sunny, offshore, well-funded loophole and the trickle down from that reservoir is a well-funded myth.

So here’s the thing: No one ever talks about making cuts from the top down. It’s taboo, practically unheard of. They’ll be “forced to schedule layoffs, scale down employee benefits, close several locations, source production overseas” (or evade taxes by moving corporate headquarters to another country). However, when the CEO to average worker pay scale ratio has gone from app. 40:1 to 400:1 over the past 40 years, with executive salaries accelerating far more quickly and lower level employee wages stagnating, not even keeping up with the cost of living, this is willful, systematic oppression. All work has dignity and all work should be adequately compensated and sustainably valued.

However, to point this out and ask for those who have more than they will ever need, even in three lifetimes of living like demigods, to take even a teensy cut at the top of the pay scale? My God, it’s practically heretical to suggest it, not even a consideration to be put on the table. Rather, it is slyly kept hidden under the table — or behind closed doors.

Why has this happened? Because they’ve been able to buy their way into the legislative process and shape the public narrative. They’re running for (or in) office, they’re lobbyists, they’re investors and shareholders, they’re media moguls, and they’re limited liability corporate individuals doing the bidding of private enterprise. The level of international collusion and corruption is inestimable. It’s effectively massive-scale organized crime… with diplomatic immunity. We’ve allowed it, been complicit in our silence or in denial of the indicators — or we’ve been largely kept in the dark, intentionally, by vast media corporate entities who are driven by their own profit motive.

Whistleblowers labeled “radicals” are, were, and have always been ridiculed and persecuted, effectively silenced to the ears of the masses by all the money poured into keeping Americans distracted, fearful, want-y, needy, distrustful, and unaware. The American people are just frogs in the kettle and these powers-that-be have been slowly, purposefully turning up the heat one degree of separation at a time. Now we’re feeling the bubbles starting to rise as we near a slow boil. We’re starting to panic and step all over each other to save ourselves when we don’t realize we could help each other out and then form a bucket brigade to douse that evil, orange flame.

With all the inflated salaries, bonuses, stock options and whatever other gobs of entitlement the elite executive class feel they have “earned”, my question is how did we get to a point where one human being’s honest, diligent labor has been so denigrated and diminutized that they are treated as peons, not worthy of the dignity of wages which will allow them to feed, clothe and house themselves or their family, when the human beings who directly profit from their labor live like high kings, pampered queens, and arrogant jackasses? What happened to “An honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work”?

Actually, the truth is that the labor of the lower level workers is often the hardest, most physically and mentally challenging work, inseparable from and critical to the success the executive enjoys as he makes deals on the fairway before jetting off to his beach house, ski chalet, penthouse or lakeview villa for a long weekend. All the Social Darwinist right wing ideologues who spin this systemic oppression as some form of logical, meritocratic justice are FULL of SHIT. The ladder is smashed, the bootstraps are lying on the side of the interstate and the playing field is as tilted as a Playboy Penthouse pinball machine on the Trump Titanic.