This week, amongst the “covfefe” kerfuffle, Kathy Griffin’s “joke” about a fake head and the United States “pulling out” of the Paris climate agreement, it was easy to miss an announcement from the Premier of Ontario that the minimum wage will soon (January 2019) be increased.
Now I don’t work for minimum wage, but I am a Canadian entertainer who has chosen to stay in this country so…close enough. Plus, I worked for a long time as a server at various restaurants where I did make minimum wage (and put in the exact proportionate amount of effort).
Being a server is a special kind of minimum wage though, because you get gratuities (fancy word for “tips”). The tip portion of a server’s earnings, which you MUST report to the government come tax time like I always did (wink, wink) can make being a server somewhat lucrative. But the hourly wage of a server, which is all you get if the restaurant isn’t busy (another tip for current servers: Don’t work at restaurants that don’t have customers) was hardly a living wage.
And that’s an important distinction.
The “minimum wage”, is very much a term from the employer’s perspective: What’s the MINIMUM amount I have to legally pay a person? But the living wage is how much people actually need to support themselves and their families just to, you know, LIVE.
And the current minimum wage in Ontario of $11.60/hr is NOT enough for a living wage here. It works out to less than $500 for a 40 hour week or less than $25,000 per year. To say that is “tough” to live on for an individual, let alone a family, is like saying it is “tough” to win a biting contest against a crocodile.
“So what?” you may say if you have a good paying job. “Educate yourself. Work harder. Make like The Jeffersons and “move on up” (if you don’t get this reference, you will by the end of this article) The problem is, that’s damn near impossible to do when you have to spend all your waking hours working in multiple low-paying jobs for employers who are making lots of money.
Now, if you’re one of those employers, I can see why you’re angry and I know you have more insight on this than I do. You may think it’s better to hire many people at a very low wage than to hire fewer at a slightly higher wage. So this move is essentially “killing jobs”. But I would argue that the workers you do employ will be better motivated. They’ll put more back into the economy as a whole. The hardest workers in fact will use the extra income to, indeed, move on up. They may even start their OWN companies, where they’ll pay other people an increased wage.
So I say, to all the employers out there, why not embrace (or at least accept) maximizing the minimum wage and instead of thinking of it as how much you have to pay out, think of it as how much more your employees will put in.
Now as for that other thing currently occupying the oval office and seemingly every
second of worldwide media attention, I’ll be very brief:
Trump is dangerously uninformed, intoxicated on the power of the world’s most powerful office and is frankly, in my opinion, a terrifying beast. But the media, the social media and we as people aren’t helping by constantly feeding said beast.
Should it be pointed out that climate change is real? Absolutely. Should matters of national/international security be paid attention to? You’re damn right. Should atrocities be brought to light, condemned and if humanly possible corrected? Yes, yes and yes.
But the endless mocking of Trump by citizens, comedians and now newscasters who THINK they’re comedians isn’t helping. Pointing out an injustice and making suggestions on how to solve it is one thing. Mocking every one of a multi-faulted man’s various faults and ignorances (such as typos on tweets) is essentially the same as, say, mocking someone with a disability during a Presidential campaign (or at any time for that matter)
So let’s minimize the maximum attention we give Trump and maximize focus on the issues and people that deserve it. It’s easy to get dragged down. It’s harder to move on up, which, if you still don’t get, watch this…