Working for Less

Companies are refusing to raise wages, and it’s biting everyday workers in the back. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle, additionally, get poorer. This is a common story throughout the course of history, but of course, it’s not the narrative that was promised to the American people during the most recent Presidential election. Rather, Republican tax cuts were supposed to incentivize the business leaders to hike their wages so their employees could make more money. That doesn’t seem to be the case though.

The idea of trickle-down economics has been failing us for quite a while, and at this point we cannot look the other way. We either have to change the system we live in or adapt our lives to it, which seems impossible for most people to do and get by with. Let’s look at the facts behind this and how to survive the crazy world we live in.

The Growing Upper Class

With billion-dollar corporations refusing to pay their employees more, despite the GOP’s claim that tax cuts would incur wage increases, it doesn’t look so great for the middle class. This is because rich people want money more than they want equality. They would rather be ahead and have themselves covered with excess, which leaves less room for people at the bottom to improve their own wealth and state of living.

So what we’ve been left with is an upper class that’s growing more in wealth. Not everyone who makes this much money has the attitude of exquisitely rich magnates like Bill Gates, who convinced many billionaires to give 90 percent of their wealth to charity. Rather, people like being in control and having more. And at the end of the day, Bill Gates himself, as percentage-wise generous as he is, probably still has enough money to cure famine and poverty in the world.

The Increasingly Poor “Everyone Else” Class

With the rich getting richer and refusing to pay the lower classes more for harder work, the middle class becomes relatively poorer. Right now, there’s a lot of debate about what will happen politically. Will the Trump administration figure out a way to fix this? Will this failure be the beginning to the crumblings of capitalism? Only time will tell, but what’s important right now is that we take ultimate care of ourselves while the world around us seems to be falling apart.

Of course, it’s hard to change your life when you’re tired. Sleep improves your health, and is not “for the weak” as the idiom says. It’s so important to have a good work-life balance, because otherwise you won’t be able to rest or be effective at your job without taking years off your life. Do whatever you can though to find ways to improve — to find ways to keep yourself sane, happy, and healthy. Because right now, it’s survival mode for us. Increasingly every day, it’s survival mode.

The Migrant Dilemma

Right now, wage policies are affecting migrant workers in a more specific way. Due to the skill sets and qualifications of many poor migrants, they’re particularly targeted by employers who know loopholes or laws that let them get away with paying less. Now, we all know that a policy doesn’t have to use a racial slur to be racist or directly hostile to migrants, as has been the case of migrant workers. In fact, many of the efforts against the labor movement have been steeped in racism.

You may be thinking along the lines of “well if they’re undocumented, they should have come here legally!” Not only is that beyond the scope of appropriate empathy and understanding, but it’s irrelevant. There are laws regarding labor that specifically target jobs migrants — documented or not — are drawn to, many of which are manual labor jobs. Work centers, for instance, often get around important workers’ rights laws by not establishing themselves as a labor union.

Migrants can attempt to take legal action but many times they risk their own legal and financial security in doing so, especially if they’re undocumented. This means it’s up to those in places of privilege to make a difference. The resources you have — a company that can pay people fairly, law experience, living resources that can help someone struggling — could save someone’s life and keep them going until things are fair for everyone. Keep this in mind as you go along your day.

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