Quick question: why do stores offer employee discounts? Did you say as an employment perk? Or to increase sales? Or because store owners are decent human beings, and feel compelled to do their employees and possibly friends a solid? All good reasons, but those overlook an important factor: offering employee discounts lowers the risk of employee theft. Giving someone five-percent off that GAP t-shirt means they feel like they’re getting a deal, and will feel less justified in stealing it. That also means that the store will spend less money on preventing someone from stealing that t-shirt, and less money on firing and prosecuting the offending employee. Because most retailers have figured out that doing the morally decent thing and the most cost effective thing is usually the same goddamn thing.
I bring all this up because I want on the record the fact that I support livable wages before the riots break out. I should make it clear I’m not advocating for the riots, I’m only predicting their inevitable beginning if the country on the whole continues being assholes. See, by and large, content, productive citizens don’t riot, and they don’t commit crimes (except for some victim-less crimes, specifically drug use. Those are all bullshit). But when faced with an inability to find ways of being productive citizens, and therefore attaining a content lifestyle, people start burning this fucking place down. Magna Carta, American Independence, fair(ish) labor practices? These were all things brought about by a group of people losing their goddamn shit and threatening to take everyone with them. Again, I’m not saying we should start rioting. I’m saying that rioting can be an effective tool of last resort.
So the government could figure out a way to make sure that a large percentage of the population is mostly content by meeting the basic human needs for most people. They could do this by offering healthcare to all people, by raising the Federal minimum wage (to $12-an-hour if adjusted for inflation, or $20-goddamn-an-hour if we kept up with worker productivity), and by investing in infrastructure like schools, transportation, and public gather areas.
We could do that, or we could keep giving rich people more money despite the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that that will help anyone other than the assholes who already have a shitton of money. And, just one more time, I’m not starting any riots. But given our political climate over the last two decades, I’m sure as shit preparing for one.