Pretend for a second that you're a high school dropout with no job experience. How much are you really worth to an employer?
You're definitely not worth $15 per hour -- especially if you're doing work like flipping burgers or cleaning hotel rooms.
-- Neal McNamara, "Dick's Drive-in 'Smart Wage' Offers Alternative to $15 Now," MyNorthwest.com
It is rare when the ruling class and its fawning admirers in the mainstream media speak openly about how they see the working class. Rich people are aware that we resent hearing them tell us how worthless they think we are. But Neal McNamara, esteemed journalist at MyNorthwest.com, doesn't have any reservations about telling people just how worthless he thinks they are.
It is sort of refreshing, actually, to hear him say it. There's no beating around the bush. If you work at a job McNamara deems worthless -- "flipping burgers or cleaning hotel rooms" -- he has no problem telling you: "You're definitely not worth $15 per hour."
It is simultaneously funny and maddening to hear one human being tell an entire class of other human beings that they aren't worth $15 per hour. Fifteen dollars. This is not some grand sum, some outrageous fortune. It is not, for instance, even enough to support a family with. But still, it is more than people who clean hotel rooms deserve, according to McNamara.
So it is funny in the same way someone like Sean Hannity is funny, that is, we sort of have to laugh when yet another arrogant, bloviating, upper-class man condemns a huge portion of the population as being undeserving social pariahs. Otherwise, of course, we'd have to cry. And that is the maddening part. For if this is what passes as real political discourse, what then does that say about our society?
I am not entirely sure why McNamara has chosen to single out two of the most exploited groups of workers in the country for particular scorn: "burger flippers" and hotel housekeepers. As the growing number of fast-food worker strikes testifies, the people "flipping burgers" are not happy with how their industry is run, and with good reason.
In 2011, McDonald's CEO was paid more than $20 million dollars. That was nearly 1,333 times the amount the average crew member (i.e. "burger flipper") or cashier made, which was, on average, less than $8 an hour. So not only does their pay remind them of how little they are worth, but also self-righteous journalists like McNamara feel they need to help drive the point home: You're worthless, people who service my needs.
And then people who clean hotel rooms, really? He needed to single them out as particularly undeserving of $15 an hour? Surely he could have come up with some other group less deserving than that. Sub-prime mortgage brokers, for instance. Or NRA lobbyists. And if this article is any indication, I would say that most undeserving of all might be MyNorthwest.com journalists.