Hmmm. I think I’ve quoted this article before, but I shall quote it again:
One-third of American workers are in jobs for which the median wage is below $15 an hour (or $31,200 a year at 40 hours a week). More than half of retail and food service workers get less than a week’s notice of their schedule. Yet our extensive experience with top executives has shown us that many genuinely believe they are doing everything they can for their frontline workers and therefore don’t have a bad jobs problem. But they aren’t and they do. How can these data-driven business leaders be so misinformed?
The video example of all this
That would be Katie Porter going over an Irvine JPMorgan teller’s salary with Jamie Dimon:
It does not help that Jamie Dimon regularly looks like a smug fuck, which is perhaps also one reason why the CEO pledge seems like trite BS. But this dude gets about $31M in salary per year — probably about double that all-in, in reality — and he’s talking about “I’d have to look at the numbers a bit more…” on this Irvine employee who is losing $587/month even though she has a job at a bank that moves about $6 trillion per day.
The one thing you can’t ignore
The business world is, by and large, run by cost-cutters. Employees — “making payroll” — is often a company’s biggest cost. Soooo….
…. and yes, companies like to reinvest in shareholders and dividends and all that, not pay people.
Employees, broadly, want a chance to carve out a good life and some autonomy. Employers, broadly, want a chance to get a massive nut and automation. That’s the intersection point we reside at. It’s not like that everywhere, no. But it is like that at most places.
Can government fix this?
Probably not. Government needs access to people like Jamie Dimon to win future elections, so over-regulation of the rich is not something you will see often, at least in America — where getting ye nut is paramount.
I don’t think anyone can fix this problem writ-large, macro level. I think there are some companies who do this stuff right. I think there are some companies that pay people fairly. There are many who do not. If that matters to you, try your best to navigate to a place that will pay you fairly, or at least give you some opportunities for growth. If it doesn’t matter to you, then make ends meet as best you can. It’s not in the best interests of CEOs or governments to really change any of this anytime soon.
Uber as a crutch
“We’re creating so many jobs, and the unemployment rate is so low! The economy is booming!’
What’s sad about “the gig economy” and honestly even the rise of the Internet is that it’s given a crutch to the mega-capitalists to virtue-signal about other people.
“You don’t like it? Go drive Lyft, or build your own WordPress and sell stuff!”
That’s not completely untrue. People can do that. There are opportunities. I don’t live in Sudan, no.
Is this stuff easy? As someone who has been hustling for five years and broke for 2.7 of those, I can tell you it’s not super easy, no. I could be better at my own woke hustleness and I have lots of my own flaws, totally — but it’s not easy to just do something and come out net-positive income wise. Just saying.
But because the sheer possibility exists — one thing Dimon eventually says to Katie Porter in that clip above is “Well, the teller could have my job someday!” — now the rich can point to that, even though they know it’s not really ever going to happen.
Oh, and why would a CEO be in touch with employee fiscal needs?
CEOs fly around and do deals. They look at financial metrics all week. They honestly lack the time to care about what Billy or Maggie in one division is making and has on their plate bill-wise. They should care, but what you can care about is a finite limit, and it’s often tied to what you want to care about. The sheer psychology of a person who becomes a CEO means they want to care about money and growth. Maggie’s bills are not part of that caring equation. That’s just, well, reality and life.
What’s your take on all this?