The problem with the struggles of our day: minimum wage; universal health; the perfect family; the perfect marriage; the perfect career is that people have forgotten that nothing is always an option.

No, seriously. Let’s take minimum wage for a spin on this.

People keep gabbing on about the “minimum wage” and “a living wage” as if the only reason people aren’t paid whatever it is they hanker for is the infinite greed of infinitely evil “capitalists.” I mean, I’ve seen them rage on line about how “capitalism” is the worst possible system. Because so much greed and materialism and no one is giving them i-phones for free. Or something.

BUT here’s the thing: I actually have run a business for well nigh on thirty years. And I have friends who are business owners and business managers.

I think I’m not paying enough to my assistant, my copyeditor, and I d*mn well know I’m not paying enough to my editor.

Is it my evil capitalist greed? Put a sock in it. Until I did the blog fundraiser (still figuring out delivery of rewards, and if I can’t I’ll put them out in public which defeats the principle, yes, but also makes sure they are DELIVERED. Except for mentoring and tuckerizing, because there are few of those, and they’re personal. I don’t like owing and not delivering. For next time I have…. ideas. Since I can’t use Paypal, anyway.) I couldn’t afford to pay them, at all. Every time I paid, it was money taken from the ability to pay for something else that I sorely needed. That was, if you remember, the whole reason of the fundraiser. And now I’m using that money (and will use this year’s however much it turns out to be) to push the fiction writing to earning its living. So I can pay my people “a living wage.”

TL/DR most business owners are very conscious of the debt they owe their people, up to and including having tabs in their back brain for “must give x a bonus when I’m making y level”. We know that our people, if they’re worth spit (and small businesses are very careful to only RETAIN the ones who are) are worth whatever we can pay them. And we’re competing with everyone else out there, including bigger and badder people who can take our people and pay them more. There are bonds of loyalty both ways that help, but I don’t expect them to hurt themselves for my sake. I really don’t.

We pay what we pay because it’s what we can pay.

For the longest time, I told people “Yes, I’d love to have an assistant. I need one. I just can’t AFFORD one.” Same for cleaning lady, whatever.

I still can’t afford a cleaner. What I can pay isn’t enough. So I don’t pay.

I’d have been willing, back in the day, to hire someone with a kid. They could bring the kid. They could help. They could get food or instruction in writing, or whatever alongside pay.

My mom always had a young woman who came and did dishes, in exchange for mom making them clothes. Not the same young woman. they tended to get married.

If mom had had to pay minimum wage, we’d have had unwashed dishes pile up. And the girl would have had fewer clothes of less quality and never have attracted eye of future husband, maybe.

So, you know, the person I maybe could have hired and contributed a bit towards that person’s family budget and a lot for his/her learning to write or whatever, in exchange for her/him coming over and dusting, vacuuming, doing the cat boxes, making sure bathrooms were less than gross, maybe starting dinner (though unlikely, as I usually do that early morning) never got that money/help. And I never got help and produced less. And got sick when I tried to shoulder house and writing and everything, because there are limits to the flesh.

But I couldn’t afford minimum wage, or contributions to social security. So we got nothing. Nothing is always an option.

In the same way, if your jobs at McDonald’s are mandated to pay $20 an hour? Mickey D’s will automate. And the would be cashiers will be unemployed. They get nothing.

I know that some special kind of idiot is out there rubbing his hands and saying “Good. Minimum wage stops exploitation. These people are better off on welfare. At least they have their dignity.”

Uh, do they? They also have no resume, no way to prove they’re worthy/able to hold a job. Which means it’s not just this first, low paying job they can’t get. It means when a bigger job comes along they also can’t get that, because they never learned.

But let’s game it beyond the individual: Minimum wage is decreed at whatever you need not to starve in NYC or LA. Let’s say $20. There, you showed those evil capitalist pigs.

This doesn’t mean that everyone who is working at the entry level now gets $20. It means half of them get laid off and get nothing.

No, not because of greed. Because the alternative is the business closes.

But even with laying off half, most businesses do need the work force. I think half the restaurants are using “labor shortage” as an excuse. They just can’t afford to pay for what they need. And as we’re seeing… well, it’s a spiral. fewer workers, longer waits less “fun” experience for clients, who start eating out less, because what’s the point, and then– It spirals.

So even with businesses doing what they can to stay in business, and a lot of people getting nothing, all commerce structures spiral down. Businesses close. Farms close. Restaurants close. A whole lot of people get nothing, and we all get less: Fewer options, less enjoyment, fewer opportunities, less wealth.

“Good,” says the twit. “Welfare will provide for all, and when everything crashes, we get socialism, and then it’s utopia.”

Uh uh. First, it is already socialism.

The government is already controlling the means of production that are theoretically owned by someone else. The means of distribution too, though Marx never got it. And that’s not utopia. It’s what’s strangling everything and ensuring we get nothing. Second, at the end of this lies NOTHING. Welfare might give you a check for a hundred million Somollians. Where are you going to spend it? The stores are closed, the shelves are bare. The farms have killed the cattle and shut down because they can’t afford the electricity and water let alone labor.

What are you going to do? Try to convince people barely cultivating enough for subsistence to give you their stuff? You’re going to need tanks. How are you going to get there? There’s no gas stations open.

But Sarah, you say: We already have minimum wage, and things haven’t collapsed. Why not raise it.

Yeah, we have minimum wage. And an illegal workers problem, because people can’t pay it. Also a growing and increasingly less capable welfare class. And we’re sort of tottering along. And money is coming from somewhere.

Specifically money is coming from thin air, spun by the Federal government. Which sooner or later crashes. We’re being protected by being the World’s reserve currency. Or IOW we’re being protected from our own folly because others are worse. That can’t go on forever. And if I understand correctly, the whole world is tottering on the edge of the abyss.

But we are getting poorer. We’ve seen it these last two years with all sorts of benevolent mandates and hand outs. The wealth ultimately comes from all of us. We lose discretionary spending. We lose what we need to do more than subsist.

We’re already on the path to getting nothing.

But the idiot-ignorants keep pushing. “Free universal health care” they say. Only like food, or an apartment, that requires others’ labor.

Yes, our doctors are paid more than in Europe. That’s because their training is twice as long and twice as expensive. So they kind of need the money. They have enormous debt and are starting careers in their thirties. Tell them they have to work for “X” and they leave the profession in droves. They already have over Obamacare and its senseless mandates. More will if they can’t pay their debt anyway. Better work at something with less stress. And then we import…. well, seems to be mostly Chinese (but also a lot of third world) doctors, who aren’t trained the same. Yeah, they’ll work for less. But you know, then we get nothing. Because we don’t get the medicine we are used to/what’s needed to keep living/be well.

NOTHING is always an option.

Women holding out for the perfect career, whether or not the have the training because they’re women, hear them roar. (Oh, men too, but–) In the end what they get is nothing. Nothing is always an option. Because getting where you want to go requires a lot of compromise, of trades, and of clawing onward on bleeding fingernails.

You demand the thing you want? Well, the world has no reason to give it to you. And even if the government mandates you get it it’s likely to turn to dust and ashes, because you haven’t learned, fought and worked to be ready to do it. (Look at the Naval Observatory and the world’s most visible diversity hire.) In the end, you get nothing.

Same, btw, with holding out for the perfect marriage mate, which is germane to this because some clever fools are agitating for the government to arrange marriages. (That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Because there are things the bureaucrats haven’t f*cked up still.) So, you know, beauty and competence aren’t hoarded.

Now these people are mostly spitting in the wind, and trying to wishcast, but then — looks at last two years — are you saying these idiots won’t seize on it as a benevolent thing they can do?

It’s important to remember, when we agitate for mandates, or more likely the young and stupid do, that yeah, people might be getting a raw deal. But the alternative to raw deal isn’t perfection. The alternative to raw deal is often nothing.

Sure, sure, there are actual greedy businessmen. They don’t partake of the nature of angels. There are greedy everything.

But here’s the thing: Most people aren’t “greedy”. Sure they want more than they have, but they’re willing to work for it. (And if you think running a business isn’t work, you’ve never done it.) And they’re willing to pay others to work for them, because at some point all businesses hit grow-or-die.

You break that, you tell them “you must pay x now” and most businesses die.

And if there’s one thing we know is that “government” isn’t even competent to wipe its own arse. Its two core areas of competence seem to be taking people’s money and hurting people. (Yes, I know, it also has prescribed functions, and I have no problem with them under the Constitution. But that requires taking a lot less money and hurting a lot less people. And I’m not saying they’ll do those things WELL just that sometimes it’s better than doing nothing.) So, no, the government is not going to look after all you stray lambkins when you get nothing.


And nothing will break everything. Not just capitalism, but socialist dreams and civilization itself, eventually.

So tell all the idiots pushing for “living wage” and “free healthcare”: Nothing is always an option.

And in the end, you’re hastening the day of nothing.

That’s all. You get nothing.

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