Monday, April 05, 2010

A Liberal wage

Ah, the things you can find online with a minimum of effort or smarts. Why just this week I found a new whipping boy who is an MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) in BC (British Columbia) who swings through the low branches under the name of Eric Foster, Liberal, Vernon-Monashee.

Eric is a relative newbee to Provincial politics with just under a year in office, but he has shown an excited willingness to say things in public that would embarrass your average village idiot. This is, of course, what brought him to my humble attention. Recently the BC Federation of Labour (not to be mistaken for the Federation of the Star Trek universe) demanded that the minimum wage in BC be raised from $8 per hour to $10 per hour (Ontario raised theirs to $10.25, Nova Scotia is at $9.20 and New Brunswick will be going to $9.00 per hour in September). Eric, all bug-eyed and bristly, I figure, leapt into the fray, honking that a raise in the minimum wage was unnecessary as in BC, "we have one of the highest average wages in the country." Ah yes, very good Eric. As we all know "average" means that some are being paid much higher (MLAs say) and some are being paid much lower (like those at the minimum wage) and the average really doesn't reflect either of them. Interesting misuse of statistics there, Eric, since the average wage really doesn't help someone who is barely getting by on the minimum wage. Still, it's good to see where your head's at (more on that later) and the small amount of respect you have for those who are reading what you said.

But then, Eric wasn't done yet as he went on to point out that "Many people who get minimum wage work in the service sector and they get tips. They don't earn minimum wage." I understand that tips are considered taxable (thus "earned") income by the tax-masters at Revenue Canada, but I don't think that anybody normal would be crazy enough to consider a tip 'guaranteed' income. By that I mean no-one can plan on or depend on tips to make up the shortfall of a minimum wage job. Good luck taking that "wage" to a bank. "Yes I am actually being paid minimum wage, but I do get tips." Yeah, that'll work, but it does make it a little tough to get ahead.

Eric says, referring to the current economic "situation" that now "is the worst time to increase minimum wage." The impact on small business would be too great in these troubling times. Interesting. Of course using that "logic" the question is, why wasn't the minimum wage increased when times were better a few years ago. The MLAs of the time sure had no problem raising their own wages while leaving those at the bottom even further behind, even including the tips. Would it be a little tougher for small business? Yes. Could the government help out small business? Yes, but it is a little easier to just blame those greedy employees being paid starvation wages (while pulling in the big tips).

Now the theory that Eric has his head stuffed up his own ass is just rude and most likely untrue. Let's just give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that as a rookie MLA he got a little reckless and distracted by the mouth noises coming out of the front of his head. In that spirit, and at no personal expense, I am willing to put forth a little suggestion that will make him appear not to be a dickhead. Here it is: Reduce your own salary to the new suggested minimum wage ($10 per hour)(of actual work that is. No travel time or bar-b-ques allowed), and then ask for tips (couldn't you sort of consider politics part of the service sector?) Do some good work and I bet the tips will just pour in. Why if your work is good enough I bet you will do better than the current $98,000 per year you have to scrape by on now! At any rate, try it. I bet you'll be surprised.

Anyway... Humouroceros

PS: The article I read identified Eric as a MLA "who represents the Liberals in Victoria." Now, was this a typo of some type, or was the journalist being ironically accurate? I only ask because it doesn't look like Eric is representing his constituents. At all.

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