Days of Change

The Wage Slaves

August 21, 2015

I am a free market person. However, I think movements like unionization and socialism are the result of bad actions by participants in the free market. Only the last couple centuries of human civilization have seen people employed by corporations and large businesses. Since the beginning of those corporations, workers have been exploited in different ways. In the past, however, workers were also exploited by small merchants and employers as well.

Democratic governments, which have been around for a few more centuries, have decided they are the regulators. They use oversight to exercise control over the actions of businesses (as well as other parts of public life) as a form of social engineering. I see it differently. Businesses tend to exploit legal loop holes (and workers) until those workers start siding with socialist and anti-free market solutions. In effect, the imposition of anti-business rules are by themselves a part of the free market.

I’m dealing with a situation where I work involving the use of salaried employees as free labor. Certain salaried employees are “exempt” from the kind of overtime laws that would pay them for time worked beyond 40 hours. These exemptions were created for highly paid and uniquely skilled employees who would occasionally work odd hours because a project demanded it.

What often happens now is that businesses make certain people “managers” and other salaried positions to work them over 40 hours a week. The salary threshold is about $24,000 which is below the poverty line for a family. essentially, employers figured out that they could either pay someone $12 an hour and also overtime, or turn them into an exempt employee and get more work out of them,

Sadly, I am in the position of tacitly agreeing with the administration wanting to change the threshold from $24,000 to $47,000 so that a “professional” who gets no overtime pay at least makes close to the median income in the first place. I am in this boat because employers exploited the law (and people) to save a buck. Everyone in my family has had this happen at one time or other. They were paid a salary to get more hours out of them.

Of course, the free market is the exchange of goods and services and not the greed corporations who abuse it. Looking forward to the blunt instrument of government is the logical result of bad business practice. If Wall Street doesn’t like it, they should have not given so much money to the Obama campaign.


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