Vanessa points me to some fauxgressive posturing, and the question of “who pays for” the children of the poor.

Last time I checked, working poverty is an externality. The true cost of the labor and life of these workers is not reflected in their pay. We all pay the difference. The worker pays most directly, with loss of opportunities and recompense. Probably at the expense of their health as well.

The state, and the rest of us, pay in a variety of ways. Perhaps direct assistance, food stamps, etc. More likely we pay in lost payroll taxes, healthcare costs shifted to the state, and unrealized economic gains related to working class spending…a primary driver of local economies.

All so that the company who hires such a person can do so below the cost of what it really costs to have that work done. A profit, which isn’t even a zero-sum gain. For every dollar the company pockets, we don’t just lose that dollar. We lose all the productivity, labor, and gain that might have come if the worker had been paid fairly, been able to spend those wages, or invest them.

Who do we expect pays for this?

The worker. Us.

It’s that simple, really. Poverty wages are a neat way of saying “theft.”

-sly

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