Opinion » The Rant

The Rant



I have an idea. I know, that's a scary thought for many. Thankfully, it doesn't involve dressing up cats. Or looking further into the story about the poor family who recently had to have their stomachs removed because of a rare stomach cancer gene, and one of the cousins is named Connie Gasaway (no one could have made that up). It has something to do with the recent and brilliant vote by the Senate for the ninth year in a row not to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25, as proposed by those wild and crazy Democrats. Most of those who didn't want to bestow this kind of lavish wealth upon the workers who keep the country running say they voted it down because it would have been a mere quick fix and that better job training was the answer. They also concluded that it would actually hurt the workers, because fewer jobs would be available and it would cost businesses too much. Well, my idea is to have a dinner party. Last year, Exxon made a record $36.1 billion in profits, the largest ever by any American company. So far this year it has made more than $8 billion in profits. One gallon of gasoline at Exxon, or from any American oil/gas company right now, costs more than half the amount the minimum-wage earner makes per hour. At this dinner party, I would like to have the highest-paid Exxon executives sit down with those workers who work for the company at minimum wage. And I would love for the senators who voted down the wage increase to join them at the table. Maybe McDonald's would be kind enough to donate the food and have it served by those making that whopping $5.15 per hour, working in hot kitchens all day as one of their jobs so that soccer moms with busy schedules can race through the drive-through windows in their SUVs to get Happy Meals and complain about the service. (I know, I know. This is going to be sickeningly knee-jerk liberal, so you may want to just stop here and flip back to News of the Weird.) I think it would be great for the Exxon executives and the Exxon minimum-wage earners to discuss their lifestyles and talk about the differences and similarities. We could also have some Halliburton executives there as well, to exchange quips and anecdotes with the several hundred soldiers just home from Iraq and Afghanistan who are homeless. We'd need George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld there for that one. Now that the great Karl Rove is back in the swing of things, everything can be explained, even how the homeless men in Miami were going to "blow up" the Sears building, despite the probability that they couldn't successfully shoplift a candy bar from a convenience store. Talk about a victory! Why, just when those presidential approval ratings were likely to go down another notch or two, this happens! America is safe from tyranny once again! Funny how the timing on this one worked out. But maybe I am wrong and there was a real plot of some kind, instead of one made up by the Bush administration to earn points for quashing it. Lord knows I am wrong most of the time. I even thought Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt might have another child of their own rather than announcing that they want to adopt another one, of a race yet to be decided, until they can decide which race would go best with the children they already have. After all, they're not married. But they are apparently heterosexual, so their unwed and having-children status won't harm the sanctity of marriage. But back to Exxon ... I probably should never have gone into the public relations business. Fortunately, in the kind of work I do now in the nonprofit sector, I don't ever have to put a spin on things to make them look different than they are. I wonder how many little doo-dads these executives have on their office desks that are worth more than what their low-wage earners make in a month. I wonder how many of them buy their children expensive cars and send them on luxurious trips and to Ivy League schools, while those who work for them save to buy their little ones an extra taco on their birthdays. I assume that when they make $36.1 billion in profits that means monies earned after they have paid these workers and incurred all the costs studying alternatives to crude oil. The party would be very interesting. Maybe they could finally convince these minimum-wage earners to stop being so greedy and be thankful for what they've got. Or maybe they would give them some vouchers for discounted gas to get to work. It's just an idea. Let's run it past the Senate and see if it would be okay.

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