Some Firms Keep Their Workers’ Pay. And the Law Does…?
|August 19, 2014||Posted by Staff under Activism, Crime|
This 2014 excerpt of Inequality, Aug 13, is by Robert Ross.
Each week, millions of dollars are stolen from American families. The perpetrators act with impunity. There are no arrests, few convictions, and largely meaningless fines.
Wage theft. Many working people are paid less than the legal minimum, not paid for overtime, and deprived of legal protections through false classification as independent contractors. If economic losses like these were visited upon big brand retail stores or well-healed neighborhoods, the cry for strict law enforcement would force police chiefs and mayors into rapid response.
In low wage industries – including apparel, restaurants, car washes, and construction – 26 percent of workers were paid less than minimum wage, 75 percent of those who worked overtime did not receive overtime pay, 25 percent were forced to work before or after their shifts had ended, and a vast majority of this work – 70 percent – was completely “off-the books.”
These workers lost an average of $2,634 annually out of total earnings of $17,616. That translates into wage theft of 15 percent of earnings.
Street crimes amounted to $139 million worth of stolen money in 2012. In the same year, the Department of Labor recovered more than twice that amount – $280 million – in stolen wages.
Ed. Notes: The Left hollers when bosses steal pay but one hears not a peep form them when government taxes wages. That’s a double standard and not good for justice. It erodes any moral foundation.
Of course bad bosses should be punished for theft. That goes without saying. But fines and inspectors do not get at the root of the problem.
Note the victimized workers are low-wage. So raise the minimum wage? Not exactly. Remember, that’s what’s getting violated. Instead, pay workers and everyone an extra income apart from our labor (or capital). That is, we would share society’s surplus.
What surplus is our common wealth? It’s the worth of Earth. It’s all our spending for land and resources. And it’s trillions of dollars each year. We could share it a la Alaska’s oil dividend or Singapore’s land dividend.
We could also let “land dues” stand in for most taxes, especially those on wages, and then government would break ranks from business and no longer take what does not belong to them.