Is SLATE another Onion?


I read an article on SLATE about “the middle class myth.”  This is supposed to be comedy/satire right?  Let me point out why I ask:

In this article our character Stanley gets a job:

So Stanley walked over to Interlake Steel, where he was immediately hired to shovel taconite into the blast furnace on the midnight shift. It was the crummiest job in the mill, mindless grunt work..

Then we compare Stanley’s job:

Stanley’s job was more difficult, more dangerous and more unpleasant than working the fryer at KFC

I wonder if the author has ever had oil from a fryer splashed on them?  How is a burn from a furnace worse than a burn from a fryer?  How is shoveling coal more difficult than having to know the settings for a fryer, and haul hot fried food in and out of a fryer.  You shovel in to a furnace, you’re not pulling stuff out of it once its heated.  The author identified that shoveling coal is, “mindless grunt work..”  If you are mindless while working with a fryer, you will pay for it.  The author switches opinions again later in the article:

And anyone with two arms could shovel taconite. It required even less skill than preparing dozens of finger lickin’ good menu items, or keeping straight the orders of 10 customers waiting at the counter.

Maybe we could just ask Stanley what he thought of his work:

“You’d just sort of go on automatic pilot, shoveling ore balls all night,” is how Stanley remembers the work.

So shoveling coal both is and is not better/worse than working at KFC.  Right, I am following you.

Then our author decides to become an economist with this nugget:

According to the laws of the free market, though, none of that is supposed to matter. All that is supposed to matter is how many people are capable of doing your job.

Actually, that is one consideration. Another is what pay people will accept for doing the job. This is a critical component to consider.  If only two people will do the job, and one will do it for less pay than the other (all other things being equal), which do you hire?

It’s time to ask the question that is the point of the article:

So why did Rob Stanley, an unskilled high school graduate, live so much better than someone with similar qualifications could even dream of today?

So far the author contradicts themselves and has no idea how basic economics works.  What wonderful leap in logic can we use to address this?

The argument given against paying a living wage…

This myth, AGAIN?  Living wage?

As money does not come from no where, all you do is raise the cost to hire, which drives up the cost of services and products, which drives up the “living wage” so that people can afford the higher prices, which drives up the cost of services and products…

This article can not go anywhere from here.

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