Wednesday, March 06, 2013

How does working in the US rate?: What the graphs and maps are saying.

It is interesting to look at just how the United States rates against other countries, when it comes to how business is run and affected by government. Their are many regulatory issues.

But a useful one to consider is how workers are treated.

So consider how much paid leave you are required to receive.

Notice how we compare to the competition? We don't mandate time off. You may get it at your work, but you may also be denied any time off with pay, or have it suddenly revoked. Much of the rest of the world, who we are seriously competing with find it important to address. But we don't. And China. (Though this Wikipedia page suggests that China does have some level of mandatory paid leave.)

Add to this, how maternity leave handled.

So, again, US has no mandatory leave for childbirth. Which is why we do often see parents racing to get back into the workflow post-birth. And, again, we see our main competitors are giving weeks to half a year of paid leave. It makes the US look like it's trying to push new mothers out of the workforce.

But at least we get good pay from top to bottom, right? We make sure people, if they may not get any leave,   can actually afford to live, right?

In many of our large population centers, a person at minimum wage cannot work 6 AM - 5 PM Monday to Sunday and pay rent. But look at the bright side  you'll be working so hard to keep a home, you won't have time to vacation, or use vacation as a verb.

American workers deserve better.

But, sadly, many of us don't even know.

We easily fail to realize how out of sync the country is on matters of wealth. The top echelons of the country hold most of our wealth. And the next group down holds far far little, but still a nice chunk of the wealth. And that leaves the middle class and those below fighting for the crumbs left at the end of the table. And we often don't see how amazingly unequal it is. And when some of us do see how the scales are tipped out of our reach, we are reassured. Don't worry. It's for the best. The rich will invest in us or us.

But, no.

  • 1% of entrepreneurs are from the richest of us. Most of that cash sits in accounts, safe and accruing interest.
  • The equivalent of half of the US's GDP is held overseas and untaxed. That's up to $12 trillion hidden overseas.
  • Since the recession started, corporations have been avoiding paying around $250 billion every year in taxes.
  • Around a trillion dollars is lost to revenue in tax deductions for the richest.
  • $4 trillion was given to bail out the banks.
  • Securities trading goes untaxed. In the US, there is 100's of trillions of dollars of it.
  • Those in poverty on food stamps, including the elderly and disabled, receive around $4.30 a day in support.

The rich take money, tuck it away, seek ways to avoiding paying out, and ask for gifts. How else do you get and stay stinking rich? Money doesn't come to these people by big investments in the country. When the rich have done this, it has been a major pay out. Carnegie, Gates, Rowling. These people are forgoing chunks of their wealth to make the world around them better.

Same happens with business efforts. Business leaders have to give up some profits to benefit and motivate workers, to help the community, to protect the environment. Now, there are times that these investment can lead to financial profit, but often it doesn't. For example, Walmart may not see profits soar just as high as they do now, if it gives workers health care and a living wage. But the benefits to the community at large, and the harm being done should not be ignored. But business minds often have trouble seeing passed their piles of gold.

That's why we need to mandate things like paid leave, and minimum wage.

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