How about a little wage equality?

Now that Super Bowl mania is winding down and Seattle’s minimum wage forums are starting up, here’s my admittedly subjective viewpoint:

I doubt anyone questions the fact that service workers are among the lowest paid and rarely get sick leave, health insurance or vacations. A beginning cook may be an injured millworker once making $20 per hour and now starting at $6 per hour in an industry with a probable $10 ceiling. Hardly an optimum career move, no?

Well, we can’t always fault the business owner for challenging a $15 per hour minimum wage for it obviously raises his costs and cuts into his profits. We can, however, suggest that city governments compensate business owners with tax incentives, just as they do when wooing big business, or building new sports arenas.

It’s the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots that troubles me enough to write this letter. Minimum wage employees often have trouble feeding their families and most can’t afford adequate health care (or a Seahawks jersey.) Meanwhile, a professional athlete’s annual salary and his product royalties might feed a third world country for months, and also fix their teeth, eyes and ears!

Now, don’t get me wrong - I don’t resent an athlete’s right to earn his worth before his body gives out, though I’m not a fan of gladiator sports such as football. Why any buff young man would willingly scramble his brains and rearrange every bone in his body before he’s 30 beats me! Doesn’t he suspect that two tons of manpower repeatedly descending on top of him might prove catastrophic in the long run? I know, we’re all invincible at that age.

But even I marvel at the unity and dedication of Seahawks fans nationwide – I love anything that brings people together for a common goal. It’s the “paid one’s worth” determination I dislike.

Take this scenario, for instance: Some 4,500 former football players alleging fraud in the handling of concussions filed suit in 2012 because a $765 million proposed settlement might not be enough to settle claims brought by some of the 18,000 retirees! (ALL with damaged bodies?)

Brains, not brawn, tells me there’s something wrong here. I know that we’re talking about a mega-billion dollar industry, so even $900 million might not cover the lifetime health care needs for every disability (AND their lawyers, PLUS medical research and education that might have prevented such travesties.)

This just plain amazes me since I once enjoyed sports – until big business, big egos, bigger still bankrolls, drugs, etc., took too much of the fun out of it. Now I can’t help but feel for all those ‘workers of the world’ who are working hurt and have been retrained to work for coolie wages while the ‘haves’ debate the merit of an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The lack of equality is what’s wrong with this scenario. It’s a mind boggler, for sure.

Isa “Kitty” Mady



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