Pay Creators. Pay all workers more, much more.

By | July 24, 2023

Basically, most of the people who actually work in this world are not paid enough. There are long complicated reasons why, and history behind it. But it’s been this way since the world decided to take up the idea of creating scarcity and rulers, why pay people more when you don’t have to? But there were social contracts that included taking care of people to some degree, even if loaded with bullshit like moral standards (for the benefit of those in charge) and mixed up with religions designed to keep most people busy and in the rest of them power.

Those social contracts are pretty ragged in the USA. Despite the founding of a country on stolen people and their stolen labor, on stolen land, some things got better, some only pretended to get better. But the last handful of decades have seen consolidation of economic power that is insane and it does boil down to simple slogans. The rent is still too damn high (I pay about 38% of my day job salary). The wages are too damn low. People need a fair wage.

I stand with and for anyone striking for better conditions. Summer 2023, that includes:

  • Fast food and other ‘essential’ workers – $15 is still too low but a start.
  • Delivery and long haul drivers, from gig-drivers (and that’s a whole other scam) to unionized and non unionized peeps, both local delivery and long haul truckers.
  • Postal service, teachers, another couple of groups being ground down by grist mill capitalism.
  • Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare, though it’s a “luxury” in this country anyway.
  • SAG-AFTRA and the writers guild.

Get off your fucking yachts and come back to the table, the last contracts were bullshit, and the current round is a load of crap too.

I currently work as a writer in various industrial organizations. My kind of people aren’t usually unionized, and as a rule of thumb we’re paid about 35% less than the folks of equivalent level we’re supporting. No one thinks writing about the product is part of the product, not enough for us to get paid more than the least we’ll accept.

Over the last couple of years, the buying power of my income has gone down about 10%. I officially got a raise, eventually, but my rent went up a grand a month, food is up 20-40%, and because of shortages and interest rate changes, I’m overpaying for a used car at 7.5%. So it’s more like an 8% cut instead of at 2% raise.

Things could be worse, I could have no savings, or be on the track to unemployment (though I do expect to be replaced by ChatGPT’s successor). So I’m pretty lucky for now. I have a little more time and headspace to point out we all gotta look out for each other.

Don’t cross picket lines. When the call goes out to boycott streaming services, boycott them. I suddenly have free* access to four streaming services through my cell phone contract, my internet contract, and through Amazon wanting me to buy stuff on Prime day. (I want to see Good Omens Season 2, so I took it). 

But the minute the call goes to strike streaming services, I’ll cancel them all. I hope my DVD player works. If it doesn’t, well, I guess I’ll have to spend more time at the library.

*free access to four streaming services:

  • Netflix through my mobile service provider (three years now)
  • Paramount Plus through my mobile service provider (six months now)
  • Amazon Prime (one month, as a loss leader for Prime Days)
  • Peakcock Plus (for two years, starting soon, from my internet service provider who owns Peakcock Plus and rolled it around the same time they started saying let the writers starve)

The rent is too damn high:

  • “In the middle and late [19]30’s, it was generally considered that one‐seventh or one‐sixth of gross income should go for rent,” she says. “How did we ever get from that to one‐quarter?”
  • The median house of 1960 would cost just $104,619 in 2020 dollars, far below the actual cost of $240,500, meaning housing costs have increased by 229%.
  • [Look at table 3; but most “housing expenses” budgets include acquiring furniture and maintenance, as well as utilities. My 38% cost is not inclusive of furniture; I had some and bought some but I have to put up 38% every month, rain or shine, before I eat or buy gas.]
  • [A popular explainer for the data above.]