We’re Not Going Through a Labor Shortage- Workers are Experiencing Wage Insufficiency.


Caiden Leyva, Staff Writer

We’re Not Going Through a Labor Shortage- Workers are Experiencing Wage Insufficiency.


The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our economy in more ways than one. The United States lost close to 22 Million jobs, supply lines worldwide were halted, and the lower, working, and middle class lost a staggering 3.7 trillion dollars to the upper 1% of the world’s population. The people bearing the brunt of the recession were lower or working class workers in the United States. Now skip forward to the current day. Our economy is making a comeback and we are mostly (cough cough Colorado) combatting the virus. An important part of economic recovery is job creation. There are plenty of jobs available, but whenever you go to a restaurant, fast food joint, retail store or any other business with “entry-level” jobs we see that there aren’t enough workers to fill those positions of cooks, servers, and any other similar positions.

Why not? Many people feel that it is because workers and especially millennial workers are simply just lazy. What is a better scapegoat? Instead of acknowledging the core cause of the problem, many people just blame younger generations for their perceived lack of effort. But the problem isn’t lazy workers or millennials. In fact, the problem starts at the very people trying to blame said groups. The CEOs, politicians, and Baby Boomers.

The top 10 wealthiest people in the world hold a disgusting 1.38 trillion dollars of net worth. The top 1% has more than 16 times more money than the bottom 50% of the population. The top individuals in the world hold an obscene amount of money and are unwilling to let any of it go, so it falls onto the working class to bear more work for less than their worth. Working class members of America have received very little pay throughout history, as the federal minimum wage is only $7.25 and has only slightly risen in 20 years. That is not a living wage. Usually it is the “lower skill” jobs that pay that low. Now think to yourself–Would you do that? Not as a teen, but as an adult with bills to pay, with a family to feed, with college loans to repay. Seven dollars an hour is simply not enough, and the CEOs and richest individuals are making more money by keeping wages so low. The hard part lies with workers who stay at these jobs that don’t treat them right. Such workers are overworked and underpaid, but the upper class doesn’t seem to care since that’s the exploitation that fills their wallets.

Now how are the Baby Boomers also making this worse as always? They are so disconnected from the reality of the standard American that they think that the wage deficit is everyone else’s fault. The Boomers actively ignore the situation, blaming it on younger generations and lazy workers. So what if 15 dollars an hour made them live comfortably when they were young? Cost of living has only gone up since they were young, and inflation has gotten worse too. Things are more expensive for our generations than older ones. Minimum wage has not been accommodated in most places, and the Baby Boomers will not recognize that the world has changed without them. Boomers are so opinionated about younger generations, and they vote for politicians who represent them and the rich, not the working class or the average American.

Most politicians are actively against raising the minimum wage and for mandated improved working conditions. In fact, a majority of politicians in general don’t want it to happen as 58 out of 100 senators recently voted against raising the minimum wage. It’s clear that many politicians don’t want the majority of the population to be able to afford rent, or to send their toddlers to daycare. This is the crux of the current ‘labor shortage’; workers will not work if they are not being paid enough to do their jobs. Congresspeople are voting against workers rights to have a livable wage, unionize, or move up in class. The people leading our nation are ignoring the fact that the American workforce is being exploited.

But why wouldn’t a “representative of the people” work for the people, especially when all the jobs that “the people” have access to are exploitative? It’s because the people on Capitol Hill are being lobbied (To seek to influence a politician or public official on an issue, usually with bribes) into voting against better working conditions. Politicians are actively filling their wallets so oil companies can be deregulated, so Amazon workers get sub-human working conditions, the minimum wage stays down, and so on. The defense industry is one of the biggest lobbying groups in Congress, and for reasons that are extremely immoral. Defense companies lobby Congress so the United States stays in a state of perpetual conflict because they profit off of it. This is a further explanation for keeping access to opportunity and the minimum wage low. The one easy way out for any young, low class adult is the military. Armed forces need new blood to fuel the ever so infamous military-industrial complex. People wouldn’t voluntarily sign up to risk their lives and end other lives unless they were enthusiastic about the military lifestyle or extremely desperate. Politicians on Capitol Hill oppose better conditions for lower to working class people because said politicians and companies are receiving monetary gains for it.

There is not a ‘labor shortage’ in the United States. It’s not that people don’t feel like working, it’s that people are not interested in taking exploitative positions that pay a less-than-living wage. The top companies and CEOs of the world are shown to be against almost any policy that would possibly lower their net worth. Older people in the United States are so disconnected from the reality of the working world that they believe it is everyone’s fault except for the people who actually drive this perpetual cycle of worker exploitation, and they vote accordingly. The politicians they vote for are actively against the workers of America being treated more fairly. They vote to not raise the minimum wage, and they prevent people from having amenities such as healthcare or affordable rent. So whenever you hear someone complaining about how their burger wasn’t made fast enough, or how their retail worker wasn’t doing their job fast enough, just remember that they are the ones being systematically exploited; They are the ones that are taking all the flak from the media, older generations, and politicians. Try to treat those workers with kindness. It could make their day or even save their lives.