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Well, it is hard to discuss intent, but there are hard facts, like the lack of a serious minimum wage, the absence of health care for the working poor, and the absolute flexibility which puts a lot of workers in precarious positions and thus in the impossibility to negotiate anything with their employer.

Take a look at restaurants. You have 4 waiters in a US restaurant vs. 1 in France for the same amount of work, and wages are probably proportionate to that workload. A waiter in France is middle class; I seriously doubt it's the case in the US. Now you may argue that the result is higher unemployment in France, but that's a different question to that of povery (the unemployed are also supported a lot more in France, so don't fall into poverty - at least not quickly).

So you clearly have a choice to have lots of underpaid jobs in the USA. Some arguments can be made that this is good for dynamism, that it gives a first step on the ladder to everybody (including and especially immigrants), and that it helps fight unemployment, but what it does not is help fight poverty, and indeed seems to encourage it. A pliant and cheap underclass is needed to provide all sorts of menial jobs, from WalMart employees to housecleaners, waiters, swimming-pool maintenance jobs, child care, etc...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 05:42:41 AM EST
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