There are people working for less than half of the federal minimum wage now-that’s if they’re having a good day. These people are American citizens and they are not serving time for felony convictions. One of them is me.One of them could be you.
“Working online from home,” sounds good at first, and while scams abound, there are jobs that actually will pay you. However minimum wage laws are circumvented with ‘independent contractor agreements,’ and your actual earnings can be paid be piece rate.
What this means in real-world terms is that each little piece of information I process pays me .03 (yes that’s right folks, three cents). I’m good; the data may take anywhere from four seconds to two minutes to process but I can average it all out to about four queries per minute, er…that’s twelve cents a minute or 7.20 per hour.Well that’s not so bad is it? I mean, it’s more than minimum wage in some states, right? It’s more than federal minimum wage, which is 6.55 per hour, and set to increase again to 7.25 in July of 2009.
Of course, that figure applies when traffic is coming in at maximum volume. Traffic varies throughout the day; Even when things were good, when I averaged the fast times out with the slow times, my career average was about 2.85 an hour.
The problem is that due to system glitches, random variations in traffic, and a poorly explained change in corporate policy that seemed to alienate a large percentage of the customers, traffic dropped in the last three weeks, and with it the income of all the piece-rate workers, including my own. Now I think I’m averaging something like .56 per hour, with maybe 1.80 coming in at peak times.
Yes, I would rather do this than ask the government for anything at this point, thereby giving them yet another excuse to pry into my personal life, and I’ve been looking for a “real job.” However the rate of unemployment in my area is so high that the number of people on welfare has increased by 10% since the pre-election market crash; it looks like I may be doing this for a while.
Unfortunately, whatever your political ideology may be, the fact remains that systems will fail when they are no longer suitable for their original purposes. Things that don’t work must be allowed to fail, so that things that will work can evolve.
The practice of corporate welfare as exemplified by this latest orgy of bailouts is not for the benefit of all Americans. It would have made more sense to simply hand out 2000.00 to every American citizen without regard to age or income.
When the rich mess up, why shouldn’t they have to face the same consequences as the rest of us? I know this has been said repeatedly by my colleagues here on AC, but I believe it needs to be expressed in as many ways and in as many places as possible. Meanwhile, the new high tech underclass will keep growing.
Nerds of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome!