Existential Comics explores the morality of sharing excess with the poor, a long enough comic that I feel constrained about re-printing the whole thing here, so go read the rest and be prepared for both a large laugh and an even larger twinge of “How did we get here?”
Every major religion demands charity, though there are admittedly some limits and a bit of finagling to be had, particularly when it comes to lending money as opposed to feeding the hungry. However, as a philosopher not included in today’s comic has observed, “Money changes everything.”
Which I suppose is how you end up hawking patent medicine.
Which leads us to …
Juxtaposition of the Day #1
Amazon responded to accusations of underpaying its workers by raising their base pay to $15 an hour, which they justified to stockholders by eliminating some stock options and bonus pay.
Horsey and Walters take starkly different views of this, and I think the main difference is in how you view working in an Amazon fulfillment house, which I would say still falls under the general category of a shit job, better than some but not nearly so good as others.
I’m not dumping on the company, though there have been some articles about how horrible it is to work those warehouse jobs.
But they don’t compare them to other warehouse jobs, and I’ve never heard people gush over the fun of warehouse work, with or without robots in the picture.
Meanwhile, my own experience in shit jobs generally is that the turnover is huge, such that the people benefiting from options and bonuses are a pretty small percentage of the whole.
My experience also suggests that people take these jobs because they need money for groceries and rent right now, not because they’re hoping to build up equity for retirement in 30 or 40 years.
I had a friend who, under some re-organizational pressure, “retired” as director of a national business group but then stocked shelves at Target until he was old enough for Medicare because he couldn’t afford health insurance otherwise.
And I had to stop putting money into my 401k at one point because, even though my kids were grown and gone, I was paying nearly 25% interest on the debts I’d rolled up, even with child support, as a single parent.
And while having unemployment under 4 percent sounds great, it’s making it very hard to find people to do any kind of quality work, even for minimum wage. Besides desperate people willing to work hard just to get by, you’ve got a lot of drifters who do well to last a full pay period, never mind long enough to accumulate stock options.
So I’m on board with “Give me the money” as a position on all this, and I hope the people who stick around year after year get COLAs and raises and so forth, but it’s a tough world out there, thanks to the folks featured at the end of that Existential Comics cartoon.
I don’t mind someone being greedy and self-centered, but I object to them pretending there is some coherent, decent reason behind it.
On a related note
Dana Summers notes one of the more depressing news items of the week, which is that the Bill and Hillary Show is going out on the road, making speeches and not for free.
It’s a well-established tradition that ex-presidents kind of disappear, either out of exhaustion or a sense of dignity or because they want to work as volunteers building houses for the poor.
But, while Summers is a long-time Clinton hater, he’s hardly the only person to raise the issue of Wm. Jefferson Clinton and the #MeToo movement.
At the time, we overlooked the Gennifer Flowers affair because it was an extramarital dalliance between two consenting adults, or, three, if you count the wife who at least publicly shrugged it off.
And, at the time, the employer/employee element of the Monica Lewinsky affair was dubious but accepted: Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn were socially accepted in Washington circles, after all.
But if a tenth of the Paula Jones and other accusations were true, they would disqualify him today, and you can’t condemn Brett Kavanaugh and let Bill off the hook.
Or, for that matter, vice-versa.
Damn but we’re a nation of hypocrites.
In any case, it seems like a good time for Bill to go play some golf and for people who admired him as president — among whom I count myself — to ignore him or to admit his faults and maybe both.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
The apparent murder of Saudi exile and journalist Jamal Khashoggi is appalling enough on the surface, with the Saudis promoting the transparently ridiculous story that he left his fiancee on the sidewalk in front of their consolate in Turkey with express instructions on what to do if he didn’t return, and then snuck out a back door and left her there.
Of course he did.
Nikki Haley called Jared Kushner a “hidden genius” yesterday, and his buddying up to the Crown Prince who almost certainly directed this murder is indeed a case of completely hidden genius.
Jim Morin appears to have read Bob Woodward’s book, which details how Kushner pushed for a love fest with the Saudis against the instincts of long-time foreign affairs professionals.
And his father-in-law was delighted to go along. After all, it fit in with his other buddy-buddy entreaties to blood-stained dictators.
Now one of his tough-guy role models has eliminated an enemy of the people, which Trump has repeatedly called journalists who try to look behind the curtain.
Kushner’s hidden genius apparently helped Mohammed bin Salma leapfrog over his more moderate counterpart, Mohammed bin Nayef, in the Saudi chain of succession. That’s MBS in Morin’s cartoon.
Toles may be right that the story isn’t over, but it seems unlikely that we’ll find the end of this one.