One Market Under God

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George Will speaks the gospel of the GOP elite and libertarians with his argument that the minimum wage should be $0. Trust the market, he says, and wages will be set to a decent level. Of course, that's what got us here in the first place. Blindly trusting the market to do what's right without any policing inevitably leads to the market's participants doing everything within their power to line their pockets and bollocks to everyone else.

The whole reason we've got minimum wage law and other labor laws is that left to their own designs businesses colluded with each other, fixed their prices, and paid their workers next to nothing in horrible life-threatening conditions (and some of those laborers were children).

Capitalism is great and it works, but without policing, rules, and enforcement it is the playground of devils - devoid of morality and a pariah on our society. We learned that lesson collectively already, we won't repeat it. America's past that.

UPDATE: This is the kind of story that makes regular people roll their eyes when the conservative elite pooh-poohs a piddling increase in the minimum wage.

By the end of 2005, Nardelli received packages worth $154.3 million, not counting the value of stock options, since becoming CEO. His pay for 2006 hasn't been disclosed.

Now, after six years on the job, Nardelli will get cash severance of $20 million, acceleration of unvested deferred stock awards and options valued at $84 million, vested shares worth $44 million, bonuses and long-term incentives of $9 million, 401(k) payouts of $2 million, retirement benefits of $32 million and $18 million in other entitlements if he abides by no-compete clauses over the next four years.

The total package is seven times the $30 million Home Depot set aside last June for stores and employees that provide good customer service. Home Depot has 2,127 stores and 355,000 employees in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China.

But clearly $7.25/hr means the end of civilization as we know it as the unwashed hordes get a tepid increase in pay. Bob Nardelli's gold-encrusted loafers don't go for free, you know!