Low-Wage "Starter Jobs" Create Economic Mobility
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By Foster Winans
February 24, 2012

Business Insider editor Henry Blodget is a smart guy with many great ideas, but using Walmart, McDonald's, and Starbucks as whipping boys for the decline of the middle class isn't one of them.

Blodget argues that these large companies are getting rich on the backs of their employees by paying them poverty-level wages when they could pay more. Looking out across America from the ramparts of Manhattan's ivory towers, it may look like the peasants are laboring in the fields with children strapped to their backs, trying to scratch enough food from the land to keep themselves barely alive while planting and harvesting the crops that will go into the bulging granaries of the king and his nobles.

What you can't see because you're too far away to make out the details, is that most of those peasants are grateful they have a job, now that bad government policies, Wall Street manipulation, and global capitalism have made it so difficult to make things in America, sell them abroad, and share the profits with the hands that made them.

You can't see, because you're too far away, that millions of those workers are teens and young adults who experienced the thrill of receiving their first real paychecks from those companies, who are typically passing through on their way to other careers, doing what generations have done before, and whose earnings help underwrite their college educations, their first cars, their weddings and baby clothes, and, believe it or not, giving them the chance to develop working habits and skills that will one day serve them well as professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs.

I'm not defending the companies, but I am defending the facts and attacking the perception that it's somehow predatory in a capitalistic system for a private enterprise to pay wages that the market will bear, because the bad choices of others have made the market cheap.