The job pool is like any other pool, or lake; in times of drought, the water level drops, shrinking the size of the lake from the shallow edges inward toward the deeper center. The big fish in the bottom-center, in the deepest water, might not even notice the drought, because they’re always covered. The minnows who formerly lived on the edges of the lake, who were formerly covered by mere inches, find themselves dry and dead as the edges disappear. The middle-sized fish who were once safely in the middle zone, neither in the shallows nor the deep — now, they find themselves in the odd position of trying to live in water that is barely deep enough to cover their fins. Ultimately, all the fish in the lake squeeze together, so that minnows are swimming with bigger fish, and they’re all dying alongside the really big fish in the bottom. The pool shrinks, and they all die together.
At least, that’s how it works in times of drought, when there isn’t enough water falling to keep the lake full. But, that isn’t what’s happening in America, is it? Looking at the gross national product, there’s plenty of rain falling on America these days — and yet, the minnows are dying on the shore, and the middle fish are struggling to keep their fins wet. So where is the water going?
In the 1980s, a man named Ronald Reagan began digging away at the center of that lake, creating a few very deep pits for his very big fish friends to live in. These very big fish became Leviathans, digging out the bottom center of the lake floor deeper and deeper by the year. When these monsters were done, the deepest part of the lake was 1,000 feet deep — a bottomless abyss where they could forever safely stay. And that’s where the water went.
Now, the Leviathans are safely in the deep, snatching at everything that swims over head, the minnows are dying on the shore, and we’ve got 29-year-old college graduates with families trying to get by on McDonalds and Walmart wages.
In a way, we can’t really drop the blame for starvation wages solely on the heads of Walmart, McDonalds and the rest; they’re hardly victims in this tragedy, but they occupy the positions that they do in the job pool. And they’re going to, until we force them to start covering employees with more water in the form of higher wages and better benefits. When that happens, we middle-fish can begin carving out our own holes, and bring some of the water back ashore from the depths.
In this video, we can see the stark difference between what’s happening in the shallows, where we live, and in the depths of the Leviathans. This is America’s pool — where water is plenty, where millionaire CEOs get their wages tripled, and where minnows are left to die on the shore.