Slicing Up the American Pie

I love pie; it’s my favorite dessert. It does not matter the type or the style; if it has golden crust and some sort of filling I can eat pie anytime. I don’t know anyone who does not like pie – and when it comes to slicing the pie it always becomes complicated as more and more want their share.

The budget negotiations of this past week magnified the pie analogy to the maximum. There is only so much pie available, and with 310 million people all looking for their slice, unfortunately there isn’t always enough to go around. Some think they are more worthy of a piece of pie than others, leaving some with much more and some with much less. At times there are barely crumbs on the plate.

America is like the National Hockey League and its labor problems. The owners of the teams feel it’s their league and their teams and they deserve the lion’s share of the gate receipts because they are the ‘job creators’. The players, on the other hand, are the reason the league is even in business. Their skills bring the fans to the arenas in cities all across America, and fans become fans because of the players not the owners.

The owners of America are like the owners of the NHL; they are millionaires who are so out of touch with the fans they would rather let the league die than pay the players what they are worth.

The American workers are just like the players of the NHL; some people are the superstars and some are grinders and diggers. The superstars are paid much better than the other players and most are paid by what they do on the ice. The scorers, the “Wayne Gretzkys” of the league, are always in the news and the fans love them. Their salary is based on their performance and the numbers of fans who come to watch them and spend money.

Unlike the NHL players, the American people are not very organized and many think only of themselves and their own situation. The disunity of the American worker and the power of the American owners have enabled the latter to divide and conquer. Some workers even think organizing is un-American, that it somehow takes away from our “democracy” and they will side with ownership in their struggles even though they know they are being used and abused by management.

The American pie must be negotiated and divided in a different manner just like the slices of NHL pie are being negotiated. The superstars of America will always receive their fair share but the diggers and grinders, the players and workers, of America will have to fight for every nickel in demanding a bigger share of the American pie.

In some countries the pie is shared much more equitably as priorities are different. The American owners believe our military is the most important element and the biggest share of the American pie goes to the defense of their wealth and the defense of future wealth no matter where in the world it may be. This has caused issues with other owners and workers all across the globe, leaving Americans at home to wonder why guns and bombs are more important than the education, health and safety of the most precious resource this county has: the American worker.

There is only so much pie to go around and the American worker has been abused and used by management since the adoption of the Bill of Rights. It is time to rethink compensation for all workers across the American spectrum, from CEO pay to street sweeper pay, and create a much fairer method of cutting up the American pie so all can feel satisfied and full. One way to ensure equality is by guaranteeing a living wage, which is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet basic needs. We must raise all people up out of poverty for America to become the more perfect union that the authors of the Bill of Rights envisioned.