Brian and Doug: I'm with you on the wage inequalities. The people who argue we can't afford to raise the minimum wage have so much wealth they can't objectively be speaking of not being able to afford it.
I pretty much always vote against my short-term economic interests - I vote for higher taxes especially for the well off, a better safety net, higher minimum wage, more job training, etc. Mostly because it seems the right thing to do. But I think it also benefits me in the long term. I want to live in a fairer, more egalatarian country. Who is the epitome of the Walmart customer? Wouldn't that be the Walmart employee - 30 hours a week at minimum wage? They (and many businesses) seem to promote a feedback loop that spirals down instead of a positive feedback where living-wage workers have money to spend, thereby creating more business and a broader tax base.
I didn't find it on rereading, but I wondered if someone tweaked on my use of "perceived poverty". By which I meant, $20 to BPL probably gets lost in most anyone's budget for lattes, ISP fees, or eating out. Per hour spent, it's really quite, quite cheap. There might be a homeless poster logged in on a library computer, but I suspect 99+% of posters own their own computer, have a cell phone, and pay >$100/month for those combined services to say nothing of their cable TV bill. They might legitimately be struggling financially and, again, I want to see everyone with more liveable wages, but that $100-150/month does not feed or clothe them or their kids. I taught in China last July, my wife provided medical care in Zimbabwe and did research in Bangladesh - while Americans should be fairer to each other, we pretty much all have choices that 5 billion other people don't have. Yet.
Okay. I'll shut up now and go back to posting about stoves and fuels and heat exchangers. I obviously don't know how to solve BPLs problems, much less the World's, but I know exactly how many BTUs are in a pound of propane and what it feels like when my leg hairs burn off in a fuel-air explosion.
Editted to respond to Nick's, "Wage slave is just slang.": Exactly. That's how I used it. But I should remember the reaction to Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" term which was funny in context and descriptive in an edgy way. But also offensive to some people. Doug IS a funny guy. I try to be, but often fail.