I’m with Brad DeLong: dissing people who do tough, low-wage jobs is rude. He’s right to say that if GM and Nationwide think that doing so is a good way to appeal to Super Bowl watchers, we’re way too far down the road to the Second Gilded Age. With any luck, we’ll get to look back on the elections of 2006 and 2008 as the moment when the country decided to switch course.
But to be fair, it’s not only big corporations that add insult to injury by making fun of the people in MimimumWageLand and the essential jobs they do. How many speeches have we all heard, and how many columns have we all read, deploring the economic trends that replace good jobs with “dead-end, burger-flipping” “McJobs” paying “chump change”?
If you had to flip burgers for a living, how would those speeches make you feel? And if you were a recent high-school dropout deciding between McDonald’s and one or another street hustle, how would the image of McDonald’s workers as losers — as carried in your own mind and in the minds of those around you — influence that choice?
So let’s watch what we say, all right?