Unlivable demands

Tent City is back and so are the cries for a “livable wage” for the workers at UVM. The city is located right in front of Royal Tyler Theater and I am forced to note that the Waterman sit-in/hunger strike was better.There was a much bigger sign last time and motorists with no UVM affiliation are more likely to take notice of students at the old spot than at the new one. The hunger strike even made the WCAX news (our local CBS affiliate). It was fairly well done and got the message out, unlike the current demonstration.The location and lack of hunger striking are not the only problems with the current demonstration. The main problem is that although the students are fighting what they believe to be injustice, it is not an injustice worth fighting over. It’s almost not an injustice worth writing about but I’m doing it anyway.Of all the injustices in the world what is so drastic about this one? There is no reason to protest over Americans with full time jobs. They are among the luckiest people on Earth; most of them have cars and even toys.The 2007 Joint Fiscal Office report Revised March 31, 2007 lists the “livable wage” for a single person living on their own in Burlington as $13.94 an hour. That’s a big number. Sounds like there is going to be a lot more deaths in the world since there are billions of people who don’t make that but are somehow still living.This is a totally erroneous number and grabs much more energy from UVM’s students than it should. A single person can live on their own in Burlington for less than that (myself and many of my friends have done it). Burlington is a great place to live cheaply because you don’t need a car. Workers who have cars can also live in the surrounding areas for real cheap. Leases in Winooski are about half the price of Burlington.$13.94 an hour is border line insanity. How can we explain the phenomenon of people who work for less than that but are still able to remain alive? I guess the term “livable” should not be taken literally. I suppose we could say that they live in poverty but working for $12 an hour is a far cry for poverty.Most of the consumer products we buy in stores are made by people, in other countries, that work for a lot less than that. How about a campaign to stop American consumption of products from companies that really exploit their workers?I want to fight injustice in the world too. I realize we live in a greed based economic system where ambition really means greed and success means you get a big paycheck. We don’t promote happiness and equality as important and we should.But let’s be realistic, this is America. We have heart surgery for dogs here and there are people in the world who have never heard of medicine and never will. Wouldn’t a place like that be better for taking a stance on social justice?I don’t admire the UVM administration either and admit that they are greedy. They run their college like a business and seem to love busting kids for breaking stupid rules. I can’t join the Tent City kids on this one though; if the workers were making $5 per day, than I’d think about getting on board.