Wage Thieves in the Private Sector

Tom Carter, the author of China: Portrait of a People, sent me a link to a forum on political and social change in China that I found interesting. The forum was published in the Boston Review.

One in particular that I agreed with was China’s Other Revolution by Edward S. Steinfeld.

Steinfeld points out that “patterns of inequity are unfortunately not unique to the Chinese experience”, and then he makes a strong point when he writes, “One need look no further than the United States and Western Europe for developmental histories replete with exploitation, abuse, violence, and environmental degradation.”

By coincidence, the same day Carter sent me the link to this forum in the Boston Review, I read Wage theft a scourge for low-income workers by John Coté, a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

It seems while many Americans and the Western media often criticize China for exploitation of migrants, low-skilled wage laborers, and the rural poor, the same practice is alive and well in the United States.

Coté writes, “It’s part of a national scourge known as wage theft. More than two-thirds of low-wage workers (in the United States) reported some type of pay-related law violation…”

The piece Coté wrote for SFGate was on two pages and ends with six facts.  One says, “$56.4 million is stolen every week from (low-wage) workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.”

In addition, Poverty News reports, “Low-wage workers in the United States are gripped by increasing financial insecurity as they inch along an economic tightrope made riskier by pervasive job losses and rising prices. Many struggle to pay for life’s basics—housing, food and health care—and most report having virtually no financial cushion should they stumble.”

How many Americans are considered low-wage workers?

According to the Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College, “The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2008, 39.8 million people (13.2 percent of the U.S. population) lived at or below the Federal Poverty Level (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2009).”

When it comes to poverty, America ranks 3rd worst among developed nations.

If two-thirds of these low-wage workers (and there may be more) in the U.S. are being cheated, that is about 26 million people that are not being paid what they earned.

It seems to me that the American media, the nation’s leaders and most Americans should focus on solving these types of problems in the U.S. before criticizing other countries.

Discover more from The India, China battle to eliminate poverty and illiteracy


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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6 Responses to Wage Thieves in the Private Sector

  1. Terry K Chen says:

    I knew the US wasn’t perfect, but I am quite shocked by how bad the poverty situation actually is.

  2. Terry K Chen says:

    ‘It seems to me that the American media, the nation’s leaders and most Americans should focus on solving these types of problems in the U.S. before criticizing other countries.’ Even if the country is in a good state, they should just stick to their own business and not interfere in the internal affairs of others. Everyone knows that they only ‘help’ other countries to weaken them or for their own benefits.

    • Terry,

      Henry Kissinger said it best in his latest book, On China. He wrote in the Preface, “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values (as flawed as they are) to very part of the world.”

      The missionary obligation to spread Western style “democracy” and “freedom of religion” to the rest of the world is scary. The two political and religious groups that are the ones mostly behind this are American neoconservatives and evangelical (born again) Christians and when these two mix their political and religious agendas it is a powerful force since the US has the most powerful military in the world.

      What’s needed is a counterweight to balance the power in the world so this missionary political/religious doctrine does not have the global influence and freedom to spread its beliefs to every corner of the earth (regardless of how many die in the wars that result).

      And you were right, the US should focus on solving its problems before criticizing others but these two groups do not see poverty as a problem. The neoconservatives do not care if people starve or are homeless. With them, they only chase the power to achieve their political agendas and one of those goals is nation building in the American image. The evangelicals are obsessed with other issues such as laws against abortion and trust in God that He will solve the poverty without the need of the taxpayer being involved with funding social programs. In other words, let private industry and religions feed the homeless and those that live in poverty through soup kitchens and hearing the word of God. They believe that once people trust in God (as they see God), that will solve all problems in the world.

      The US Constitution clearly separates church and state but the evangelicals argue that is wrong and want to mix church and state and this goal is already underway and making progress.

      The US State Department now has an Office of “International Religious Freedom” (in a country that is 80% Christian).

      “The Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy.”


      A major goal of the Christian Evangelicals was achieved in 1998 when the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (H.R. 2431) and its amendment of 1999 (Public Law 106-55) were enacted. Nations so designated are subject to further actions, including economic sanctions, by the United States, which clearly shows the direction the U.S. is moving and the power these religious and political factions now have within our government.

      These people do not give up. As long as they have money and people, they will be chipping away at the freedoms of Americans to achieve their goals. They are like termites and they never stop eating.

      After you read my series on the Politics of Fear, which will appear later in September, you may have a better understanding of what is going on in the United States. However, those that are involved in this movement do not see themselves as wrong or a threat. Instead, their personal beliefs blind them to what they are supporting. It is not a plot. It is a political, evangelical political/religious missionary movement to spread these beliefs and values to every corner of the earth, these people see China as a roadblock in the path of those goals, and these people have money and political power in the United States.

      Two examples of the wealth behind this political/religous movement is the richest family on the planet, the Walton family of Wal-Mart (conservative Christians and neoconservatives) and Murdock (a neoconservative) of News Corp.

  3. Terry K Chen says:

    I knew that the US wasn’t perfect. However, I did not know that the situation was this bad.

    “It seems to me that the American media, the nation’s leaders and most Americans should focus on solving these types of problems in the U.S. before criticizing other countries.” Not only should they stay out of other countries business when things are bad, they should do that ALL THE TIME. For starters, its none of their business. Apart from that, they do it either to weaken others or for their own gain.

  4. Terry K Chen says:

    I knew the US wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t know that it was this bad.

    “It seems to me that the American media, the nation’s leaders and most Americans should focus on solving these types of problems in the U.S. before criticizing other countries.” Exactly what I think as well. While the US has spent trillions on the a invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as having over a thousand military bases all over the world, their own living standards have decreased and the national debt has built up. Even when the US are doing well, they should not interfere with the internal affairs of others, because its none of their business and we all know they only do so for their own advantages.

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