Nothing Makes Ben Shapiro Madder Than Capitalism Working For Poor People
Ben Shapiro, who is Ben Shapiro's idea of a smart person, is very disappointed with Amazon workers who are striking for better pay and working conditions. They aren't patriots! The true patriots during this time of crisis are people like Ben Shapiro, who can remain comfortably at home while Amazon and Instacart magically deliver everything he needs for his survival.
Shapiro sees a moral distinction between striking because of “bad worker pay" and striking because you “want more money." He believes this is an intelligent point that he made.
SHAPIRO: I'm sorry. Everyone else lost their job. Everyone else lost their damn job.
Not you, though, Mr. Shapiro. You're still paid to perform this rightwing dog and pony act for us. Broadway theaters went dark. "The Flash" shut down production, but "The Ben Shapiro Show" keeps on trucking. It's the cockroach in our nuclear winter of entertainment options.
SHAPIRO: If I were Amazon and I had the capacity, I'd fire everyone who strikes right now, and bring in workers who are willing to work.
CEOs would fire their own grandmas if they believed it was in their best corporate interest. Amazon probably won't fire everyone striking right now because it's not run by a petulant brat whose working knowledge of economic theory comes from Ayn Rand novels. It also very much needs those workers to come back. These are the striking workers' very reasonable demands.
Workers from both Amazon and Instacart want more access to paid sick time off. At this time, it's available only to those who have tested positive for the coronavirus or get placed on mandatory self-quarantine
Amazon workers want their warehouse to be closed for a longer cleaning, with guaranteed pay.
Instacart's grocery delivery gig workers are asking for disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer and better pay to offset the risk they are taking.
Yeah, we all wished Instacart was hooking up its workers with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers long before anyone heard of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Shapiro is acting as if the striking workers are demanding their own private jets and 72 virgins.
SHAPIRO: I'd bring in workers who are willing to work. I would!
Who are these workers? Is Shapiro one of them? He's stuck at home for a while. He should offer to pick up a few Whole Foods shifts for America.
SHAPIRO: It's unconscionable. Not only are you depriving people of the supply lines that are keeping countries running right now ...
Gonna stop him right here. No one is entitled to the labor of anyone else, right? That's Free Market Conservatism 101. If you want someone's labor — either for grocery delivery or basic medical services — you have to pay for it or no one is free.
SHAPIRO: Amazon offered you additional benefits already! You're not striking because Amazon's forcing you to work!
Slavery is illegal. The 13th Amendment was never on the table. Shapiro was seemingly appalled that Whole Foods workers demanded paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing.
SHAPIRO: Here's the big one: Hazard pay of DOUBLE the current hourly wage for employees who show up to work during the pandemic. You want to get paid double just for showing up to work?
Yes, I would. I've received double-time for working on Christmas Day, and I just sat in an office and watched TV commercials (long story, strange job). I literally wasn't risking my health and the health of my loved ones. I also wasn't serving a critical function. No one would've starved if I didn't gather data about cell phone and truck ads. Hell, because double-time already exists, essential workers during a pandemic should receive quadruple time.
What's maddening is that Shapiro said a few seconds earlier that the striking workers are threatening the supply chain we all rely on during this crisis. Yet, he expects them to work for the same crappy pay they received back when we were all free to leave our homes.
Shapiro is throwing a tantrum because “capitalism" exists and the workers he resents have all the leverage. There's a tremendous demand for their labor and if they don't negotiate for more now, they'll never receive it. Corporations don't make economic concessions out of love.
SHAPIRO: Whole Foods has increased hourly pay for its workers already by $2 an hour!
A whole $2 dollars! Once the restaurants are open again, the workers can treat their spouses to date night at Le Top Drawer. That's an insulting amount to offer someone to risk their lives. Shapiro thinks the striking workers are “price gougers," but they aren't standing on street corners selling toilet paper to desperate people for $100 a roll. They're demanding that corporations run by billionaires recognize the human cost demanded to maintain a semblance of normalcy during the shutdowns. No one stocking and delivering your groceries is going to get rich during this pandemic, but Jeff Bezos is bound to become even richer. He should pony up and not complain. Shapiro should also shut the fuck up forever, but we're not holding our breath.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).