I frequently praise Laura Clawson of Daily Kos for her coverage of issues that affect working people. Today her story made me want to scream. The problem is not Clawson’s reporting; it’s the subject matter: Home health care workers can be paid less than minimum wage.
This is disgusting. Clawson says that President Obama is trying to address this issue. My question is: How could it happen? The rationale for paying less than minimum wage is that being a home health care worker is similar to being a babysitter (Huh?). Home care workers cook and bath their elderly clients. They have to be aware of any potentially medical issues. They have to be trusted to enter homes. This is not the work of a 14 year old babysitter.
According to Clawson, there are 1.8 million home care workers. My guess is that some of them – maybe even a majority – make more than minimum wage. But it’s outrageous to think that even one person doing this important job could be paid as if she were a babysitter. This story is outrageous. The problem is that too many Americans seem only to have outrage at the poor, not at their exploitation.