Yes, I'm afraid it has come to that.
We, as a nation, believe in fairness. We want a fair chance, fair laws, a fair playing field, and fair elections. But what is "fair"? The Mirriam-Webster on-line dictionary lists at least 11 ways to define this word. Meanings listed range from ADEQUATE to SPECIOUS. So how can we possibly keep using this word, without additional qualifiers, in a national discourse regarding fair pay? Fair compensation? We can't.
I'm sure you have seen what happens when you try to use that word when "discussing" matters of pay, compensation, benefits, living conditions and even access to food and medicine with many regressive conservatives. It just doesn't work.
When I was a kid I remember a piece of cake I had to split with my sister. I was told to split if fairly (being older, I held the knife). So I of course cut off a sliver on one side and gave it to her and took the rest. My Dad, looking on, was of course not going to let this fly. The thing is I already knew that and was smirking and laughing, having fun with watching my little sister have a canniption fit, knowing my attempt would fail miserably but not caring because I already knew it was NOT fair. (In the end we split the cake evenly so please no hate mail for my decades old attempt at unfairness - you'll get more than enough chances to send me hate mail based upon stuff I write now anyway.)
I knew what was fair as a child. I knew what was unfair. Conservatives know what is fair when it comes to pay and benefits to employees and act just like I did as a kid when it comes to slicing them off of the company's "cake". If they get to decide what is "fair", don't bet on getting any more than a sliver or the most undesirable part of the cake. They can smirk all they want and no one will make them cut that cake in even slices. In fact they know no one can make them and can be as caustic as they like (witness Papa John's pizza). If you cry and tell them to be fair, they'll claim they are being fair and you are being greedy, you want something you didn't "earn".
Conservatives won't change. They will do this every time (5% exception rate to everything, remember). The only one that can make them is the federal or state government and regulatory bodies. The minimum wage is one such attempt at forcing them to play fair, as inadequate as it is.
It's gotten so bad you can't even mention the word "fair" around conservatives, in regard to pay or benefits, without them pouncing like Allen West on a wounded POW. They will then attempt to dominate the conversation, using the word fair as a club, extrapolating to ridiculous levels. The irony of course is that conservatives will go to great lengths to defend business' ability to amass huge profits, telling us how unFAIR it is to tell cash-hoarders how much money they can amass, while in the same breath tell us exactly how little they believe wage earners should be taking home. Hey, it's "fair" to tell a guy working for you how much money he should expect to take home, but "unfair" for that person (or anyone) to tell a corporation they earn too much or try to set some kind of limit to the cash they hoard.
Conservatives love telling the powerless what they can "earn". This is wrong and smacks of subjugation and has even spawned the term "wage slave".
So I propose taking the word FAIR off the table completely OR re-defining it within a specific context when discussing wages, salaries and benefits. Maybe this will take a congressional committee. Whatever it takes.
Until then I won't use the word "fair" when discussing this topic with Republicans, GOP, Tea Party "members" and the like. I will instead say things like "Do you think it's RIGHT that you can tell one American how much it takes for them to be successful in America while being terrified of saying the same thing to another American? I personally don't think it's RIGHT to have a society where children sicken and die from lack of being able to afford medical insurance and treatment while others can't remember how many homes they own. That's not RIGHT."
And it's not FAIR either.