Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Life at Minimum Wage

I suspect no one who reads this blog is going to be shocked by the news that money buys less than it used to. Yes, its' true what the old fogies say, everything really is more expensive.
But for a moment, let's consider what that means to not only those of us who work for minimum wage, but also most of the rest of us - that is to say, everyone except the small number of people who have gotten exponentially wealtheri due to Republican efforts to give welfare to the well off (and take it away from the undeserving poor - that is: you)

The center for American Progress has created a chart showing how this breaks out:
For example: "A week of hamburger dinners for a family of four, for example, is roughly $20 more expensive today than it was in 1997—an increase of nearly 40 percent."

Today's wage increase is long-overdue progress: before today, the minimum wage was at its lowest level in 50 years. A family of three supported by one minimum-wage earner lived roughly $5,400 below the federal poverty line—earning just $10,700 every year. Now that family will bring in $12,168 before taxes, and when the wage reaches $7.25 in 2009, they'll earn a little over $15,000. It's a start, but it's not enough: the federal poverty level for a family of three is $17,170. More and more generous increases are required to ensure that every American worker earns enough to support his or her family. The United States is the wealthiest country in the world—one in which the phrase "working poor" should not apply to anyone.

Full story here

Those of us who are owners of businesses need to do less fighting against efforts to even out the income disparities. I realise that, in fact, many business owners are struggling too, but good ethics are good business. Let your workers unionize, give them benefits, work out ways for the parents to have flex time or other ways that they can care adequately for their children. And don't forget about your maids.

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