Last night the President made this announcement.
"Let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty! Let's raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour". So he wants Qatar to raise their minimum wage? They don't even have a minimum wage! Maybe he meant the 2nd wealthiest nation on earth...Luxembourg. Singapore is in third and they don't have a minimum wage either? Neither does Norway at number 4. Oh he must be talking about the 5th wealthiest nation on earth Hong Kong. Now they have a minimum wage but it's less than 8 grand a year. It's like half of the United States minimum wage. In case the President is wondering for future reference we are the 7th wealthiest nation in the world. Brunei nuged us out of the 6 hole.
The President is absolutely correct in saying that if you work 40 hours a week at the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, it would be almost impossible to get by in America on $290 a week. By the time you take out 6.2% for soc security and 15% for anyone making over $8926 a year and you're not left with much at all. And in SC we start taxing income over $2760 a year at 3% and by the time you hit 15 grand a year we're taking 7%. Roughly estimated you'd pay $50 a week in taxes leaving you $240 to live off. A decent place to live will cost you more than half that. Plus health insurance is a beast! Transportation, food, power will suck the rest of that up real quick. There's no chance to save, to invest or even to miss a day of work if you get sick! You are hanging on by a thread!
And wouldn't all American's benefit if all of us were doing better? I mean we're only as strong as our weakest link. And according to the Dept of Labor 59.1% of employees are paid minimum wage. If my math is still working, that's over half! Over half means the majority. The majority of American's are making minimum wage! So if we made the minimum wage go up, most American's would be doing better. And if most American's were doing better, then America is doing better! We should make the minimum wage $100 an hour! Then we'd all be rich!
But wait something about that feels funny. Like it's too easy an answer. Why didn't some of the great leaders of the past just declare a massive minimum wage? I get that Republican's hate the working people, even though the vast majority of Republican's are working people. But what about the Democrats who love the poor and middle class? Teddy Kennedy for example! When he died, MSNBC did a tribute to Teddy entitled Kennedy; Champion for workers rights. He bellowed on the floor "What is it about you Republicans? Do you have such disdain for working American's?" while arguing that minimum wage should be raised from $5.15 to $7.25. He toured the country with his slogan "America Deserves a Raise".
And don't we? We're not like those layzabouts in Europe with their siesta's and 6 week's paid vacation. When you hire an American, by God you hired yourself a worker. Now pay em! And why was Ted holding back? $7.25? Is that all we're worth Ted? That's why I'm thinking we should go for the $100 an hour limit! That would pay everyone a little over 200 grand a year. You can't tell me if someone is making $200,000/year they're not going to be in a better mood then when were making $15,000/year for the same work! So most American's are suddenly in a great mood! Also health insurance, not a problem! Food, energy, housing, all of it, no problem! These people will even have money for vacations and other disposable income which will stimulate the economy! It's a win-win!
But there's that nagging feeling again. What was that phrase the President used last night to describe why people making minimum wage need a raise? Cost of living. Why does cost of living go up? According to the Social Security Administration Cost of Living increases are based on inflation. So why is there inflation? According to Webster "Inflation is caused by an overall increase in the average price of goods and services". WAIT!
So if we give everyone an increase in pay, then the cost of the goods or services they provide will increase by that percentage? So it doesn't matter what minimum wage is, because if you're making minimum wage and trying to live off of 40 hours a week at it, you will be poor due to inflation?!?!?
That's why when I was schlepping burgers and washing dishes in the 1980's for $3.35 an hour it would be like...let's crunch the numbers....making $7.75 an hour today according to the inflation calculator. WAIT AGAIN! They're making .50 an hour more than I did using that comparison! These people need a pay cut not a raise! BREATHE DEEP......
Alright I'm calm again. But what if we just kept it where it is and tied it to the rate of inflation like the President suggested. So they don't make more money then us minimum wage earners of the 80's! Well on average that would mean a 2-3% increase in pay every year. But then the employees making more than that would either have to get a pay increase too or suffer. Of course most businesses would not give them an increase, so this plan to help "the middle class" has really screwed them. Eventually everyone would be paid the minimum wage because inflation would begin to skyrocket. It's called hyperinflation. And then all of us would be making an unlivable wage! Ask the people of Zimbabwe about hyperinflation when it got so bad that a roll of toilet paper was going for $140,000 when 2 years earlier it 2 dollars.
So is there anything the government can do to help the people making $7.25 an hour? Learning what we just did it would seem to indicate get out of business's way. Some more facts to help those of you who don't quite see it that way. Back to the Dept of Labor stats Out of those making minimum wage 20% are students. Out of the other 80% who are not students about half are doing this job part time. So roughly 60% of the people being paid minimum wage this isn't their sole, or most likely even their main source of income. It's kids picking up fun money, and parents working on a college fund, or a grandparent who doesn't want to fish every day. If we force companies to give these people a raise a lot of those jobs will disappear. Would they like a raise? Sure! Who wouldn't? But they're going to be OK without one. However that still leaves 40% of those making minimum wage or roughly 29 million people who are working full time for this. I wish I had an answer for those 29 million people that was easy to hear. The only advice I can give is make yourself valuable. Make it so your boss realizes that you contribute more than you're being paid. You'll probably have to work a 2nd or third job too for a while. Those are all opportunities for you to show employers that they have got something special in you. Or, you can start your own business. Either venture requires 100 hours a week and a ton of hard work with no guarantees of success. But if you develop that kind of work ethic, you usually will find some level of success above minimum wage.