Americans making minimum wage, which is meant to be a living wage, cannot live on it – at least not if they feel that shelter is a necessity. That’s what a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition says, proving that minimum wage is too low.
In no state can a minimum wage worker afford a ONE-BEDROOM rental unit at Fair Market Rent, working a standard 40-hour work week, without paying more than 30% of their income.
In Hawaii, minimum wage workers need to work 125 hours per week to rent a one-bedroom apartment and live comfortably. In California, the time requirement is 92 hours per week. Workers in Washington D.C. must spend 100 hours a week if they want to stay afloat.
I know, I know. I’ve heard it even from some of my liberal friends and relatives: “If people want to better themselves they shouldn’t settle for minimum wage jobs.” Right?
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a speech:
No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By ‘business’ I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white-collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level — I mean the wages of decent living.
Minimum wage is meant to be a living wage. The entire idea is that it’s the minimum amount needed to actually LIVE in our country. Providing any less than that IS a slave wage. Period.
Time and time again people who oppose minimum wage hikes get on a high horse looking down their noses at those that work minimum wage jobs – like somehow their time is just that much more valuable than the minimum wage worker’s time. That’s not elitist – not at all.
The fact is, everyone who works makes a sacrifice of their time. Basically, a wage is compensation for those hours of freedom, as well as the skill or service we provide. When we are working, we are selling our time and skill to our employer.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If a minimum wage worker is permitted to have full-time hours, which is becoming less and less common, the employee can expect to earn $1160 per month. That is an annual income of $15,080. According to the 2015 Poverty Guidelines a family of four is considered to be living in poverty with an income of $24,250 or less. When you consider many families are living off the income of a single parent and those with second incomes may not be receiving full-time hours – that’s a whole lot of families who can’t make ends meet.
Meanwhile, Wall Street and the “job creators” are raking in record profits and receiving regular increases in their income. Something is simply not right with that picture.
Slave wages shouldn’t be allowed in the United State of America. It’s time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. The money hoarders have had their way for long enough. It’s time to bring back a bit of fairness to the U.S. economy.
Featured image via National Low Income Housing Coalition