Working Full Time … For What?

One of the most disturbing problems in the “richest” country in the world is the fact that working full time does not mean you make enough to live. And this statement is not having 1 full-time paycheck trying to support a whole family; it is speaking about supporting just the employee. The fact that someone working 40 hours per week cannot put a roof over their head or food on their table is a huge shame for this country. 
The current minimum wage for the U.S. is $7.25, there are 18 states and the District of Columbia that have minimum wages higher than the national minimum. This may sound like a good thing but the minimum wage does not equate to a living wage. “The idea of a living wage is that workers and their families should be able to afford a basic, but decent, life style that is considered acceptable by society at its current level of economic development,” This is a huge variable, however it is not an impossible accomplishment. In an MIT study it was determined that not a single state has a minimum wage that meets a living wage. There are 2 states that come close to providing a living wage, North and South Dakota, all other states are falling short.
Some may say that this issue is not major and shouldn’t take up time when there are so many other ‘more important’ issues that need our attention. Really? The other 2 issues that might be more important would actually benefit from all workers earning a living wage, those issues being our educational system and our justice/prison system.
Congress has argued that the minimum wage was never intended to support a family, the issue is that in most cases the minimum wage as shown in the afore links does not only not provide for a family, it doesn’t support an individual. This argument seems fraught with misconceptions and just something as simple as setting a minimum living wage would have ramifications that would benefit all aspects of society. Of course the effects of keeping a majority of people below a living wage benefits the leaders…..it is the same tactic used by war lords, dictators, and terror leaders and recruiters.
In 1968 the minimum wage was $1.60; however, that wage had the same buying power as earning $10.74 today. That might sound not that bad since some figures show that most American workers make that now or close. But the inflation numbers used are the government’s and therefore, play down the rate of inflation and decreased buying power of the American worker. “According to Social Security Administration about 40% of American workers make less than $20,000; that means that 40% of American workers earn less than they would have in 1968.”
Now there are arguments that increasing the minimum wage will not improve those living below the poverty level. Those against raising the minimum wage insist that only part time workers will benefit from a minimum wage increase, since they claim that most full-time workers make more than minimum wage. Their other argument is that less than 10% of those living at or below poverty are full-time minimum wage earners, that in fact almost 70% are not working at all. However, the point they miss is how broken our “welfare” system is that actually prevents people from moving from welfare effectively and efficiently to full-time work force participant. Again, this dependency on the government is of benefit to the government. It is never a good government that wants it people dependent.

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