Minimum wage is something that is just as bad as it sounds, like spinach or John Boehner. It is something that really no one wants to be told they are expected to earn. As it stands today, the national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, or as some see it, a drink at Yankee Stadium.
A federal minimum wage earner working full-time makes about $15,080 annually; a married couple would then average about $30,160 a year. A University of California Davis report shows this data alongside what is considered poverty which is an individual making less than $11,945 annually and a family of four making less than $22,283.
However, the definition of poverty does not make much sense as a person’s expenses are not controlled. Things happen such as unexpected car troubles that need to be paid out of pocket, or trying to put yourself through school. Barely getting by is not living, there is a reason why it’s not called a “living wage.” Yet, no increase on wages has significantly occurred while productivity and employee demand has increased.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as reported by Mother Jones, “since 1979, American workers’ productivity has increased by 80 percent. The income of the top one percent has increased 240 percent. And the average American wage, adjusted for inflation, has gone up just a few percentage points, maybe eight percent.”
We live in a country that is supposedly rewarding to those that work hard, after all that is what the free market prides itself on, yet that’s not the case. The demographic of the minimum wage earner is not your average teen that wants to save for a car or wants to have spending money anymore; it’s men and mainly women over the age of 20. Times have definitely changed and we need to accommodate for it if the free market refuses to.
Being poor sucks, this year’s Knicks type of terrible, and that is no exaggeration. As a recent very popular Reddit thread put it, /u/Meepshesaid said, “When you are broke, you can’t plan ahead or shop sales or buy in bulk. Poor people wait to buy something until they absolutely need it, so they have to pay whatever the going price is at that moment.”
Furthermore, we don’t have mandatory paid sick leave or maternity leave like other modernized countries do, which Obama did mentioned in his State of the Union address. He also pressured congress to raise the minimum wage, stating that if they could live off of $7.25, then they should try it. Thankfully, other politicians are really pushing for the minimum wage to be made into a livable wage, just like Governor Cuomo who announced a proposal to make the minimum wage $10.50 in the state and $11.50 in New York City. Though it seems he is receiving backlash from labor groups such as the Working Families Party that backed him on his last campaign when it seemed he supported their idea of a $13.13 minimum wage.
The ability to earn more money and spend more into the market is beneficial to both the consumer and the manufacturer. It puts confidence into our work force that is appreciated in this country. Partisan politics may not agree on what number it should be raised to, but almost everyone can agree that America does need a raise.