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Surprise! People can't live off of the minimum wage

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RyanPsych Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 10:32 PM
Original message
Surprise! People can't live off of the minimum wage
Imagine trying to live on $7.25 an hour. Even if you managed to work full eight-hour days, you'd be making only about $58 a day, $290 a week, or a measly $15,000 a year at most. And out of that would come taxes and other deductions.According to the standards of the federal government, you'd be living in poverty. Yet $7.25 an hour is the federal minimum wage set by Congress. State legislatures can and do set state minimums higher than the federal rate, but never lower, much as some would like to.Far too many workers have no choice but to take minimum wage jobs, no choice that is, but to live in poverty. New research out of Columbia University's law school lays out the sorry details of the minimum wage workers' very serious situation, one that should never be tolerated in a country with such riches as ours.

In many states, the minimum wage laws are but barely enforced, in part because there's little or no money budgeted for enforcement. But it's also because the government agencies charged with enforcing the laws are clearly not much interested in carrying out their mandate.Equally at fault are the governors and state legislators who've done virtually nothing to try to help their state's neediest workers earn a decent living. They have to be aware that no one can make a decent living at the current minimum wage rates.

The government officials who have been ignoring the problems could at least try to make sure that employers pay workers the legal minimum, however inadequate it might be. And the government officials could apply effective pressure to raise the minimum. They could, but given their record in such matters, that's most doubtful.

Congress could raise the federal minimum, but having just recently raised it, that's extremely unlikely, even though it should be obvious to everyone that a higher rate is needed to effectively help the many working people who badly need help. It may be hard to believe, but despite the great need of workers and despite the widespread violations of the minimum wage laws, five states - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi - have no agency assigned to enforce the minimum wage laws and other laws designed to protect workers' rights.

keep reading at: http://www.peoplesworld.org/minimum-wage-is-a-poverty-w...
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Philippine expat Donating Member (412 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. You can not support a family on minimum wage
but in many parts of the country a single person
can easily live on minimum wage.
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RyanPsych Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Easily?
With health costs, phone bills, gas, rent, utilities, groceries?

I'm not saying that it isnt possible- but it seems like it would be a tight squeeze.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Easily? Maybe if you're living on ramen.
Food costs are remarkably similar across the country. Rents in Podunk Kansas might be half what they are on the coasts, but that loaf of bread is going to cost you a buck and a half anywhere. Those really cheap pork chops are going to be 3.25/lb, whether you're in Nebraska or Virginia.

The cost of car insurance is the same, though taxes may be higher on the coasts. That root canal is going to cost $700, no matter where you are.

You can get by on minimum in some places, but there is no place in this country where you can live easily on 7.25/hr.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-11 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Deleted message
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Newest Reality Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. You are being far too liberal
with the word, "easily".

That is a matter of perspective. Maybe you should be more illustrative of what you meant. Easy can be a very subjective, variable, and relative concept. My easy could be your hell, don't you know?

Please do illuminate us on what you were intending by your statement.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-11 06:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. Not if you have health insurance and need a car.
Most places with low rents don't have much in the way of public transport.
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. and add to that the GOP plan to cut food stamp programs....
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napoleon_in_rags Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-11 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
6. That's because minimum wage is a fraction of what it used to be.
It really hit me the other day. I don't make much, but its still so much more today than my first minimum wage job at 711 - yet I'm still struggling incredibly hard. I remembered back then (1995) having $20 meant two packs of smokes, filling up my gas tank, and getting some food. Now doing the same would be about $80. The minimum wage used to be livable, but now I can't imagine it.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-11 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
7. My single-person health insurance premiums and deductible ALONE
Edited on Sat Jun-04-11 01:09 AM by snot
are over $10K per year, and that still doesn't cover everything, and I'm extremely healthy.

$15,000.00 for a full-time job is ludicrous. Esp. when you consider all the things even a single individual is supposed to pay or save for health insurance, food, shelter, transportation, education, not to mention for retirement.
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cutlassmama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-11 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. this is why when they get sick they die because they can't afford the
medications/doctor visits. Many also have rotting teeth because they can't afford the dentist. I see ads all the time in the "barter" section of the online newspaper for dental work vs. cleaning, massage, etc. These are poor people (working poor) who cannot afford this care. They have to walk everywhere or if they are lucky, take the bus. And most have to work 2 or 3 jobs to make rent or have 3=4 roommates to make rent.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-11 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Seriously, it's stealth eugenics.
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-04-11 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. yep. nt
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