UNITED STATES—Well that time has come around again on the uproar from those against and those in favor of a federal minimum wage increase. For those not in the know, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. It was last raised to that amount in 2009. That is nearly 12 years ago. Am I in favor of a minimum wage increase? Yes. Should it be $15 per hour? No. I do believe hiking the wage that high will impact some small businesses and it would be hard to justify such a spike in my opinion.
However, there is no way someone can tell me earning $7.25 an hour working 40 hours a week is going to help someone live a decent life. Calculate how much a person would bring home weekly with such income, it is only a gross of $290 a week, that is NOT after taxes. In a given month you might bring home $1000 or less. No think about the fact that you have rent, food, electricity, gas, water, transportation, car note/insurance, daycare, cellphone, etc. No one can tell me you can cover all those expenses and have money left in the bank on about a $1,000 a month. It’s just not possible. I’m saying this is for a single person, imagine you’re someone who has a kid or two and it might be worse because you’re feeding more than one mouth at this point.
So can someone literally look me in the face and tell me the cost of living has NOT changed or gone up since 2009. Of course it has, we all know it has. The price of gas was at its worst in 2008 and 2009 America; I mean $4 to $5 a gallon, the housing market crashed, the price of food has gone up, rent in most places across the United States has risen as well. C’mon people you have to think logically here, a minimum wage increase is need in our country, not a $7 or $8 spike because we know the cost of living in a place like New York or California is way higher than say Michigan, Iowa or Montana.
We still want the American public to feel like their hard work is NOT going directly to bills you want to have some money as a cushion and at the current federal minimum wage that is impossible. Now, I know what people are going to say, most jobs that pay minimum wage are starter jobs, ok, I’ll give you that to a degree, but for some workers they are not starter jobs, they haven’t gotten that opportunity to see the pay increase or find that job that pays a decent wage.
Now, I’m going to counter that argument because I already know what people are going to say, “Well get a college education.” Stop right there, a college education is NOT a guaranteed pay increase. It is not it’s common for people to have a degree and I know so many people who earned a college degree and guess what they were still barely making over the federal minimum wage. Hell, after I graduated from college back in 2006 and worked my resume and focused on making connections to try to find a decent job, I was still making minimum wage. It got to the point where I had to work not 1, not 2, but 3 jobs at one point in my life. Not fun America, not fun.
Of course there is going to be that discussion about big companies who should be paying their workers more and guess what they should. Share in the profits that you receive, not just lining the pockets of the owner, CEO, COO or other top players in the company. Sometimes businesses fail to realize that without employees you don’t have a company, so if you can increase the paying wage by $1 or $2 do it! Employees love to know what they do is appreciated because it’s a sign that you see their hard work and what they do is appreciated.
This brings the discussion back to members of Congress and I’ve made this argument before and I will make it again. To every member in the House of Representative and the U.S. Senate, if you think the minimum wage does NOT deserve an increase, I want you to live off of $7.25 an hour for a month and you tell me if you can sustain your lifestyle with that income. Can you pay all your bills and still have income left? I’m pretty sure I can answer that question: No.
I know the $15 per hour want is not happening and I believe it should not transpire just because it’s too high of a spike people. One that I just could not support without knowing how it would impact small businesses and the economy which many of those companies employ a vast majority of Americans. However, an increase needs to happen; a middle ground can be met with Democrats and Republicans, maybe $9 to $10 an hour. Some negotiation needs to transpire to say the least.
We know politics in most cases is all about me, that is how I view most politicians; that is my opinion and I am sticking to it, regardless of what people say. If members of Congress truly care about the American public, the people who elect them into office and pay their salaries, they need to come to the table, negotiate, work out a deal that benefits all.
If 2020 taught us anything, the Coronavirus pandemic cost many Americans their jobs, many companies went out of business and are not coming back and the economy was forever changed as a result. We can agree to disagree, but this is a time where bipartisanship is needed most. However is it fair that when Congress wants to give themselves a pay increase they can, but when it comes to the American public, it’s a deal breaker? Think about that.
Written By Jason Jones