Friday, July 28, 2006

Struggles of minimum wage

Have you ever thought about trying to raise your family on $10,712 per year...or $21,424 if there are two adults in the home and both are working? That's what minimum wage ($5.15/hour) would get someone if they were working a full 40 hours a week with absolutely no vacation days for the whole 52 weeks out of the year! Granted, many jobs pay a whopping $6 or $7 per hour so that would up that number a little. Of course, those are gross numbers...before taxes have been taken out.

As a single person with no dependents, I can't imagine living on $10, 712 per year! Although I wouldn't claim to be the most frugal person when it comes to spending money, I'm not overly extravagant either. Minimum wage amounts to $892.67/mo. When I was living in my very cheap (comparatively speaking) apartment complex that offered "all bills paid" and where many people I know didn't want visit, let alone live (I would argue that I enjoyed my neighbors and loved where I lived...but that is beside the point.), my rent was $575 for a 2-bedroom apartment. That's 64% of a person's minimum wage income! And that was three years ago! I am almost sure rent in my old apartments has gone up since then. Unfortunately, though, while rent and other prices increase, minimum wage has not. Deducting rent from what someone on minimum wage would make leaves $317.67 for the whole month to buy groceries, household items, personal hygeine items, clothes, gas or bus passes, car payment (if you have a car), pay tithes, child care...forget the entertainment or any kind of luxuries!!

Check out this website to gain an understanding of the difficult choices people are forced to make because of these low wages.

The laws that are being made (or, in the case of the Congress, the laws that aren't being passed) at the expense of someone else make me think a little differently when I begin putting myself in that position and wonder how I would live...knowing I'm working hard just like the rest of the population!
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