Hey you do you think the minimum wage amount should be raised? If yes is your answer or no is your answer, let’s have the minimum wage debate today. The current minimum wage in my state is 8.25 cents an hour, or 330 dollars per week, or 1320 per month. This is the amount prior to taking out federal and state taxes. I don’t know about you but 330 dollars a week doesn’t go far to support anyone in 2015.
From my research the average rent in my area for a 1 bedroom apartment is 850 – 1200 dollars per month. Now can someone making 1320 per month successfully pay for shelter, including food, utilities, and transportation costs? Unfortunately it is impossible for many people who oppose raising the minimum wage to do a simple budget. Thanks to a coworker I got a flyer from the national low income housing coalition, and it states a housing wage should be 25.17 per hour as the minimum in order to afford a two bedroom fair market rent in NJ. I can add and subtract with ease, and if you take 25.17 -8.25 = 16.92. That is how much we are off per hour for someone making minimum wage to afford a two bedroom rent.
Granted you could argue that the people making minimum wage should learn better skills to get out of the poor trap. I agree with that statement, but is it still right to keep the minimum wage so low at 7.25 dollars an hour on a federal level? In a country where costs are going up every year for basic living necessities, shouldn’t the hourly wage rise in step with the expenses? If rent goes up by $75 dollars every year, and the hourly wage stays the same for 4 years, how is a person able to make ends meet or save for the future?
Now another argument the people who oppose raising the minimum wage say, the people earning $7.25 an hour still live at home with their parents. Well if that’s the case you’re making, do you expect those kids to live with their parents forever? If not then why not begin to raise the minimum wage for anyone over 21 years of age, and or has their own dwelling. If its a teenager fine leave it at a lower level. Things can be tailored to fit different scenarios.
Do you know research shows that minimum wage retail associates spend a big portion of their pay in the jobs they work for? Now if business owners had common sense, the more you pay them for working there, the more they will most likely spend to buy goods. It’s a win- win for both sides of the fence. If they don’t end up spending it in the establishment they work for, then they will spend it someplace else locally. Thus helping to improve the economy in a big way.
Another section of the low income flyer lists the hours needed to work at minimum wage in order to be able to afford housing without going over 30% in housing costs. I would have you know that in 0 states can someone afford a 1 bedroom making minimum wage without going over 30% of income for housing. The worst state is Hawaii at 125 hours worked @ minimum wage in order to pay for rent.
Hours Needed to Work @Minimum Wage to be able to Afford 1 Bedroom Apartment:
Hawaii – 125
Maryland – 101
DC – 100
NJ – 100
NY – 98
I hope you can see that its impossible to afford rent while working on minimum wages, unless the person cuts other basic necessities. I found a link to an article where over 600 economists signed a letter of petition for legislation change in order to raise the minimum wage.
Why is it that the politicians who rely on the economists for research and information, will not listen to them on this matter? In my opinion the economist know best how financial issues will either hinder or improve the economy. Why would all of these economist’s agree on raising it? Well the answer is simple because it will only help the U.S. as a whole.
I believe people will find hope as states and cities slowly realize the need to begin increasing the minimum wage as soon as feasible. The proof is right here in this post, where Los Angeles is the first major city to begin raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour by 2020.
What is your take on the minimum wage debate?
Rich Uncle EL
Pic provided by The Daily Iowan