Max Zahn for Yahoo Finance reports, “In a newly released interview, taped on March 3, the head of anti-poverty nonprofit, ‘Robin Hood,’ says, ‘there’s something fundamentally wrong’ with the fact that people can work full-time and still live in poverty.”
‘“When you have a situation where you have people who are working in some cases multiple jobs and still not able to do the basics of supporting their family, we’re not valuing work,’ says Wes Moore, the chief executive of New York City-based philanthropic organization Robin Hood.”
‘“We’re not valuing effort,’ he adds. ‘We’re not being honest about what it means to be able to really support people in this environment.’”
I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Moore.
“Moore, whose organization was founded by hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones in 1988, said an increase in minimum wage requirements is part of the solution but will not solve the problem on its own.”
‘“We need to come up with a multitude of answers to include raising wages,’ he says. ‘We have structures and systems that continue to allow this level of inequality to take place.’”
And now with the economic implications of the coronavirus, our working poor are the first ones hit, and the ones hit the hardest.
“A study released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last April found that 39.7 million people, or 12.3% of the U.S. population, lived below the poverty level in 2017 — of whom 6.9 million were considered “working poor.” As of January, 29 states mandated wage floors higher than the federal minimum rate of $7.25 per hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.”
$7.25 an hour comes to $58.00 a day.
$7.25 an hour comes to $290.00 a week.
$7.25 an hour comes to $1,740 a month.
$7.25 an hour comes to $20,880 a year.
That’s before taxes, deductions for insurance, etc.
A person earning minimum wage is probably actually taking home around $1,200 a month.
After paying for rent and utilities, that doesn’t leave much at all for food, phone, a car, car insurance, gas, and other miscellaneous expenses.
“We have this falsity that if people just work hard enough that they’re going to be OK,” Moore says.
“Public policies, like the federal minimum wage, play a central role in addressing poverty, Moore said.”
‘“I find it to be imperative that we’re involved in the policy conversation,’ he says. ‘We have policies that are putting people and keeping people in poverty.’”
Again, I totally agree.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but are you aware that many of the people that serve us in restaurants typically make less than that? It isn’t uncommon for servers to be making $2.50, $3.00, $4.00 or $5.00 an hour, depending on tips to raise their earnings.
I’m willing to bet that a majority of “the working poor” work at restaurants as servers, cooks, hosts, bartenders, dishwashers, etc.
I’ve worked in restaurants, and I’m here to tell you that being a server (a waitress or a waiter) is not an easy job. I’m sure that many of the people who sit there and complain about their server could not do any better or even do their job at all.
Yet we have no problem with these people, making next to nothing, serving us, whenever we require them to do so…, and they better be nice about it!
How far away from slave labor is three-four bucks an hour, anyway?
Why should these people have to work for next to nothing to insure we have a less expensive dinner whenever we decide to go out?
If our dinner costs $75.00, would it kill us to pay $85.00 for that dinner in order to make sure these food service workers could make a living wage?
For some reason, our perception of “service industry” jobs is one of second class jobs.
But how enjoyable would our lives be if no one chose to work in the service industry?
It’s going to get to the point where these people are better off doing nothing. We’re probably at or past that point already.
Think about it.
Like Wes Moore said, “We’re not valuing work,” and “we’re not valuing effort.”
As a society, we’re willing to hand money and benefits out to those who choose not to work, but we’re not willing to give a hand to those who are willing to work and are making the effort.
Does that make any sense?
Maybe if you’re a politician looking for votes from a dependent class of people, but not to anyone else.
If we’re unwilling to raise the minimum wage to around $15.00 an hour, for full and part time work, then we need to address some additional compensation and benefits via the government.
Although, believe it or not, there are those who don’t want any handouts from the government or anyone else.
Every time the discussion starts about raising the minimum wage, we hear the same old and tired arguments…, “these are entry level jobs…,” “I’ll have to cut staff…,” I can’t afford to pay that much, I’ll go out of business…,” yada, yada, yada.
First of all…, let’s just get over the entry level concept. A job is a job.
And second, if the minimum wage is raised, all businesses will have to deal with it, so it will still be a level playing field. Things and services will just cost a little more.
I think we’ll all survive.
Again…, people who are willing to work are the ones who should be rewarded, not those looking for free handouts.
Most people and politicians prefer to lay the blame for this situation on the greedy business owners…, and there is plenty of blame to lay at their feet…, but the rest of us need to accept our share of the blame as well.
We are all taking advantage of the working poor as well, by allowing this to happen every day.
We glorify our standard of living while standing on the backs of these people who are just trying to scratch out a living, then turn around and condemn the owners and those more fortunate that ourselves…, and there is always someone more fortunate than ourselves, so we’re covered as far as the blame game goes.
Remember…, when you point a finger at someones else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.
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