The Death of the Grand Old Party

Aribeth Zelin

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The minimum wage was not intended to be a living wage, where the latter means supporting a family decently. It was intended to be a minimum, hence the name. It was suitable for people just starting out, like mailroom clerks or busboys (the people who clean up restaurant tables). Typically they would still be living with family or sharing living quarters. In college (a long time ago) I got 20% *below* minimum wage at a "work-study" job - part time school job on campus. We were part-time and students, so they felt we didn't deserve a "real" salary.

Around here, it takes $30/hr to afford an average apartment at the recommended 30% of gross income for rent. So that means two people at the $15/hr level, either roommates or a family couple with both working. As a minimum, to me that seems reasonable, but other people may see it differently.

One problem with a national minimum wage is cost of living varies dramatically. When Boeing sent me from Seattle to Alabama, effectively it was a 30% raise due to lower living costs there. So perhaps it should be tied to local cost of living rather than a flat national number.
I disagree; I disagree because when places were first doing 15 an hour min, it was a living wage most places. Also, most people around here working those so called 'entry' level jobs are women my age [53], not teenagers. And also, when I was a working teen [now not all that common], all my money was saved for college, which even in the 80s wasn't cheap.

And seriously, my spouse works a significantly higher than entry level job, and -barely- makes a living wage.

[The us average living wage is 34.90 an hour. I think the lowest is 29 an hour, its been a few weeks since I crunched numbers.]

And the problem isn't whether or not people stuck working crap jobs deserve a wage at or above the poverty line or below, or even if people who're doing highly trained work are barely there, but the fact that we've people making a year's salary of a living wage in the time it takes to sneeze.

Also, I know what a busboy is, even though most of my working career I was stuck in food service, we never had them and wait staff doubled as bussers.

And lastly? Those 'entry' level jobs that make minimum wage? Those are also called essential workers. So, pardon me if I think they deserve a living wage too.

Everyone deserves a living wage.
 

Aribeth Zelin

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I'm going to try and be a little less snarky on this. So, basically, I lived in W Georgia, and no matter that I nearly had a degree in art and comp sic, I still could not get anything better than food service - not even retail, because it wasn't what you knew but who - and your gender. [I legit worked somewhere that guys were only allowed to work in the back, gals in the front, and management only came from the back. Good luck for any woman who wasn't a local in getting a job in anything above minimum wage.

By your logic, women don't deserve the dignity of a living wage, no matter what we know.

Yes, this is a hill I will die on. I think all people deserve dignity, and not being stuck in poverty because those who are slightly above us on the food chain are kicking down instead of punching up.

Ps, I also had to deal with this with my spouse who wanted me to lower the cost on my hand crafted piece to sell more. He meant well, he thought more sales would make me feel better, but I finally got it through his thick skull that I was already charging less for my skilled time than he does for his.
 

Jolene Benoir

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I would add that those who are working minimum wage are also quite subject to sub-40 hr work weeks. There has been much manipulation of work hours, initially I think, to avoid having to offer health insurance. A lot of people working at that level have hours all over the place severely limiting their ability to have additional part-time income as employers want them available at any given time.

The analogy of two family members or roommates working at $15/hr jobs in order to have a living wage may well not apply. More likely, they would have to have a combined 4 jobs.
 

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Every town, midsize city, or urban neighborhood has one, or, perhaps, a family of them: the nuisance litigants, the business owners who address zoning board hearings while visibly intoxicated, the parents who ruin PTA meetings by accusing The Polar Express of encouraging demonry. They are the regulars in the police blotter section of the newspaper, the ones who have been banned from multiple softball leagues for reasons that somehow involve child support. They are America’s local ding-dongs and loose cannons. And, increasingly, they represent the Republican Party’s interests in Congress.
 

danielravennest

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Everyone deserves a living wage.
Based on your and other people's comments, I think I see the disconnect. You all want a living wage, so call it a living wage. Stop calling it a "minimum wage". Set it at some multiple of the poverty line, and index it for inflation, so we don't have to fight over it with the right wingers again.

See, the minimum wage is a regulation on employers. That's the wrong focus. The focus should be on workers and families, and what they need to live.
 

Spirits Rising

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The minimum should cover what one requires in a given area for their monthly bills (housing, Utilities and such) plus a tiny bit extra so that there is a little wiggle room.

This oh so "quaint" notion that the Minimum should be anything else is - and was always - absolute bullshit.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Trump's personal financial interests and the long-term political interests of the Republican Party are now in conflict, which should keep the Republicans tied up for the foreseeable future.
 

WolfEyes

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The minimum wage was not intended to be a living wage, where the latter means supporting a family decently. It was intended to be a minimum, hence the name.
The minimum amount that can support a family of 4 decently for a set amount of time (weeks/months). Hence the name.
 

WolfEyes

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The analogy of two family members or roommates working at $15/hr jobs in order to have a living wage may well not apply. More likely, they would have to have a combined 4 jobs.
Now add to the above the UNPAID FULLTIME jobS that have to be done on a daily basis. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, kids, etc.
 

Jolene Benoir

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Now add to the above the UNPAID FULLTIME jobS that have to be done on a daily basis. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, kids, etc.
Right. Many women are in the position of having to work two jobs and then come home and take care of the home.
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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Set it at some multiple of the poverty line, and index it for inflation, so we don't have to fight over it with the right wingers again.
You know, it originally was. Back when the minimum wage was intended to be a living wage.

And, I'm pretty sure that when people say "living wage", they're not talking about "being able to support a family decently", as you say. I've only ever heard it used to describe a wage high enough to allow an individual worker to support themselves - at all, let alone whatever "decently" might mean.
 

Aribeth Zelin

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