Friday, May 16, 2014

Minimum Wages are Poverty Wages

A family can't live on minimum wage at 40 hours a week. How do I know? Because I make more than minimum wage and we struggle. With only one adult working in the home it isn't possible to survive. And there are many single moms and dads out there. My family only makes $25,000, but someone making minimum wage makes $14,500 a year. We are currently on Food Stamps and WIC besides living in income-based public housing. If me making $12.37 isn't enough to make it working 40 hours per week, how is $7.55 going to do it?

Yes, if we had no car  (we pay less than $300 per month on a 2007 vehicle) or phones (we have data plans I am sure we *could* live without that cost $100 a month) we'd be able to afford food without government assistance. But still, we make more than those on minimum wage, and we still qualify for "assistance" which indicates we don't make enough money to support our family without help (by the way, they take into account your gross income before taxes to determine if you are eligible for government aid). 

We've never had to support ourselves and our children on $7.55 an hour, so I can't say for certain it is or isn't possible, but if we didn't have assistance we wouldn't have a car, a roof over our heads, food, or the money to buy toiletries. We don't have high speed internet, cable/Satelite (although we do have lowest-speed internet and Netflix), our girls have 90% free hand-me-downs, and we live In income-based public housing, etc. I think we live pretty simply but I can't fathom living on even a dollar less per hour and surviving, let alone thriving. We are incredibly blessed to have insurance through my job but that takes $500+ out of my monthly paycheck. 

I'm personally not complaining about how little we have, we definitely have just enough (but I'd like to not have to depend on Food Stamps and WIC), but I can't imagine how it is okay for a single parent to make so little and depend on government agencies. 

Poor people aren't necessarily poor because they are "lazy" or don't work hard enough. Wages need to be increased for the benefit of those who really need it. And you know what? Who cares if some people don't "deserve" it, it isn't my business to judge them and it isn't my problem how they choose to spend the wages they EARNED.