Ok let’s do the numbers –I always love doing the numbers because it always debunks the myths people want to kick around especially about employment and wages. That said I am going to make this real simple to digest and it is perfectly legitimate and true if you do the math too –you can’t argue with it.
If you work for 10 dollars and hour you make about net 8.20 an hour after taxes and withholding. True some of that you get back in taxes at the end of the year but not much. Now let’s dive in the cost of living today and why these wages are so lost in the 1990’s and not today with the high cost of living you have today –tenfold from the 90’s when 10 dollars an hour was pretty good.
Let’s do some shopping. Let’s buy three bug repellent strips from Lowes at 6 dollars apiece and that is 18 dollars. You would have to work at least a 2 and half hours just to make your purchase. Maybe these are things you don’t get all the time –that is true but that is a good example of the lopsided economics today. If you want to buy a steak you’ll have to work (just for one steak) at least an hour an half at current prices. If you want to chicken you’ll have to work at least an hour for one big pack of chicken -maybe more with the volatile prices with poultry these days and pork. None of this considers the gas you need to get to and from work. Let’s put that on a short route to be conservative and that will cost you at least $4-6 dollars round trip in most old cars or even some new ones. That is half an hour’s work just to get to work and get home.
Now to put it in an even better reality –think about your health care cost and insurance both health and car insurance and homeowners if you have it. Put it into the reality of taxes you have to pay and food you have to buy even in a two-person household. The money goes nowhere and so if people wonder why people are on food stamps –this should explain it well. Think about if you have children –school supplies, food and healthcare and other necessities of raising a child –you can’t make it on 10 dollars and hour. You can’t make it on 15 dollars and hour these days. So all this hum bum who struck john shit about raising wages and paying people fairly for their labor is just buck dancing talk. If we want a healthy economy we’re not going to get one at this rate. You could never buy a car or home on 10 or 15 dollars and hour even in a two-income household. It just doesn’t work in the math.
We need real wage reform in this country and labor reform too and a return to collective bargaining and unions not less. Of course, conservatives who don’t have to live these realities can find it very easy to ignore and blow off but if they were in these shoes I bet their perspective would be a lot different. My two cents and my math!
© 2016 Ted Manolatos