Despite the pomp and fanfare of Connecticut becoming the state with one of the highest minimum wages, it still doesn’t cover what it was intended for: becoming a living wage.
A living wage is defined as working full-time and being able to adequately support yourself and/or your family. In order to do that in Connecticut, economists say a person must be earning over $12 an hour if they are simply looking after themselves. More for those living in and around the Fairfield area; they should be making about $13.50 an hour.
That amount goes up exponentially when factoring in child-care.
Jake Kara of the CT Mirror writes in an op-ed that, although the state’s minimum wage is of the highest in the nation at $9.60 an hour, 5th overall, it falls woefully short of making life any easier for the hundreds of thousands of workers who depend on that wage to make ends meet. Even with it being bumped up to $10.10 an hour next year, the extra 50 cents will only serve as a modicum of relief.
For single parents, their need of a higher-paying wage increases ten fold. Kara says that those raising a single child, they should be earning about $24.50 an hour, $31 an hour for two kids, and $38.50 for three.
With two parents working, Kara says both parents should earn about $14.50 an hour to raise one child, $17 for two, and $20 for three children.
That is why Bernie Sanders made such a large impression on the nation: people working multiple jobs and racking up 40 to 80 hours a week still weren’t pulling in enough money to make ends meet. To be completely honest, that’s inhumane. For a developed nation to have people working insane hours and still be living in poverty, that’s completely embarrassing. I don’t agree with Bernie Sanders on a LOT of aspects, but I do believe he was right on the money on this one.
Minimum wage was once a living wage in America. FDR mandated the minimum wage in 1938 to make sure that all working people earned a “decent living.”
Those who argue that people flipping burgers and washing cars shouldn’t be making $15 an hour forget that back in the 70’s, a person could still live off the minimum wage. In 1974,it was $2 an hour. Throwing that into a government inflation calculator, that amount comes out to $10 an hour in 2016 money.
Okay, but that’s still no excuse to raise the minimum wage to $15, right? Wrong.
You have to realize new bills have been created since the 70’s: from higher student loans, higher health insurance premiums, to your run-of-the-mill cellphone and cable/Internet bills, people are paying more out of pocket than ever.
Not just teens and uneducated people work minimum wage jobs, too, another favorite excuse opponents of raising the minimum wage like to use. A study from CareerBuilder finds teenage employment is tanking due to greater competition over those same minimum-wage jobs.
Getting a degree doesn’t make you special anymore. With the job market saturated with degree-holding individuals, the competition over positions that were once believed to be “not good enough” are now fair game. So, raising the minimum wage will benefit an extremely diverse and large part of the population.
If more people are able to work 40 hours a week and support themselves financially, the economy would be so much different. With a greater amount of people with disposable income and time on their hands, you’d be seeing more cars, electronics, homes, and other “luxury” items moving from the shelves.
Even Forbes says the economy operates better when more people earn a living wage. When Forbes Magazine says it’s time to make the living wage great again, I think people should listen.
With Connecticut being so expensive to live and work in, not to mention the insane amount of people exiting the state because of it, it’s probably a good idea for our companies and politicians to look into ways on making sure they retain whoever is left. It’ll probably do the state economy good, too. Just sayin’.