How Do You Live On a Minimum Wage?
by James Glaser
April 20, 2012
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In 2012 the federal government has set the minimum wage paid to workers at $7.25 an hour. Here in Florida the state has set it at $7.67. There are five other states with a higher minimum wage scale, but the other 44 states keep that federal wage rate.

If you think about it, working for minimum wage gets you only a bit over $250 a week after they take out Social Security and Medicare. So, even if you live alone, walk back and forth to work every day, brown bag your lunch, and have no monthly debts, you won't have anything left after paying for food, rent, utilities, and clothing. In fact, I don't know how anybody lives on that.

So many politicians will tell you that minimum wage is just a stepping stone to higher wages, but I bet there are millions of Americans living on that wage, and they have been for years. Some people never advance up the wage scale because they have medical or mental problems. Some never get a higher wage because their boss never raises their wage, and if they say anything, they know they can be replaced. The worse the employment numbers get the more likely people will be working for a minimum wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it this way:

The percentage of workers earning the minimum wage did not vary much across the major race and ethnicity groups. About 6 percent of White hourly-paid workers earned the Federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 7 percent of Blacks and about 5 percent of Asians. Among hourly-paid workers with Hispanic ethnicity, about 6 percent earned the minimum wage or less.

Many business people will take advantage of their employees, and the only way those employees get a raise is if the federal or state government raises that minimum wage. Sad to say, there are untold thousands of American children living in families that have one or two minimum wage workers supporting them. I don't know how they do it, but I can tell you that our current minimum wage is not a living wage.

So, as long as we say nothing, there will be millions of Americans living a life of true hardship. Corporations and small business will take advantage of their workforce as long as they can to increase their profits. Actually, people working for minimum wage are not living, they are existing. Our current minimum wage is shameful.

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