Looking at the “OMG VISA/MCDONALDS ARE EVIL” stuff around some first-draft budget from 4 or 5 years ago got me to thinking.
I definitely see a lot of unrealistic expectations, entitlement, etc. But there are a few valid points. I’ve long felt the minimum wage is unrealistic right now. You should be able to support yourself on 2000 hours per year, even if you’re unskilled, and had a spouse die young. I don’t like the idea of a hand-out, or certain people get extra money because we feel bad for them, or whatever.
I like the idea that someone could work a reasonable number of hours, and scrape by without being seriously concerned about whether they could feed themselves.
One important point is that a single parent with 2 kids (again, dead spouse scenario) will have about the same expenses as a traditional 4-person household. Federal Poverty Level for a 4-person household is $24k.
Another is that, while some people thrive on 60-80 hour workweeks, that is not sustainable for most people. 35-45 hours of work per week is reasonable, because, ideally, it leaves time for grocery shopping, registering kids for school, paying bills, etc. without so much fatigue that you’re a road hazard.
So, in my mind, that means minimum wage should be around $12.25/hr, but with regional increases based on cost of living within a 1-hour commute. I also think this should be indexed more often than whenever a politician needs a bump in popularity.
This isn’t going to make anyone rich, and isn’t going to keep anyone from working hard to better themselves through struggle. It’s not going to bankrupt fast-food places, and automated systems have been in roll-outs for years, despite having a pretty low minimum wage.
I think this COULD reduce the number of people on government poverty programs, and also give people a sense of control, stability and empowerment over their own lives.
So… Poke holes in this. What am I missing, for real. Be prepared to defend your claims beyond “That’s just not right!” Also, check out the US Census website, encyclopedic, wikipedic, and almanac information on poverty.