Minimum Wage 2017 edition

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.


Insurance and Purchases

First insurance check arrived. Can’t print lender forms to get it endorsed because printer died the rest of the way today.

Ordered a new printer, but their “get it today” on the order page turned into “get it tomorrow” in email. *sigh*. This is not covered by insurance nor warranty, sadly.

Ordered new grill, just a propane cart with 4 burners, and submitted cost to insurance for replacement cost supplement. Downgrade from our cabinet style, but I’m not going to complain. The old one was getting near end of life anyway. This one is the same size/guts, though I’m sure there will be some fastener and wheel issues eventually.

Ordered seat planks for my bench, and submitted the replacement costs to insurance. Picked Cherry, which may seem weird for outdoor, but Cherry, Walnut, and Cedar are the only USFS highly resistant boards available from Home Depot. Walnut was too expensive, and cedar is a little soft for a 4-foot span and my heavy butt. Pine is not resistant, thermo-poplar is brittle, composite decking is too flexy, and pressure treated would need rip sawn as well as painting vs sealing.

Ordered a gas powered pressure washer, because my electric one died 10 days ago. I’ll use this to finish stripping the back porch, though I want to have the open deck area sanded before repainting. This is not covered by insurance at all, but kind of needed.

Tomorrow, I’ll pick up some spar urethane and a couple cedar planks to use on the other bench which was not covered by insurance (old, no hail damage). Well, maybe tomorrow. I’m running behind on all the work things, and tomorrow is gym day.

Also, tomorrow, check 2 shows up. If the printer shows up in the morning, I can send both off to the insurance company for endorsement and return. Once back, I can deposit, and then re-issue to my roofer to begin work.

SO MUCH MONEY SPENT TODAY! That’s all of my fallback spare cash. My emergency buffer is really not that big, only about a month before I have to pull from uncomfortable places. (Not my butt!)


Insufficient Federal Withholdings

Our 2016 tax liability was about $400 less than for 2015.
I also set my W4 withholdings to 3 from 4 in March, 2016.
My company withheld $1300 less for 2016 than for 2015.
For the first time in 25 years, I OWE the IRS during tax reconciliation.

It looks like my utilization checks had insufficient (sometimes zero) federal withholding.
Also, through August 15, they withheld about 0.8% less than later in the year.
Also, I didn’t have pre-tax savings in the first 3 months, but they only withheld an extra 0.25% for that.

I am quite irritated.
This is not something I should have to check every paycheck and compare.
If I wanted to do that, I would work for myself.

On the bright side, we HAVE money set aside for this sort of thing.
I went ahead and dropped W4 allowances to 2, but that doesn’t really fix the problem.


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