Raise the Minimum Wage Now!

Politicians, including the Democrats, at the national level seem to have an issue with helping the working folk. Even in the middle of a pandemic when designated essential workers must go to work, putting themselves at risk, and while earning less than $15 an hour.

$15 an hour, working at least 37.5 hours a week provide an annual wage of just under $30,000 pretaxes. For some, that may seem a lot of money, and it would be for them. However, after taxes, we are left with $22,500 to live on (you know, we proportionately pay more in taxes than the wealthy do). If our rent or house payment is $1,000 per month, that leaves only $10,500 to live on.

Now that we are down to $10,500, let’s take out a car payment and insurance at a low ball cost of $300 a month. Take that $3,600 away and now we have just $6,900. That is just $575 a month on which to buy food, clothes, phone, utilities, and any medical co-pays.

Shall we compare a $15/hour salary to the salary of the Speaker of the House, a Majority/Minority Leader, or Senator/Representative.

Speaker of the House Salary: $233,500
-$175,125 (after taxes, using same rate as above)
-$15,600 (housing, car, car insurance)
-$159,255 left for the year
-$13,293.75 per month (23 times what someone making $15 per hour has)

Majority/Minority Leader Salary: $193,400
-$145,050 (after taxes, using same rate as above)
-$15,600 (house, car, car insurance)
-$129,450 left for the year
-$10,787.50 per month (over 18 times what someone making $15 per hour has)

Senator/Representative Salary: $174,000
-$130,500 (after taxes, using same rate as above)
-$15,600 (housing, car, car insurance)
-$114,900 left for the year
-$9,575 per month (over 16 times what someone making $15 per hour has)

This is, of course, a very basic comparison. There would be differences in expenses for someone earning more, just as there might be a difference in expenses for someone earning less. However, the point gets across. The politicians want to keep the poor poor, which sadly, disproportionately affects people of color.

Keeping the minimum wage low is another systemic racist policy.

Keeping the minimum wage low is another systemic rascist policy. Politicians—Democrats, Republicans, trumpublicans—all know this to be so. And yet, the minimum wage remains low to keep people down enough they don’t have time to worry about, or become actively involved, in what politicians are doing. While, at the same time, it keeps big business earning record profits, CEOs earning obscene amounts of money, billionaires earning yet billions more, and all of them giving politicians donations to campaigns/dark money PACs keeping the politicians (willingly so), in their back pockets.

I would count Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema as recent examples since they don’t want to do away with the filibuster, and Senator Manchin is against raising the minimum wage to $15 across the board. The former would help the country, the latter would help the populace.

If we truly want to help improve the lives of the impoverished, and begin the path to ending systemic racism, then it is time to raise the minimum wage. Not tomorrow, not soon, but now!

Take a moment to contact your U.S. Senator and Representative and let your voice be heard. If you earn less than $15 an hour, you too must take a moment to make your voice be heard in the Halls of Congress. The 2020 election was just the start of expressing our wishes. Now, as they say, the real work begins.

Let’s get to it!

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