Exposing Republican Ignorance About the Minimum Wage

povertyThe minimum wage debate in this country simply baffles me.   Maybe it hits closer to home because I grew up dirt poor, but probably because the arguments against it are just flat out ridiculous.

A small insight to my childhood.  I was raised by a single mother, who was raising two kids on her own–working 2 jobs.  We had a car that barely worked, clothes that were rarely new, very few “perks” (if any) in life and bills that will be represented by ($A) with my mother’s income which was something around ($A-$100).  Needless to say, each month was a juggle of which bills to pay, and when, so that none of them would be shut off.

This is the circumstance I’m sure millions face every day and a circumstance that many, unless they’ve experienced it, can never understand.  So when someone says something like, “It’s only $40, just pay it,” they don’t understand how it feels to already be pushed to your financial limits, and literally have less money coming in than what is required for monthly expenses.

See, $40 to someone who’s already behind, isn’t really $40.  It’s $40+their current deficit+the deficits accruing by way of their monthly expenses.

I hear two main arguments from Republicans against the minimum wage:

  1. It eliminates jobs
  2. It’s unconstitutional

Well, right out of the gate I’m going to simply dismiss #2.

As Republicans, this notion that they’re the party of “Constitutional values” is laughable.  With each step against abortion (deemed Constitutional in Roe v. Wade), the forced transvaginal probe requirement prior to an abortion or the pre-abortion required sonogram, the push for a ban on same-sex marriage based on religion (which the First Amendment doesn’t allow), the passage of voter ID laws which violate the Voting Rights Act, the push to try and violate the Affordable Care Act law (deemed Constitutional by the Supreme Court), etc…you get the picture.

In each one of these instances, and many more that are similar, Republicans prove that they only love our Constitution when they feel it benefits their ideology.  Whenever our Constitution doesn’t side with their system of beliefs, they don’t hide the fact that they’re willing to violate its laws because they don’t agree with them.

As for #1, it eliminates jobs–are you kidding?  To paraphrase Chris Rock, when someone pays you minimum wage, what they’re saying is they would pay you less, but they’re not legally allowed to.

How do people use this argument with a straight face?  Oh I get it!  If we take one really low paying job, split the hourly wage in half, we can then create two even crappier paying jobs.  That’s a “brilliant” way to boost job creation!

That was sarcasm by the way.

Oh, and a quick side note to address a spin off some use on this argument, “Well most jobs don’t pay minimum wage anyway, so we don’t need it.”  Hey genius, if most jobs pay more than minimum wage anyway–then what’s the point of opposing it?  Oh, and where do you think “above the minimum wage” pay scale was based on?  Oh that’s right, the minimum wage.  It would be lower without it.

But yes, by all means, let’s take the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 (I know some states pay more) and reduce it even further.  A wage of $7.25 that, if worked 40 hours a week for 52 weeks, would only garner an individual $15,080 per year before taxes—and would still place a single mother/father below the poverty line with just one child.

Oh, let’s not forget, Republicans also harp about too many Americans relying on government programs.  And it makes perfect sense to lower the minimum wage to help people get off welfare, right?  Just another pair of political stances Republicans support that completely contradict one another.

But back to the argument “it eliminates jobs.”  One argument is that it hurts employment for teenagers as businesses don’t want to hire 16-20 year old individuals with no prior work experience for such a “high wage.”  Some have suggested a tiered system of minimum wage based on age.

So now what, we should use age discrimination to determine pay?  Or we can ignore the fact that many businesses would probably then hire younger people over older individuals, because they could pay them less.  Then, when budgets are tight, who do you think gets more hours—the person making $5.25 an hour or $7.25 an hour?  You don’t think once an individual hits that “age threshold for higher pay” that some businesses might start cutting their hours, or hell, looking for ways to get rid of older employees who cost more?

But let me break down what $7.25 per hour really means–actually, I’ll even take it a step further and use $9.25 an hour:

A single mother or father working 40 hours a week, at 9.25 an hour, would only make $19,240 per year (or $1603 per month) both numbers before taxes.

Let’s assume he/she has 2 kids.  This places them (before taxes) a whopping $150 above the poverty line.  So, even at $2 above our federal minimum wage, this would place a family of 3 barely above the poverty line.

*At $7.25 40 hours x 52 weeks = $15,080 (before taxes) and would place this family of three $4,010 below  the poverty line.

And actually both sets of numbers, for a single parents with 2 children, would qualify them for some kind of government assistance.  So, when Republicans say people who rely on government assistance are lazy moochers, I guess they’re including those who work full-time jobs at lower pay.

So, are people who work full-time jobs lazy?  Are Republicans saying that 40 hours a week isn’t enough, and people should just find a way to work more so that they don’t need to rely on help from the government?

What kind of country is this becoming where millions (many who use government programs by the way–they just excuse their own reliance while judging others) would rather have someone work 50, 60, or 70 hours per week instead of saying, “You know what, businesses need to pay their employees better, so people don’t have to work 60 hours a week just to get by.”

Because if you want to look at a single mother or father, trying to raise their children the best they can, working 40 hours a week and call them lazy, or tell them you believe they should be paid less–you should be ashamed of yourself..

Because I’m damn sure ashamed of you.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Chris

    They want people to work more just so they can get by and remind us again exactly how many days per year does congress work for their 6 figure salary? Any normal person trying to work the way congress works would be fired rather quickly. Damn hypocrites!

    • Annie

      I don’t think the writer of this article was comparing increasing the minimum wage to Congress.

      I know more small businessmen who do NOT make (in fact most small business owners are in this category) 6 figure salaries. They go home beat at the end of the day, they go without paychecks, so that others can have health insurance (soon to change), they live in apartments, while the minimum wage earner goes home to his HOUSE ,

      THe small business owner goes home in a dilapidated truck, while the ‘underpaid’ worker drives off to his home in his Beeemer-although a poor choice of cars for a minimum wage earner, it is his choice to make.

      • Penny

        Annie, I take issue with your post. I don’t know any one who works 40 hours a week getting minimum wage that drives around in a beemer and has a house. As a matter of fact, they usually have to live in low income apartments because they don’t have the $$ to get into a nice apartment. They almost always have a dilapidated truck or take a bus to get to and from work. I’m not trying to say the small business man is any better off but let’s keep it real. Maybe you need to try working for minimum wage for a year and see how it works out for you.

      • Frankie

        Anecdotal evidence aside, maybe you should try running a business AND maintain profitability in this country. The picture that is being painted here is emotional knee jerk reactions. That minimum wage increase HAS to come from somewhere.

        What I find amazing is, why people who want a min wage increase cannot economically answer the question, that the legal floor on wages is minimum wage. Why isn’t it the case that everyone is paid minimum wage except the fat cat CEO on the top?

      • Joan

        Annie, I know nobody who works for at or near minimum wage who can afford more than a studio apartment. I was making a bit above minimum wage and barely able to afford a one bedroom apartment (in a part of the country with a low cost of living), and needed to work extra jobs just to be able to pay for my heat. There were weeks where all I had to eat was rice and (frozen) spinach. Car maintenance was laughable.

        And this was all WITH a college degree. I didn’t go out partying, I have never done any illegal drugs, and had NO medical care for three years because it is really just about impossible to LIVE at minimum wage as it currently stands.

      • waltraud sails

        Annie, I don’t know what country you live in, but the minimum worker, does not have a Beemer, or a house, He works 2 jobs to make ends meat comes home and falls dead in his bed, the minimum worker makes if he works 40 hours $7.30 plus 40 figure it out the minimum worker, may make full for some lousy benefit, the small Business owner could not afford a worker if he wouldn’t make any money, he probably stays late so he can figure out how much cash he made that day, because he does not trust the minimum wage earner with the cash box, forget about vacation for the minimum worker, he makes just enough not to qualify for foodstamps and other help from the government because he make $1.00 to much, oh ya and he has to pay taxes, where the small business owner gets taxbreaks. dream on.

      • Annie

        I’m replying to the posts by waltraub and Joan. I know workers who make minimum wage who do go home to their houses and in their fancy cars, while their boss goes home to his apartment. It ezists and isn’t the RARE exception.

        I live in the United States. This minimum wage earner doesn’t always work two jobs to get a nickel to rub so tight until the buffalo farts.

        There are those who go home, crack open a beer and bring out the drugs. This wasn’t a fact of life in the 50s when I grew up (that I know of), but in big cities, urban areas this is a culture oftentimes seen too often.

        So, to me we can do one of 2 things; throw money at it, raising the minimum wage and the scenario that I previously describe unfolds. Or, we can deal with the root cause of doing the drugs when there are mouths to feed at the home Both are hard, hard to deal with, but getting to the cause of a problem has worked for years. Throwing a bandaid hasn’t alsways been a solution.

      • You are so absolutely delusional it isn’t even funny anymore. All I can do is shake my head.

      • kirfy

        Where on earth do you live? I’d like to move there, but I don’t believe what you are saying exists. It is laughable. I used to make $7.50 an hour at Barnes & Noble 15 years ago and after taxes, FICO etc I made under $200 for 2 weeks. So for the minimum wage full time worker you would make $400 a month. Can you live on that? Thankfully I was able to work and go to college (with lots of aid from the government) and stay with my parents when on break/summer. There were also additional challenges at home I won’t go into (personal) and I have always had piss poor health. What happens to the people who have no support network? Welfare only gives people $200 a month to live on. Not well or fair. And Republicans are cutting food stamps, welfare, want to privatize social security, disability pays little more than welfare. They and apparently you, want to strip the safety net that went into place after the Depression. It is there for a reason. It is not moral to let the poor suffer, and no minimum wage worker drives a luxury car that isn’t decades+ old and goes back to a nice house unless their parents bought the car and they live in their house. Both my parents worked their way out of poverty. The days where you can work yourself out of poverty are pretty much done. I guess it is easier to think that people are takers (the 47% as Romney put it), than unable to get a job or make a living busting your ass for minimum wage. Why don’t you compare our standard of living compared to Britain, Western Europe, Canada, Australia and other places and see just how much more American’s work than other places. It is an abomination that we work more than anybody and can’t make a living.

      • You have no idea in the World what you are talking about. With all possible respect, you are either completely ignorant about that which falsely put forward, or lying… As a small business owner, I paid a decent wage and got good results ( and made a profit ). Oh and I had a HOME. But the real point is, your attempted points are ridiculous. “They go home beat at the end of the day ” Not if they hire the right employees and pay them decently. The last part of that rant is just plain stupidity. I do agree that any business that makes a 6 figure salary is NOT a small business.
        But my experience was that the actual small local businesses are not the one who pay the lowest wages. It is the larger greedy ones like McDonalds, Wal Mart, some of the chain businesses. Locally, most actual small businesses paid 8.50 or more..some quite a bit more. It was some of the chains that you were lucky to get 7.50. And that was several years ago.

      • Are you serious right now?? I can’t even take your posts seriously anymore. Wow.

      • Monica Leskovsky

        You’re out of your mind if you think anyone who earns minimum wage can afford to own a house that is actually decently habitable. You’re also out of your mind if you think anyone on minimum wage can afford a BMW, unless it’s like 20 years old. You actually said some half-assed reasonable things until this post. Did you have a stroke somehow in the middle of all this?

  • Jeff

    “A single mother or father working 40 hours a week, at 9.25 an hour, would only make $19,240 per year (or $1603 per month) both numbers before taxes.

    Let’s assume he/she has 2 kids.” – I think I see the problem……

    • Robin

      Jeff, the problem may be that they were part of a two income family and their spouse left them holding the debts–and the kids. It happened to me, and to my husband. My ex and I both had excellent jobs and as soon as he found out I was pregnant, he left and didn’t look back. I lost my job when the company moved to another country where labor was cheaper. I wound up as a single mom, working full time for minimum wage, going to school full time and desperately needing help to survive. When I tried to get child support, my ex quit his job and moved to keep me from getting any money. To this day, I have never been able to collect one penny of the child support back pay he owes me. My husband’s ex left him with the kids while he was trying to work full time and go to college so that his kids could have a better life, too.

      We only have one child left at home, the other ones are in college, so things are a little easier now. However, my husband and I are still struggling financially because of all the hardships we endured raising our kids alone, because we wanted to be responsible parents. At least now we have someone we can count on to help us. Don’t judge people. You have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Jeff

        So you are the exception, not the rule. Unfortunately for you, I rarely see folks in your predicament. I see the others on a regular basis. And no matter what, honestly, the decisions to marry and have a child was still yours. There had to be some indication in the matter that he didn’t want it or was not going to be ok with it. You could have easily put the kid up for adoption rather than bury yourself and the child in a lifelong struggle of poverty. Again, those decisions are yours and yours alone to do with as you please. It doesn’t mean you deserve wages higher than the skill set employed. Nothing prevented you from seeking a better job outside of a child and that could have been rectified in a far easier way, yes? You chose the path of pain and hardship then seek sympathy in the form of higher wages.

  • Annie

    Why do Republicans oppose raising it? Well, I can give a solid reason why RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE. Before you snoot that, “it’s Annie and she’s conservative” tell me what about this scenariou DOESN’T make sense. I’ve seen it play out this way more than once,

    Let’s say there is small businessman ‘a,’ who employs worker ‘x” for minimum wage. Then this same small businessman is TOLD that he needs to increase the pay by $1.50/hr. He only has so much capital to pay workers and for a while he goes without pay to absorb the cost of the increase.

    Finally his mortgage is due and he has to get a full paycheck, so he can no longer do that. Also, when he has to increase the pay for that minimum wage worker, the person he was going to offer a full-time person to needs to go part-time, and there is are no raises.

    In the not to distant future, the small businssman will face the conundrum of health insurance and he’s already planning his budget for that, He’d hoped to offer health insurance as a benefit to working for his company, but now, THAT has to go to and people are on their own for health insurance.. Eventually, the minimum wage worker will be without a job, because the small businessman doesn’t have enough money to pay him. Others will be laid off. SO MUCH FOR PROMOTING JOB GROWTH AND FEEDING THE ECONOMY.

    • Jeff

      Haven’t you heard? People are entitled to have jobs and are entitled to pay them their weight in gold. Who cares if you don’t have capital or you can’t afford it. It is their right to have everything and you WILL provide even if it means you make little or nothing or even go bankrupt. Which is why we should have government running all the businesses because people like you are more interest in profit than providing peoples needs – Liberal Principles of Business 101

      p.s. I’m being snarky =)

      • Annie

        I could tell you were being snarky. At first I was a little slow on the uptake, and thought you were serious. Then the preposterousness (is that even a word?) hit me and I knew. What a snark!

        But I do disagree, Jeff. Government should not be in the business of running all the businesses EXCEPT THEIR OWN (Like public employees).

        But, Joe, who owns the deli down the street, selling sausages for a living, should NOT be beholden to Uncle Sam-not a businessman. Joe knows more about running a business and government should keep their nose out of Joe’s business-unless it directly affects the Federal government.

      • Jeff

        “But I do disagree, Jeff. Government should not be in the business of running all the businesses EXCEPT THEIR OWN (Like public employees).” You mean agree? =) I was being snarky at that too. I wouldn’t trust government with a freaking day care center. They can’t even manage the Senate barbershop. They lost 380k on that alone! And don’t even get me started on AmSuck.

    • Terri

      You are leaving out a very important factor in your assessment. An increase in the minimum wage puts more money in the pockets of folks who will spend it. Your small business person will see an increase in business because more people will have more money to spend. That means his or her business will grow. This is how economies are fed. Lower employment expenditures simply do not make sense in a capitalist system. If folks don’t have money they can’t spend it. Money must be circulated. Stop or slow circulation and you kill the system. The insistence on austerity has served to create the polar opposite of a capitalist system. It creates a caste system – a plutocracy.

      • Annie

        Terri, I think that’s an oversimplification. The increase is a small increase; not enough to pay for much. So, putting an increase of 20 cents/hour into the pocket is only going to help the bread-maker or the milkman. IF the worker doesn’t blow the raise. If we could afford a substantial wage (if the business owner could, I might be for it). But, he can’t.

        The businessman isn’t going to be in a position to increase hires. Instead, because of a Federal law, he’s going to have to raise the salary of one at the expense of others.

        The salary increase won’t be enough to cause more people to spend on the small businessman’s services/products in most instances. So the maker of a pack of gum may make out, but the dentists (whose services are already expensive) won’t see more people walk in the door ready to pay for implants, the guy who sells roofs or blinds where orders are in the thousands of dollars will suffer, or even Lowe’s workers won’t see a pay increase because Joe minimum sage earner decided to go on a shopping spree with his $ .20 hr increase: Let’s see .20 x 8+ =1.60 x 5=$8/week. Think about it, with an extra $8 a week, what are you going to do? Pay off that $10,000 VISA bill?

        That’s like my niece saying that there was a tax cut, so she voted for President Obama. We saw $26 a month increase for a few short months; what could that possibly do?

        I think the goal should be to create LONG TERM, SUSTAINABLE jobs. And if increasing the minimum wage is going to force that small businessman to declare bankruptcy, the minimum wage earner who just got a raise in his minimum wage, IS GOING TO GO TO WORK ONE DAY TO A CLOSED UP STOREFRONT.

        So, we need to figure out a way to give a substantial increase in the minimum wage, one that means something, or our minimum wage worker won’t have a job to go to and will be back on Medicaid and dependent on food stamps, the very life he’s trying to leave. Let’s help him right.

        The Federal government should be about GOVERNING the country; when does it stop flexing it’s muscle and where does it stop butting its nose in other people’s business?

      • mike

        I can tell that Terry knows something about economics. Annie… not so much.

      • Frankie

        broken window fallacy is all I see here.

    • Scott

      A higher minimum wage means more money actually in play in the economy.
      Someone earning an hourly wage is NOT stacking cash in the Caymans or in some hedge fund, they’re using it to buy actual goods and services.
      More people purchasing goods and services means stronger companies with a higher bottom line.
      A Lower and Middle Class with more than enough to get by are your real job creators.

      • Annie

        Scott, A higher minimum wage means more money in play in the economy….Yes it does.: for a little while. But someone has to come up with that money to pay the increase and for a while, it might be the Mitt Romney’s and the George Soros’ of the US. But, eventually they’ll become tapped out. Who are we going to borrow from next? Remember, 47% of the people aren’t able to afford taxes, and the middle class is already squeezed to death…Are you saying, squeeze them harder?

        That’s what I think many liberals forget. It all sounds great; after all, NOONE should have to work for the current minimum, to make ends meet, to have a family. But, the money has got to come from somewhere.

        Oh, there’s an obvious solution: Just print more money so that we can afford the wage increase which would be great for the minimum wage earners and we’d all live happily ever after?

        Thing is, WE WOULDN’T. We have to look long-term at the effects of raising the wage. Sure, we’ll feel better that we did something in the short-term, But in the long haul, who and what have we helped? Eventually the minimum wage earner will be squeezed out or someone else will lose his position. Less money will flow into the marketplace, and as less money flows through the economy, businessmen will be able to afford to employ FEWER people. Aren’t we trying to INCREASE the employment rate, not DECREASE it?

      • Guy_X

        Actually, your reasoning is leading you to the wrong conclusion. The only way to inject fresh money into the economy would be by revitalizing the manufacturing base and increasing resource development. That in conjunction with an across the board increase in minimum wage will jump start and sustain a viable economy. That’s where we look towards the so-called job creators, but alas they aren’t doing their job for the benefit of North America.

    • Bryan W.

      With all due respect, the conservative approach would be to say everyone works within the same economic guidelines and if you cannot find success within your business model, you deserve to fail. What if I said as a bar owner, I can’t make ends meet unless we eliminate those pesky government guidelines preventing me from serving 18-20 year olds, should that law be struck down because I can’t make a go of it while other bars have no problem succeeding? I have managed small businesses my whole life, and when costs increase you either increase productivity to offset those costs or you increase prices. If doing either of those things does not save the business, then the model itself is flawed, because others in the same industry are succeeding.

    • It sounds asif this business man isnt doing to well. Is HE contributing to the economy. Is HE paying his taxes, his student loan. Maybe He should just go bankrupt and get a better paying minimum wage job!

      • Annie

        Offense intended and offense taken. This is the SMALL businessman who works from his home, pays himself last, and after his wife works a full day at another job, she comes home-only to do the paperwork and company work. Now all business at IBM or GE or GM.

    • If this were the case, minimum wage would still be what, 30 cents an hour? Every study has shown that the effect is minimal, some showing a slight decrease in jobs (soon made back as the folks with more cash spend it) some no effect, and some a small _increase_ in jobs. Long term, a higher wage means less money paying out government subsidies to the working poor. So lower taxes/deficit. Long term, more money flows into the economy from the bottom, where money spent directly translates into economic growth. If unemployment or food stamps puts $1.40-$1.80 into the economy for every dollar paid out, a $1 raise will put that much more into the economy. If 25% see that raise, and that returns 50% into the economy, that’s 12 cents for the dollar.
      The folks harmed are the very marginal business owners, but if it means their labor costs are up 10%, they simply raise prices 5-10%- the money available is 12% higher for folks spending, so it won’t harm the business. What does hurt the tiny business most is having a whole factory take a pay cut, or all the state workers paying more for benefits (which are part of a compensation package, so it _is_ a paycut). They won’t stop and buy a sandwich, or buy a cheaper one-labor costs the same for a bologna sandwich as a roast beef. That is why your boss is suffering.
      Our economy stagnated after going well in the recovery exactly when the stimulus ran out and states all cut wages and employees. We still grew, but all those bosses like yours lost their customer base and themselves had to cut costs.

  • Bryan W.

    I truly believe that the change that is needed must come from the structure of our semi-capitalist system by withholding labor from crappy jobs. If more humans simply refused to work for minimum wage, the corporations who demand cheap labor would have no option but to share a bit more of the immense amount of profits their attaining by paying higher wages. This is not a socialist idea, this is a capitalist idea, use the system of supply and demand by minimizing the supply of labor to increase the value of that labor. The plain fact is that we do not share the productivity of this nation equitably with the people who create it, you know, those on the front lines producing the products being sold, or actually selling the products. There is a disparate amount of the fruits of labor in this country going to CEO’s, lawyers and others who produce nothing, while those actually producing the wealth are expected to take less and less of a cut. So I say stop. Do not give these companies the option of getting cheap labor. I know I would never work for minimum wage, I would starve first. But fortunately I’ve always found a way to make a good living, even if it’s mowing lawns, fixing fences and shoveling snow, or even temp labor that pays much better than minimum wage.

    • kirfy

      That’s what unions are all about, my friend.

  • I served food for $3.09 un hour plus tips and when you get a tip for .10 penny’s after busting your a** for someone, that’s not right if you can’t tip right then don’t go out!!! I never got a check so I paid for my own food, bills and other things with the little bit of tips I did get …. so after a year I went some where else. After going to work at my new place, I have been there now for 7 years. I started at $10.50 un hour now I make $13.10 so I hope they fix this cause I work my a** off for penny’s still …..I’ts TIME!!!

  • mel

    This is how the powers that be want things to work. You work say 60-70 hours a week minimum you come home you eat, maybe watch a stupid sitcom, go to bed. You wake up and do it again. This way you have no time, desire or energy to see what is really happening. You in essence become sheep. Ask no questions get no answers. Once they make sure the poorest of poor are firmly in their place the powers that be will slowly start moving up the food chain. Those with money and power do not want you or anyone else they deem unworthy to even think they can achieve the same. The republicans have become the party of slave owners. Which is essentially what they want the american worker to be. Drive up the prices of food, gas, and housing and keep the wages just at the point where the average worker can barely afford them. This way all the worker can do is work. Put mindless entertainment on television, give them false hope that they can be something, and watch them work themselves into an early grave. Its a sad reality folks.

    • That is the effect, isn’t it Mel? A relatively hopeless, disenfranchised class working many times harder than the powers that be – just to get along while the “luxuriant” classes continue to take advantage. I think you’re right about this. Power will always USE ITS POWER TO STAY IN POWER – unless challenged by a more ethical collective with more COMBINED power. America was founded on the basis that WE THE PEOPLE are supposed to be the greatest power….. but ARE “WE”?

      • LLB

        The sickest part is that nobody even considers anymore, how many hours a person actually works, how hard the job actually is, or how necessary it is for other working people or indeed even the entire economy to even function. Whether you are considered to even be working or not = what your job pays per hour. That. Is. All. This is why, everywhere on Facebook you see a meme advocating a raise in the minimum wage, you will see conservatives raging that every minimum wage worker is just lazy, and what they are doing isn’t really work at all, and they don’t deserve to be paid enough to afford two bedrooms, and if they were better people they would have a degree in engineering (which of course they will somehow owe NO money for in student loans.) Never mind that senior care, pet care, yard work, child care, taking out the trash, working cash registers, cooking and serving food, cleaning…all minimum wage work.

    • joe

      Well, how would you have it be? Definitely not saying that the current system is perfect, but honestly: you’ve defined the problem, most people understand what the problem is, though without the whole rich people conspiracy thing, that’s nuts. Now what do you think the solution is? You seem angry enough about it yet more sympathetic than empathetic, so I’m sure you’re not doing too badly at the time of this post. However, I think this post was motivated by something other than the state of the poor in America — perhaps just a general hatred of Republicans? Either way, this is just another cynical post in which the author is all too eager to reveal the problem but turns tail and looks the other way when confronted with devising a solution.

      • Carol Lynn

        The solution? D’oh – raise the minimum wage. If that means the CEO and the board can’t have 300 times the wage of the workers (plus full benefits and stock option perks and a golden handshake), I’m not opposed to that.

  • noura

    Annie, I work for a small business. In fact I want to own a small business. I get paid $10.25 an hour. I have a college degree, but I bake in a food truck. The owner of the truck has a house. A really nice house. She struggles, just like I struggle. Just like everyone that works with me struggles, because she can’t afford to pay us on time. Yet, we stick by her. My bills are ridiculous and I don’t have a car, cable or anything fancy. I buy my clothes from thrift stores. I don’t understand your statement about small business owners and how they go home to an apartment and WE go home to a house. This is very very false. I don’t see why a business owner can’t sacrifice for their employees. After all, they are the reason a small business is operated. I find it foolish for you to make such absurd statements when you haven’t stood in my shoes or someone that is truly struggling. I’m twenty-nine, with a college degree, working in a food truck. No car, have to choose what bills to pay. I don’t have a BMW. Think about that and then think about all the other people that have kids and get paid the same amount as I do.

    • Annie

      Offense intended and offense taken. This is the SMALL businessman who works from his home, pays himself last, and after his wife works a full day at another job, she comes home-only to do the paperwork and company work. Now all business at IBM or GE or GM.

    • Annie

      You’re putting the cart before the horse. We don’t have small businesses so the business owner can bust his hump for the workers. We have them because the SBO wants, like you do, to own a business and takes risks. Some of them pay off and some don’t.

      My husband works for the small business that I speak of, so I know first hand. His boss goes home to a rental in his truck, and his workers go home and exercise their right to do what they want in their spare time.: They do some drugs, or whatever they want to do for their eve.

      The company owner pays himself last, sometimes going without a paycheck. He has no money personally (unless he’s the owner of a much bigger company); it is all tied up in the business. His workers don’t know this, have clothes, they shop at thrift stores, like you, but some of them don’t have food; but some of them do have their drugs.

      • Then he’s doing it wrong. The rule I have always heard is the owner should pay themselves a living wage as part of payroll. If they are not making enough revenue to pay the employees,and themselves, they are not making it. Most likely a cash flow, which is why the bail out of the banks was justified, so they’d lend to small business-they generally have money coming in, but it will come in the beginning of next month, and payroll is this week. Banks drying up that credit, despite the assumed promise (since the bail out was pretty no strings attached) is what has hurt small businesses more than anything. Your boss may also _choose_ his lifestyle right now to grow his business. But if it isn’t cash flow where he can pay himself back a few days later, or choice to put it into the business, his prices are too low, or he has too many other employees for demand.
        Hee- around here, several businesses have failed because the owners were the ones doing drugs off the profits. Or the one place where the owners took vacations whenever the spirit moved them. Most of these were ex-students from the local university who had great ideas, but no discipline.

  • Dale Sherman

    People making minimum wage should not have ANY KIDS, minimum wage is for people just entering the workforce without prior experience or training. I’m definitely in favor of min wage, but not trying to support families.

    • Annie

      I can see how it happens. Someone has a vocation, so he does have a wife and a family. Unfortunately, very unfortunately, he loses his job, and even though he has the skill, with out unemployment rate and people not hiring, he’s unable to provide for the family like he used to. So, he gets a minimum wage job to try to pay the bills at least. This is the fellow I feel badly for.

      Unfortunately, paying some of the bills is not the goal of everyone, They’ll do drugs and then feed the kids and their power is off more than it is on. and THEN pay some of the bills. if there is money left over. This may seem like a rare scenario; but I’ve seen it play out many more times than once. maybe it’s because I know several business owners.

    • Barb B

      Excuse me Dale but that is entirely crazy – you can’t have kids because you are getting minimum wage….Oh sorry, you lost that high paid job you have had for years and now the only ones you can find a job at pay minimum wage – do I have to give up my kids? Or your spouse died or left you or maybe because you don’t have the skills for other jobs – you can’t have children. Not sure who is going to adopt all these children. Right now most jobs around here are paying minimum wage, no matter if it is factory, clerical, retail, almost anything people can find jobs doing. You are speaking like a true republican.

    • Tracy

      Dude, do you know how many people have a minimum wage job and then have kids?? You’re the type of person this woman is talking about. I’ve been working off and on since I was 19. I still make minimum wage and have been at my current job for over a year. Nobody where I work makes more than $7.25 an hour because the owner is a cheap asshole. There are two people who’ve been there almost 3 years and one who’s been there right at four years and they ALL still make $7.25 an hour. So before you go around saying people who make minimum wage shouldnt have kids, maybe you need to look at the whole picture. One of my co-workers has a ten year old daughter. She started working where we work at because her husband hurt himself while working and he now has back problems. He was in the military when he was younger and gets SSI because of him hurting himself. So are you saying they shouldnt have had their daughter because something like that may have happened in the future? You need to grow up and learn about the real world instead of in your fantasy land of how it works.

      • Jeff

        “Dude, do you know how many people have a minimum wage job and then have kids?? You’re the type of person this woman is talking about. I’ve been working off and on since I was 19. I still make minimum wage.” Then you suck at life. Plain and simple. You can blame the owner for being a cheap bastard but at the end of the day, you didn’t do anything to better your situation. That’s on you. So, if you are still making minimum wage and you’re in your 20’s and 30’s, you have failed. Spectacularly. A man is only worth 2 bucks below the neck and you showed what you were worth above it which apparently is not much. Frankly, might be a good time to re-evaluate your life and see if your existence is truly necessary in the grand scheme of things. A long time ago, failure meant falling on your sword but I don’t think you would manage that without messing it up. Rope, bridge, boulder, you..give some other human a chance to use the resources you are currently wasting.

      • Angerpost

        Clearly Jeff is a white douchebag. Who is with me on getting rid of the overwhelming white male douchebaggery in this country?

      • Fozzie

        Jeff, though perhaps a bit brash, I have to agree. To assume we deserve a higher rate of pay than minimum wage, it is our responsibility to EARN more. The current economic situation has and is causing small businesses to close, downsize and certainly not regenerate…that is why there are so many people earning only the bare minimum…because small business can’t afford to pay more. The highest expense of any business is it’s staff – be it in wages, unemployment insurance, health care, etc. As it stands with our current administration, small business is being choked out of the ability to grow their staffs, because their revenues have fallen off dramatically. New businesses are not popping up because nobody with any sense wants to open a business that is over-regulated and makes nominal profits – yes, people, businesses are established to make money – that’s capitalism and it’s what built our country. If you are unhappy that you don’t make enough, there are two places you can look to blame: 1-government for over-regulating small business and not creating a growth-oriented environment, and 2-yourself for not spending every spare moment of your time trying to better your own situation. Unfortunately, many are unable to do so because of the lack of new business being created, so I’d point my finger first and foremost at the current administration for creating such havoc in a once thriving and growing economy. If you are among the people who are just pissed that you don’t make enough money, here’s your challenge – CHANGE IT> if you don’t know how, ask someone. Surround yourself with people who are successful and you will learn how to better yourself. Nobody is “entitled” to anything without putting forth his/her absolute best effort to earn it.
        Angerpost, you are a racist douchebag, yourself. Your post is irrelevant and should not be taken seriously by anyone, ever.

      • The economy is stagnant because Bush’s administration and banksters crashed the economy, and the world crashed with us. Hard to grow demand when no one has money. The Bush bailout, and then the insistence of republicans on making a third of the stimulus tax cuts- with a 50% return on stimulus per dollar -instead of things with returns of $1.30-$2 per stimulus spent. Add the sprinkle of republican filibuster and just plain obstruction- they killed a small business bill that would have addressed much of this- they insist on cutting programs like food stamps and unemployment which are direct stimulus while whining demand is down. Well, if my income falls by 50%, I don’t spend as much. I don’t spend, business doesn’t hire. Even conservative economists are now saying the stimulus was too small, and cutting government jobs harmed the recovery. But the republicans are insisting on more cuts. The President cannot spend any money Congress doesn’t give him. He could create the perfect budget that would give us 5% growth and zero debt, and unless CONGRESS decided to pass it, it doesn’t happen. Period. The only reason I blame BUSH is he had a lock step congress and senate for 6 years which gave us 2 unpaid for wars and 10T of unpaid tax breaks. The final 2 years they used the filibuster and vetos to kill anything not in the same vein.
        I watched my pay frozen, my benefits cut, and when I changed jobs, watched folks hired in new at wages only 30 cents below mine after 5 years. That was the Bush economy. Yet the folks paying 15% FIT on their cap. gains and the folks contracting to do jobs once reserved for the military and folks gambling with other people’s money saw 50, 100, 200% gains in income. I didn’t become less productive during those years and deserve my stagnate wages- cuts in employees made me take up slack, so my productivity increased. I just doubt that CEOs bankrupting companies were worth a 50% raise while I made my employer money and got less than 1%. I don’t think paying 20% tax rate on actual work is somehow appropriate when someone who earns money by closing a company pays half that. Dems are complicit is allowing much of this, but once a problem was evident, no republican has done more than pay lip service to fixing it, and their suggested fix is doing more of what got us here in the first place.

    • Cecilia Brown

      Oh…so sorry you lost your bread-winning spouse tragically to natural causes and now have to provide for your children with very little to no work experience. You shouldn’t have had them if you couldn’t take care of them, even though your spouse was doing just fine with their 30k a year job!
      How about the wife that was abandoned by her husband after he got her pregnant, sure she shouldn’t have let him do that to her…all her fault right?
      I’m sure you didn’t fully think through all the reasons a person would have to take on a minimum wage job and have children, but I can guess what you were thinking. I can assure you, that just like the rest of us imperfect humans, you fall short…way way short.

    • Ashleigh Rios

      That is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard.

    • Angerpost

      So only people with higher salaries should be allowed to have children? Really? America would die out really fast if that were the case. I shudder to think that someone would suggest that people should be denied their rights because some entitled douchebag doesn’t like paying $30 or less PER YEAR into the SNAP program. Fortunately, I make a fair amount higher than the minimum wage and can still only barely support myself. I graduated from college two years ago and still have not found a job in my field. My student loan payments each month make it seem as if I do have just a minimum wage job. I have contract work that I do on the side which helps me buy regular food, which is my only “perk” in life. By regular food, I mean that I can have meat from the meat case every day. I’m happy to say that I am not living on ramen soup and spaghetti-o’s every day. The American dream is designed in such a way that the success of a few comes on the backs of the many. Well, the younger generation of kids inheriting this world are angry. We got thrust out into this mess to fend for ourselves with minimum wage jobs. There are so many of us who don’t want to rely on government assistance, but have to at the end of the day to make ends meet. Who needs a child to thrust you into poverty when you have a college degree these days? In my retail establishment, 30% of the employees in the store have at least an Associate’s Degree. Ten people in my department alone have a Bachelor’s Degree.

      We feel we’ve been lied to. College was supposed to give us an opportunity. But all the available jobs out there require experience. The companies out there need to know that there are a lot of young and angry kids out here who would snatch jobs away from the pompous older generation that failed us and left us this shitty world. And we will do those jobs for much less, because it is still more than we are making now.

      • jeff

        “Fortunately, I make a fair amount higher than the minimum wage and can still only barely support myself. ”

        They don’t call it working in the trenches for nothing.

        “I graduated from college two years ago and still have not found a job in my field.”

        That happens, especially if the field is saturated. You have to expand your options which sometimes means, moving. Join the military if you have to gain that experience. It’s what I did.

        “My student loan payments each month make it seem as if I do have just a minimum wage job.”

        Ask for forbearance or defer based on income.

        “I have contract work that I do on the side which helps me buy regular food, which is my only “perk” in life. By regular food, I mean that I can have meat from the meat case every day.”

        Regular food….man you young ones have no clue how to eat on a budget. Get a fryer chicken, a sack of rice or potatoes and some lettuce/cabbage. Bake a dessert if you need to have it. Get a cookbook. Learn how to put means together and stretch it out.

        “I’m happy to say that I am not living on ramen soup and spaghetti-o’s every day.”

        You poor thing. The horror of eating ramen. Damn, I have no idea how the college types in my day managed it. Guess we all died. Spice it some. Make a spread. Ramen, vienna sausage, onions, tomatos, an egg, mix with a packet of mayo and some soy sauce. Add tuna and jalapenos if you want, serve with some chips. Voila! A meal!

        “The American dream is designed in such a way that the success of a few comes on the backs of the many. ”

        As opposed to the success of the many on the backs of the few? If you don’t put the capital in to buidl a business, then you get the wages you contract for. You’re not taking the risks, you simply do the tasks assigned to you. Is there a case to be made for excessive compensation and the quest for short term share price, absolutely. But your success is measured by your efforts and your desires in the end.

        “Well, the younger generation of kids inheriting this world are angry.”

        Why? You weren’t handed a 100k/year job for simply breathing?

        “We got thrust out into this mess to fend for ourselves with minimum wage jobs.”

        Oh the horror..quick someone get some pearls to clutch!

        “There are so many of us who don’t want to rely on government assistance, but have to at the end of the day to make ends meet.”

        As opposed to find a career path that allows for flexibility.

        “Who needs a child to thrust you into poverty when you have a college degree these days?”

        Who needs children before 30 anyway?

        “In my retail establishment,”

        I think I see your problem…..

        “30% of the employees in the store have at least an Associate’s Degree. Ten people in my department alone have a Bachelor’s Degree.”

        Most employers aren’t looking for English Majors or Underwater Basket Weaving degrees. As awesome as Fingerpainting and Japanese Tea Ceremony might seem as a degree, nobody has a real need for it.

        “We feel we’ve been lied to.”

        Oh boy! Who lied to you?

        “College was supposed to give us an opportunity.”

        Nope. College is a tool.

        “But all the available jobs out there require experience.”

        You mean the “good” jobs require experience. Let me put it to you like this: In my field, I got my certification as Server Admin. Do you think I was hired directly to manage the servers? No. Because I don’t know the company and how the network was set up. Security also plays a role which at the time I did not have. I started at the bottom in tech support. That was years ago. Now? I run the IT group for the 2nd shift which includes NetSec. You can’t start at the mid or top without the experience and understanding the corp culture. You work retail? I can’t run a retail store without experience in how the product is laid out or promoted, or without knowing Inventory Management. You just don’t jump into it.

        “The companies out there need to know that there are a lot of young and angry kids out here who would snatch jobs away from the pompous older generation that failed us”

        I work a logistics site and I can tell you…..no…..the younger generation that wanders through our site and gets fired on a regular basis have no understanding of work ethic, time management, or even respect for the senior leads, coordinators, supervisors, and managers.

        “and left us this shitty world. And we will do those jobs for much less, because it is still more than we are making now.”

        Yes you will. Unless you decided to try something different to enhance your value.

  • Barbbelen

    Minimum wage must remain minimum or everything else goes up…fact! Get two jobs if one doesn’t make it. I make more than minimum wage and I paid and continue to pay BIG for it. I have aso paid my dues and am enjoying the benefits of many years of hard work. I worked several jobs as a single parent while going to school full time. Suck it up and pay your dues. Minimum wage jobs must exist in a free society. Capitalism is the most free we can be. There is no reason why you must be finished each week after 40 hours…that’s just reasonable. Ask any self made business person how many hours a week they work and I guarantee it is at least double that!

    • Jeff

      “that’s just reasonable. Ask any self made business person how many hours a week they work and I guarantee it is at least double that!”- but work is hard! and I won’t have time to watch American Idol or play on my Xbox. No…no…better you pay me more and you do with less because it’s only fair.

      /(sarcasm off)

    • Alan

      My scenario: 10 years working for same company. Bachelors degree in Comp Sci (server maintenance / networking). Company offshored IT department to India laying off 1200 people nationwide. My annual cost to stay current for certifications averages $1500. 80% of the companies are only offering $2000/mo salary with no certification / training / education assistance to maintain their networks. This includes mandatory 24/7 on-call on top of 200+ hrs/mo. So the pre-tax income would be (2000*12)-1500= $22500. Divide that by the hours worked gives 22500/(200*12)= $9.375/hr. So yeah, having a degree doesn’t mean making much over minimum wage anymore. I am working the minimum wage job as it pays about the same with less stress.

  • Phil M

    A laughable misrepresentation of the facts. I like how he stresses “Before taxes” as if a single mom on minimum wage actually pays an income tax. The author repeatedly shares a twisted view of reality and clearly shows his ignorance. Abortion? Age discrimination? You forgot to add how republicans want gays, lesbians and transgendered people to be paid less too.

    • Angerpost

      Just a small correction on your post, Phil. The term “transgendered” is offensive to transgender people. The ‘ed’ at the end implies the action, but does not represent their identity. If you use ‘ed’ at the end of that word, you might as well call the others gayed’s and lesbianed’s.

    • Rachel

      Maybe that single mom earning minimum wage doesn’t pay income taxes, but she certainly does pay into Social Security and Medicare, not to mention Unemployment and state Disability taxes. Not to mention state sales taxes on things she buys.

    • kevin

      The single mom will get all taxes refunded at the end of the year, but there would still be something withheld out of every paycheck.

      • Jeff

        “The single mom will get all taxes refunded at the end of the year, but there would still be something withheld out of every paycheck.” – All taxes and then some. Add EIC, child credit or credits depending how many kids they downloaded, along with the “won’t someone pity me and give me money from some rich bastard” tax credit, along with a myriad of others. Pretty much their contribution to the operations of the government is negative as they get back more than they actually put in. Nice to see my taxes go to prop up a person or a corporation. Get the Feds out of the hand out business….

      • Your low wage worker pays taxes, a much higher percent of income than say, Mitt Romney(who I pick on simply because I know his theoretical tax rate). Just Payroll taxes for SS- If you make 50K a year, you pay 6%+ on 100% of your income. If you make 100K, the same. If you make 200K or so suddenly you’re paying 3%. At 400K, you’re down to less than 2%. Get to Romney’s level, you’re essentially paying nothing noticeable. Sales taxes- Your person making 50K is probably paying out half their money in things which are subject to sales tax. Your person making 500K is likely investing much of it.
        EIC started as a way toward working versus living off welfare, rather than simply raising minimum wage. Business hollered when they were looking at why some folks who went to work went back on welfare-because welfare paid better. Poverty wages plus expenses (extra laundry, packing your lunch, transportation, child care) meant poverty level welfare was the intelligent choice. Rather than raise the minimum wage, the government started subsidizing low paid work. Look back, and minimum wage tracked along with inflation more or less until EIC came in, and politically, it was better to expand EIC than force WalMart to pay a higher wage.
        Min. wage tracked back to 1968 would require an inflation adjusted $10.11/hour today. It would be almost precisely the same taking it back to 1960 as baseline. Using the 1960 baseline, if Minimum wage had tracked with worker productivity, it would be $22/hour. Looking back 30 years, you had kids bagging groceries, but adults were the cashiers in most stores. Those weren’t minimum wage jobs. Our job growth has been in food service and personal care for years. Not a lot of choice if you’re in a town with the major employer being WalMart as to what you work for. Companies learned the trick of the 401K versus defined benefit, and scheduling everyone 29.5 hours to stay under their threshold for health insurance or vacation or sick leave. You schedule your lowest paid workers on holidays, and call them in first for overtime if someone calls in. I got raises in my last job, and found I didn’t benefit that much because after 5 years, I got 35 hours to make sure I didn’t go to OT, and the newbie got the OT hours and 40 on the schedule.

        So to make sure workers don’t starve, and have a few dollars of income to buy a CD, or eat lunch out, the government ends up expanding the EIC, school lunches, Medicaid, day care funding. 30 years ago, you could support 2 people on minimum wage, or a dollar over. Now it takes 2 incomes. Or government subsidizing wages. I hear the yelling of the folks all for the free market and against socialism, yet refuse to look at the socialism their very free market policies force.

        As Elizabeth Warren asked, if productivity gains would make today’s minimum wage $22/hour, where did that $14 go? Not to 90% of us. Yet that very productivity gain was by those same 90%. I don’t think the CEO of a company now works 200% harder than the CEO in 1970. With computer trading, is a hedge fund manager working harder now than 30 years ago? Yet the guy stocking groceries is working harder-more selection to stock-but his pay has fallen due to inflation. And the anti-minimum wage folks have had the government take up the slack.

        30 years ago, one could find a job with set hours and benefits -a lot of those jobs are now conveniences stores, WalMart, fast food, all of whom schedule by the week, and managers (at least around here) tend to ignore availability. So I have a crap job, and need another. I get a second crap job. First job keeps scheduling me in conflict with the second one. Or cuts my hours because I tell them I can’t come in when they call me on my day off. So you end up with 2 part time crap jobs, and no way to get a third. Oh, it generally isn’t permanent, but it keeps cycling around. And your tax dollars go to subsidize their pay. If 40-60% of WalMart workers get public assistance and you never shop at WalMart, congratulations, you’re _still_ contributing to their profits via your tax dollars.

        Raise the minimum wage to $10 or more an hour. Mandate that for every 400 work hours in a business, you must have 5 full time employees at 30 hours minimum with benefits. Exempt businesses with less than 20 employees. Another thought would be instead of minimum wage, make it minimum compensation of $18/hour and let it include health insurance, 401K/retirement, leave time, and perks like free meals specific to the workplace, life insurance/short term disability, workers comp…. A food service place granting $10/hour worth of benefits pays a $8 wage. Makes your full timer probably cheaper than your part timer. But get government out of the business of subsidizing poverty level wages somehow. It is unacceptable to me that my dollars are going to the Waltons without me setting foot in their stores. I find it unacceptable that anyone working can’t get ahead without a second job-the retort-“get a better job” is fine if you can take off work to job hunt, if there actually _is_ a better job to be had, if you have child care or transportation to that better job. If my minimum wage job is walking distance and fits with my spouse’s schedule so child care isn’t needed, how much better a job do I need if I must buy a car and use child care? My $300/week job looks pretty good if getting one at $400/week means $100 in child care and $20 in gas.

  • Harry Dickenbutz

    As minimum wage increases other wages do not. Before long all skilled labor will be making minimum wage, a happy meal will cost $25 and you’ll still be poor. I personally, gag at the notion that some no talent, no skill, non-caring slacker would earn the same wage as me. That’s what unions do and they smother productivity.

    • Annie

      Harry, there your interpretation of many facts rights true, though I’d caution that ALL minimum wage workers are “no talent, no skill, non-caring slacker ” Some are, but some aren’t. They’re down on their luck.’

      • I have to work a minimum wage job right now because I truly have no choice. Do not have a car, can’t afford one, but need one to utilize the college I’m still paying for. I have talent, I take great care in my work and I am far from a slacker.

  • Susan

    Yes, let’s get rid of those lousy unions and return to 7-day work weeks, no paid vacation, no safety regulations for dangerous professions, and no worker’s comp for worker injuries.

    All workers in this country are reaping the benefits of unions–both private and public sector workers. Harry, if unions are so bad, perhaps you should give up every benefit and right that you enjoy that unions are responsible for.

    • Susan, You’ve got to be kidding. Unions came to maturity a result of the industrial revolution, when managers didn’t know how to be managers-or weren’t managers of human being. They considered workers to be property, indentured servants to be taken advantage of.

      That won’t happen again unless the worker becomes lax. For 26 years, I worked full-time, without the protection of a union and did just vine. 3 weeks of vacation a year was min from the state and I negotiated my salary and if there were working conditions that were unacceptable we complained to management and things were ‘fixed.’

      Unions have outlived their usefulness. I don’t need to pay exorbitant sums of money/year to have the privilege of negotiating my contract. I don’t need to be unionized to be the professional I am. And if the labor is unskilled or the person makes lee than me, if he can do the job, he’ll be hired. If I can’t do the job , I’d be expected to be laid off. Management doesn’t need a union for that. What do they or workers need unions for? There is risk management for lots of managers.

      • Susan


        Your comments make no sense to me. Nowhere did I say that trillions would go to workers. However, the middle class is disappearing as the top 1% or the top .1% take all of the profits from increased worker productivity. If you haven’t heard of the growing income equality by now, I can’t help you.

        Unions aren’t perfect, but as a person who worked with a U.S. Congressman form a union in 2002 due to worker injuries, I guarantee that conditions for workers in more dangerous jobs are worse for non-union than union workers. A great example is Walmart warehouse workers who work for such low wages ($8/hr for less than 30 hours/week) that they still fall below the poverty level. They also endure unsafe working conditions (no air, no clean water), are victims of wage theft, discrimination and illegal retaliation. Many are homeless, poor and can’t feed their families. This is the condition without union representation. The Walton family now owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of America.

        So many comments here show the selfishness of many people in this country.

      • Annie

        “Nowhere did I say that trillions would go to workers. ” Susan, I’m sorry; that was in another post. I don’t remember exactly which one, but somehow that crept in but I’ll find it.

        What’s this about Walmart warehouse workers enduring no air, no clean water? Where? Why aren’t they reporting it? if it in fact is true, a grown adult-NO NOONE-needs a union to call the bossman report it and make sure it is fixed. That is what OSHA is for and the DOL.’ If it is intimidation, there are ombudsmen in the government DOL.

        As far as wage theft, etc, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a federal agency we’re already funding that has that as it’s pervue., I think the DOL and NLRB. I’m DEFINITELY, nor are others who are anti-union, for HUMAN ABUSE, but we’re not for duplication of services, either. Not being an expert in labor practices, I don’t feel comfortable commenting further.

        My point, Susan, is that people THIS DAY AND AGE should not need to belong to unions to get paid os per contract or agreement for doing the job. Unions needed to be present in the early industrial revolution as bosses did run sweat shops and people went without ventilation, and in cold working conditions-or in the summer, not cool. But, now, that is infrequent enough that instead of organizing the workers to contact their union reps, they ought to have a grievance policy and we ought to be ARRESTING and FINING the perpetrators.

        But, if people feel the NEED to join unions because they;ve been misrepresented or taken advantage of by management, they should have that right; but kNOW that to this right, there is a cost. I imagine a fair number of union workers are not aware that a fair number of us get by without unions.

        When I did belong to a union-required to have the job-so I don’t know if that means closed shop or open shop (it was a good 40 years ago), they did NOTHING more than make sure my contract was renegotiate. They didn’t assure a raise or strike benefits or anything; strickly a construct negation. My fear is that this is more the nom than the powerful SEIU or Teamsters.

      • Susan

        “Nowhere did I say that trillions would go to workers. ” Susan, I’m sorry; that was in another post.”
        No, Annie, I did not ever say that ALL OF THE MONEY should go to workers. You made your own judgment. Go back and find my post and READ IT.
        “What’s this about Walmart warehouse workers enduring no air, no clean water? Where? Why aren’t they reporting it? if it in fact is true, a grown adult-NO NOONE-needs a union to call the bossman report it and make sure it is fixed. That is what OSHA is for and the DOL.’ If it is intimidation, there are ombudsmen in the government DOL.” Wow, you really are out of it. This was in the national news. The workers tried to complain and suffered repercussions and received no help until employees were given help from labor union organizers. Period. “Ought to, ought to” – You are looking at this from your own narrow vantage point. I’ve seen this from both inside a union and from being asked to help workers in need. I only hope that you are never in the situation where you need assistance. Thanks to people like you, help won’t be there for you or anyone else.

      • There are many more unions that are run correctly and aren’t there just as a contract negotiation liaison. There are places that do not need unions, you are right. And that’s because they follow labor laws and pay/treat their employees fairly. Places like wal-mart are terrified of anyone that even mentions the word union in their stores. If you were to walk into a wal-mart with a union shirt on, you are escorted out. You know why? Because of how they treat their employees. They will keep people just under the amount of hours required so as to not worry about providing insurance. They aren’t given proper breaks, and I couldn’t even imagine how it is in their warehouses. I use to work for them a long time ago and that was THE worst company I ever set foot in. I no longer provide them with my business. And believe me, that isn’t the company (I’m sure) that might need to have a union implemented.

      • If you’re under the impression that people in this country who work low paying jobs don’t have to worry about discrimination, low wages, unsafe working conditions or being taken advantage of, I would really like to know when the last time you even spoke to a person who works a minimum wage job was. Have we ended Capitalism in American and entered a period of enlightenment that I’m not aware of? If so, I will be happy to tell the MANY people I know that have to go work some crappy job for a corporation that doesn’t even know they exist for too little money to survive on that tomorrow work will be much better. They may even be treated like human beings. This roses and sunshine picture you’re painting smells like B.S.

      • Robert Hatch

        This post just shows me how much you live in a fantasy world, Anne. I’m sorry but the fact that you are leaving out is once a report is made the reporter runs the risk of losing their job. The laws that protect workers from “whistle blowing” do not protect them in the way they should. I’ve seen companies like Wal-Mart make up charges against employees they reported violations in break polices, ect.

        Something needs to be done for the low paid workers in this country that are sadly becoming the norm. Anyone out looking for work currently can attest how bad the job market is right now and how hard it is to not only find a job but to keep it. In that atmosphere one is not inclined to put their family at risk.

      • Are you kidding me?? Workers ARE considered property, indentured servants to be taken advantage of. So is everybody who isn’t upper middle class or above. If you haven’t noticed this you must have been living somewhere else the past 10 years.

      • Aaron

        Unions haven’t outlived their usefulness at all. For example, if an employer steals money out of my paycheck (whether literally or by misrepresenting what hours I worked), what can I do? Absolutely nothing. Or if something falls on my due to unsafe working conditions? Nothing, because I had to sign a liability release form to get hired. Or maybe they schedule me for 39 hours a week, just enough so that I don’t get benefits. Well, I’m shit outta luck.

        Unions simplify the employment experience so that ordinary people can be treated fairly and justly. Most ordinary people are not fluent in “legalese”, which is why we leave it to the professionals.

    • Susan, You’ve got to be kidding! Unions came to maturity a result of the industrial revolution, when managers didn’t know how to be managers-or weren’t managers of human being. They considered workers to be property, indentured servants to be taken advantage of.

      That won’t happen again unless the worker becomes lax. For 26 years, I worked full-time, without the protection of a union and did just vine. 3 weeks of vacation a year was min from the state and I negotiated my salary and if there were working conditions that were unacceptable we complained to management and things were ‘fixed.’

      Unions have outlived their usefulness. I don’t need to pay exorbitant sums of money/year to have the privilege of negotiating my contract. I don’t need to be unionized to be the professional I am. And if the labor is unskilled or the person makes lee than me, if he can do the job, he’ll be hired. If I can’t do the job , I’d be expected to be laid off. Management doesn’t need a union for that. What do they or workers need unions for? There is risk management for lots of managers.

      • Annie

        Susan, Susan, Susan, please look at yourself. I apologized twice for incorrectly attributing a quote that SOMEBODY else made. Yet you insist that I’m judging by making that error. Who’s judging?

        Rather than get into a pissing match, why argue about who saw what on the national news and when. I spoke of intimidation, as did you, which covers the bases. Does not the word ‘intimidation’ cover. “The workers tried to complain and suffered repercussions ?”

        “Thanks to people like you, help won’t be there for you or anyone else.” Cruel and unjust and insensitive. Is there a need to fly off the handle? That’s what’s happened in this country and why Dr.Carson was so right. If you don’t use the word EXACTLY that someone wants to hear, the other person flies off the handle and there goes a DISCUSSION.

        What I was saying, was, that it seems to me that we have adequate safety valves in our labor system. If you think I am wrong, (you catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,), it then becomes your ‘job’ to explain nicely why you think I’m wrong.

        WOULD YOU LISTEN, or possibly EVEN BE OPEN to CHANGING YOUR MIND to someone who screamed at you? To someone who’d apologized twice to you? Who’s being judgmental?

      • Our President isn’t business-friendly? You mean he isn’t BIG BUSINESS friendly. He is very friendly to small businesses. CEO’s and corporate exec’s of huge companies could afford to knock their pay down a little bit in order to pay their employees better. Take a look at the CEO’s of Costco and Hobby Lobby. They pay their employees $11-$14 an hour starting out. Their business does JUST fine.

        As far as you saying you don’t want to pay exorbitant sums of money, you couldn’t be more wrong. My husbands company was unionized. They paid about $10 a month in union dues. But you know what? The insurance was AMAZING and we paid $35 a month for a family of 3, full coverage. Having the union where my husband worked did not make their employees more lax. If an employee is lazy, it doesn’t matter where they work.. They are going to be lazy. They were paid a really good wage and they had a 3 strikes and your out policy as far as attendance unless you had a doctors note. Unions don’t create professionals… They are there to make sure the employees are treated and paid fairly. The insurance is usually the best you can get, and they DO in fact take notice and reprimand/fire workers who don’t do their job right. You’ve never worked for a union, so therefore, you know nothing about what a union really is. I suggest you stop spouting off useless opinion on the subject unless you have something substantial to add.

        Also, all workplaces have to abide by laws that were set forth by unions. Otherwise, you could be facing conditions that people in other countries have to face in the workplace, you know, where these big companies take their business to.

        It is a super greedy, mine mine mine nation that we
        live in. Definitely NOT what it once was. Just like Mel up there
        explained, that is how it is. Our President is only limited to what
        those bill-blocking Republicans are willing to do. That is why the
        entire house needs to be cleaned out in 2014. The only reason people see Bush as a business-friendly President was because he cut the crap out of taxes for the rich. THAT in turn destroyed the middle class and only made the rich people more rich. This article is SPOT ON.

      • I think you’re giving companies too much credit when you assume that companies wouldn’t still have unsafe work environments and continue to pay their employees as little as possible. The main goal of any business is profit maximization and you dont get that by following rules that make your employees safe. Unions are the main reason you were able to work full time for 26 years and be just fine. Don’t get me wrong certain unions have grown too large and their demands have pushed several companies to bankrupcy. When anything gets too big they tend to cause more harm than good, business’, unions, or otherwise.

      • imapayne

        So paying 60.00 a month for Union dues is exorbitant sum?? The sum also covers Health, Life,& Dental Insurance.

      • LLB

        Clearly you just aren’t seeing that we are sliding right back to those times.

      • Wayne

        Wow Annie, how lucky for you to have all those “perks” with no union. You obviously don’t know how the rest of the country works. As Susan said, without unions, there would be no 5 day workweeks, no paid vacations, no sick time, etc. Those non-union workers only have those things because the unions demanded them. And just wait until you ARE laid off because you are non-union and they decide to hire someone prettier than you, or smarter than you, or younger than you. Hope you enjoy flipping burgers for minimum wage.

      • saltcay

        Annie, if your typing skills and spelling skills are any indication of your work skill, you damn well better be backed by a Union. You worked “without the protection of a union and did just vine”? A “person makes lee than me”? Obviously, your employer is much more generous than most. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in most vocations, especially construction, and manufacturing jobs.

      • Robert Hatch

        Why do you think you had all of those benefits from your employment? Could it be the unions insured those laws were put into place. As for “it not happening again” that’s just kidding yourself. Take on a minimum wage job that you HAVE to keep and you’ll see how quickly big business will screw you over. Lay offs for no other reason that the business can have been happening all over. I worked for a company recently that handed out lay off notices while simultaneously bragging about a 25% increase in earnings and they were doing a ton of unnecessary “improvements” to the building.

      • kirfy

        History doesn’t agree with you. You have it backwards. It was unions that allowed people to fight collectively for a living wage, gave access to health insurance, a 40 hour workweek. It allowed us to to have a middle class with stability. These things ensured that you had recourse if you were not so lucky as to work in your establishment. You are simplifying based on your personal experience. Your experience in your workplace may not be the average workplace. You cannot speak for anyone who works at any other place, or even for others you work with. Others have the right to feel that unions are necessary. Notice that the 3 weeks vacation time was from the state; meaning the state required it. If the business hadn’t been required by state law to provide vacation, it probably wouldn’t have provided it.
        You really should be thanking the unions for making those benefits you have enjoyed somewhat the standard, and you should fight like hell to prevent the Republican corporate politicians from changing them. Your anger is misdirected. Direct it at those politicians who are trying to take away our rights.

    • Harry Dickenbutz

      Yeah, Suzan. And we wouldn’t have 1980’s hair bands without the Beatles and we wouldn’t have traffic lights if it weren’t for black people. This rhetoric is tired and pointless. i guess we wouldn’t have fire and the wheel if it weren’t for cave men. I wouldn’t have a kickass alarm system in my house if it weren’t for that burglar. So should everyone be burgled? I enter many union shops to fix machines that were monkey wrenched by union workers because they just didn’t feel like working that day. I’ve witnessed many times just how unproductive unions make businesses. I’ve seen so many shops shut down and move overseas because the unions made them non-profitable. Businesses exit to make money. If they don’t make money, they fail. I’m not saying nothing good ever came from a union. But just like VHS tapes, they’ve outlived their usefullness.

      • Susan

        Wow, highly productive and intellectual argument. Unions are to blame for all evils and for all jobs moving overseas.

        What you don’t see, perhaps, is that prior to the 80s, increases in productivity and wages moved in tandem: as workers produced more/hour, they saw a comparable increase in their paychecks. From 1980 to 2008, worker productivity increased by 75%, while workers’ average wages, adjusted for inflation, increased by only 22%. That’s what the decline in labor unions has led to. Guess who has reaped the benefit of the increased productivity? Stock owners, bankers, brokers, hedge-fund mangers, corporate executives, corporations, and mid-ranking managers pocketed—as either income, benefits, or perks—trillions that would have collectively gone to workers in the form of higher wages and benefits.

      • Annie

        Your point being?

        Also, “trillions that would have collectively gone to workers in the form of higher wages and benefits.” TRILLIONS?

      • Annie

        ” Unions are to blame for all evils and for all jobs moving overseas.” Well, I wouldn’t go as far as to say A > B,. But higher wages and greater benefits and pensions required bye union bosses and members, cause companies to think twice about settling in NY, CA or IL and more companies think about a move to TX..

        That said, I’l like to state something that appears to be pretty obvious; and I know liberals won’t like to hear the it, but we don’t exactly have the most business-friendly President of a lll time. So, companies , yes, re-think, is it cheaper to move operations to New Dehli, or to stay here and face higher taxes,


      • Monica Leskovsky

        That’s exactly what they should do, though, and would if they weren’t greedy to the point of actual evil. Why should they not pay higher taxes? They live here, they enjoy the things the US has to offer, but they don’t want to pay their fair share to keep this place that they live healthy and prosperous- they only care about their own personal prosperity inside their gated communities. Your argument seems to be that any measures taken to increase profits are ok, because…? Are you actually one of these people that benefits from this cutthroat type of capitalism, or one of the ones who deludes themselves into thinking they’re not being screwed by those people?

      • Annie Annie Annie, To sit there and say that the president has anything to do with companies moving over seas is dishonest. It’s simple economics, labor for manufacturing is cheaper elsewhere than in the united states, companies want to maximize profit, they can do one of two things, decrease cost or increase price. Since most cannot increase the price without most certainly losing revenue due to the decrease in quantity demanded they choose the latter. People in this country are better served by facing reality. Those jobs aren’t coming back any time soon no matter who the president is so get used to it and go learn a useful skill in a developed economy like computer engineering or network security.

      • LLB

        But before you take out that loan to go back to school, be advised that student loan interest rates just went back up, AND in many, many of these professions, higher paid people are being fired and replaced with younger, lesser qualified people, so the employer can pay low wages and no benefits. Ask anyone teaching at the college level. Ask any registered sleep technician for example.

      • Robert Hatch

        You mean “Big Business” friendly, which if big businesses wants to continue to act confrontational towards it’s workers then friendly is not something they should expect.

      • Susan


        Your comments make no sense to me. Nowhere did I say that trillions would go to workers. However, the middle class is disappearing as the top 1% or the top .1% take all of the profits from increased worker productivity. If you haven’t heard of the growing income equality by now, I can’t help you.

        Unions aren’t perfect, but as a person who worked with a US Congressman form a union in 2002 due to worker injuries, I guarantee that conditions for workers in more dangerous jobs are worse for non-union than union workers. A great example is Walmart warehouse workers who work for such low wages ($8/hr for less than 30 hours/week) that they still fall below the poverty level. They also endure unsafe working conditions (no air, no clean water), are victims of wage theft, discrimination and illegal retaliation. Many are homeless, poor and can’t feed their families. This is the condition without union representation. The Walton family now owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of America.

        So many comments here show the selfishness of many people in this country.

      • LLB


      • I do agree that greedy bastards who own and run business – will go where ever labor is cheapest….Including the “slave labor” of China and any other Government willing to enslave its own citizens….I don’t know how BIG BUSINESS in or from America expects markets to maintain….if BIG BUSINESS is not willing to pay a living wage to its employees…..At least Henry Ford knew that making the auto cheaply and paying his labor force well enough to BUY the cars they PRODUCED….was part of a sound economy and best for his own business.

      • Unions should no more rise to a level of abuse of power than management in business has / does. We all have to limit our aspirations and cooperate. What I find amazing about American Capitalism is that it creates competition WITHIN EACH COMPANY….THAT BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND LABOR…..If we could work and live in balance….with CEO’s NOT stealing the lion’s share of profits – thus NECESSITATING UNIONS…Each business would only be competing with OTHER businesses – as capitalism in it’s ideal is supposed to promote.

    • wow, ignorant fool. if you paid living wage you might actually garner loyalty, but instead you produce resentment and dissent. i feel sorry for your small greedy existence. hope your business falls in the shiter and leaves room for ethical businesses to thrive, eat shit and die, you make america worse by your existing, fuck off now .

      • kirfy

        Your post is easy to dismiss because of your vitriolic profanity. If you had a real argument you wouldn’t need to resort to name calling and threats. Clearly you have an anger management problem and should get some therapy to deal with that. How you can be so angry about people who work in terrible conditions, for long hours wanting to be paid a living wage does not make sense.


      • joe

        Well really, there are no laws against capitalism in America really that prevent employers from paying small amounts for small jobs…is the burger flipper at McDonalds supposed to be the victim here of capitalist abuse? Because most burger flippers are teenagers or young adults and enjoy at least having a job

      • Jamroast

        Most were teenagers years ago but now many of these jobs are filled by adults (median age of 28 according to Reuters)with children and families due to the fact that they cannot find another. I doubt they enjoy these jobs.

      • republicans are gross

        your dead wrong. Most burger flippers are woman and aged between 25-40. do some research before you go spouting more bullshit.

  • Priscilla Thomas

    I am a 76 year old woman and have come to the following conclusions after observing U’all’s
    disregard of the American people just to ruin Obama… All you political corporate lackies are raciest and despise Obama because he is BLACK… In my opinion you ALL ARE COWARDS and Sissy Stupid White Men!!!… I am full of total disrespect for the Republican Politicians and believe me I Am Not The Only One!
    Priscilla Thomas, Ukiah, CA

    • Jeff

      Hooked on Phonics program not working today?

    • Annie

      My disrespect for President Obama has NOTHING to do with the fact that he’s black. Because I’m conservative in my politics, I know tons of other Republicans and NONE of them dislike him because he’s black.

      It is his policies that we don’t like and the way he does not honor our Constitution. I know that there are bigots out there who don’t like Mr.Obama because he’s black, but I doubt that you’ll find a one of us who feels that way.

      That said, I don’t know of liberals who disregard our president because he’s black. M’aam, liberals and conservatives disagree on a lot, but if they’re coming to message boards and trying to solvI, for one, am offended that you’d even think that.

      • Ok, if that’s true you can be only one of two things: 1.) A hypocrite, or .2) very gullable.

      • I’ve read two responses saying that “I’m not racist,I hate his policies” but neither of these responses go on to say what policies. That leads me to believe that you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. I really don’t care if you’re offended by our opinion of “conservatives” because you offend me every day. You are only repeating what your foxbots tell you to.

      • Precisely, Sandra….

      • “Annie”…..DO YOU REALLY THINK ANY AMERICAN WITH AN OUNCE OF POLITICAL ACUMEN IS GOING TO ADMIT THESE DAYS THAT THEY DON’T LIKE OBAMA BECAUSE HE IS BLACK?……Even if their dislike of our President or his policies is due to the fact that he’s a member of “the other Party”…..I have found that very few of you have any better salient reason to oppose him, but for that fact.

      • imapayne

        Please explain the policies you don’t like??

      • kirfy

        Oh right. You know “tons” of Republicans? You may know who is in your inner circle. And even those may not want to admit to you that they’re racist! In fact, there has been a significant rise in hate group activity and racist talk on the internet in accordance with Obama’s Presidency. Racists can talk about him anonymously online. They mostly don’t walk down the street in white hoods anymore (also to be understood and yet anonymous). I also second the post that says you are parroting conservative talking points, because you only say Obama “doesn’t honor the Constitution”. Are you a constitutional scholar? Have an advanced degree in American History, political science or other related field? You also don’t make an argument, pointing out examples of his violation of constitutional articles or amendments. Is it the right to bear arms? What other articles or amendments has he violated in your opinion? Look up transcript of the constitution and the Amendments and I think you will be surprised to find that there is little to nothing that supports the view that he has done unconstitutional things. I would say that G.W. Bush did more to defy constitutionality than any other president. At least, if you make a criticism like this, you should be holding all Presidents to that standard. Lastly, I’d like to point out that President Obama has a degree from Harvard Law and *taught constitutional law. He actually is a constitutional law expert! Same cannot be said for legacy student George W. Bush who was a solid “C” student, got his masters in business and worked in the oil business afterward. I think you should consider the bona fides of the sources you are choosing to quote from and take a long hard look at what the constitution and amendments actually say before you make your mind up.

    • Annie

      This is response to Priscilla Thomas,

      Priscilla, I’m conservative and I’m can tell you that after a lot of soul searching, that the reason I don’t care for President Obama is NOT because he’s black. I know many other Republicans and their reason for disliking him also has nothing to do with his skin color. We dislike his policies. I’d venture a guess that the liberals who don’t like him, don’t like his policies, either.

      I’m sure, that there are people who don’t like our President because his skin color, but they are in the minority. M’aam, even though you’re 78, that is immaturity or bigotry speaking. People wouldn’t be coming to these message boards, day in and day out, trying to discuss the nations problems and solve them, if they were so bigoted and so hateful not to respect our President because of his skin color. I think that liberals would also be deeply offended at for comment.

      Those of us who dislike him, by and large do so because we don’t like his POLICIES AND POLITICS. I, for one am offended, and I would think you owe a hundred people an apology with that kind of remark.

      • calijim

        You mean policies that the Republicans supported until Obama agreed with them or proposed them? Policies like:

        Health Care Mandates – supported by Newt Gingrich and others.

        The Nuclear START Treaty – Negotiated by Ronald Reagan and signed by George H. W. Bush, but then opposed after it expired and Obama wanted to re-instate it.

        Immigration reform and the DREAM Act – supported by John McCain and George W. Bush.

        TARP – supported and signed by Bush, then opposed and criticized when Obama took office.

        Gun Control – supported by Reagan, Bush and other prominent Republicans and then hysterically called a plot to disarm Americans and then either imprison them or kill them, after Obama supported it.

        Deficit Spending – Routinely employed by Republicans with no concern – Cheney even famously said “Deficits don’t matter”…then used as an excuse to shut down the country and slash essential social programs when Obama took office and had to deal with the deficits CREATED BY THE BUSH POLICIES.

        There are lots of other examples exactly like these. Policies, ideas and actions actively supported, pushed for and taken by Republicans – that are now horrible, simply because Obama agrees with, supports or enacts them.

        It’s easy to claim that it’s not racism – just a disagreement over “policy” – but the reality is that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck.
        When policies people supported when they were proposed, supported or enacted by a WHITE president – but vehemently opposed when it’s a BLACK president – it’s clear what’s really going on.

      • muckahead

        You are 100% corrrect, calijim. Beautifully put by the way.

      • Tell us, “Annie” … what is your analysis of Obama’s policies and what objective proof do you have (we call this concept “scientific”) that our President’s policies are making America worse off than “W”‘s did. We’ll all be waiting, I’m sure. OR….is it that you are parroting what you’ve heard other conservatives say- – and like most of THEM actually lack the understanding to know what it is you’re even talking about.

    • K_Ann

      Priscilla, you are uninformed – I realize it’s easy to blame people as being racist rather than have a serious discussion about economics. The idiot writing this article uses misleading and hate based opinions rather than facts yet everyone gobbles it up as fact. I have worked many years in the work force and I can tell you – that there is no reason to work a full time job that pays minimum wage. If you have a high school education and a work ethic – you can move up.

  • CEB

    I have read all the comments on here and have experienced an array of emotions. In the end, the situation is too complex and too individual to improve with just one approach. In the end I don’t think increasing minimum wage is the answer. It has been said several times that minimum wage jobs are not to raise a family on. Anyone who tries to, has surely found this out. The thing is, we all start at minimum wage. I did, it was $3.50 an hour but here’s the funny thing. I only made minimum wage for 6 months. I worked hard and proved my worth and was given several raises and eventually a promotion. After 2 years with the company I was making $7.00 an hour with no college degree. I was single and did not have any kids and so I was able to get by. I continued to work hard and eventually earned my BS degree after 10 years of part time schooling. I was in my 30’s when I decided I no longer wanted to do what I did. I went back to school and earned another degree in a completely different field-healthcare. Now I am earning my Master’s degree. Along the way, I got married, we had a kid, and we sacrificed and struggled a lot. We still work hard, my husband works two jobs two supplement the income while I go to graduate school. My life has not been easy by any means. I was a welfare child and on my own at 18. Everything I have, I have worked extremely hard for. So while I choose not to judge an entire group by the actions of some, I will say that more often than not, hard work, dedication, and perseverance do pay off. Even if you are working for minimum wage at some time. So while some people may struggle through no fault of their own, it has been my experience that MANY MANY people just aren’t willing to put forth the effort to improve their lot in life. Every person’s situation is unique and individual, but you have to take control of your destiny and do something to change your life If you are not happy with the one you have. Oh and yes, I work with the public and my position allows me the honor to care for people during their most dire need. I can tell you first hand, that while not all people have children they can’t afford to raise, there is a large majority of people living off the system that had children knowing full well they would not be able to afford them. Now that truly pisses me off. I have to support ignorant lazy people that breed more ignorant lazy people. This statement is not meant to classify all people into one category, as we all have our own story; however, it is no secret, many people have children with no thought of how they will raise them as they will simply rely on the taxpayer to do it for them. So, to come full circle, raising the minimum wage by itself is not going to do the trick. People need to be forced or incentivized to work harder and and take control of their own destinies.

    • Annie

      Susan, Susan, Susan, please look at yourself. I apologized twice for incorrectly attributing a quote that SOMEBODY else made. Yet you insist that I’m judging by making that error. Who’s judging?

      Rather than get into a pissing match, why argue about who saw what on the national news and when. I spoke of intimidation, as did you, which covers the bases. Does not the word ‘intimidation’ cover. “The workers tried to complain and suffered repercussions ?”

      “Thanks to people like you, help won’t be there for you or anyone else.” Cruel and unjust and insensitive. Is there a need to fly off the handle? That’s what’s happened in this country and why Dr.Carson was so right. If you don’t use the word EXACTLY that someone wants to hear, the other person flies off the handle and there goes a DISCUSSION.

      What I was saying, was, that it seems to me that we have adequate safety valves in our labor system. If you think I am wrong, (you catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,), it then becomes your ‘job’ to explain nicely why you think I’m wrong.

      WOULD YOU LISTEN, or possibly EVEN BE OPEN to CHANGING YOUR MIND to someone who screamed at you? To someone who’d apologized twice to you? Who’s being judgmental?

    • To CEB:

      YES, I agree that, in this environment, a person has to undertake to work very, very, very, very hard to improve their lot in life and that not much will happen if they do not. However, I also understand that hard work does not always pay off. It would be so, so nice if it did, but it doesn’t always happen the way we wish or plan, for some people.

      That said, half the jobs in the country now are for minimum wage work or work that doesn’t pay much more than that. HALF THE JOBS IN THE COUNTRY. So, what does that mean?

      Yes, you have to fight and fight and scrap and scrap to move yourself out of that lower half. But this still means that somebody else has to live stuck in misery and low wages. Half the country. You know, that half we all hate…the 47% who are “lazy”, “government moochers”, the ones we should just cut off and let starve, right? You yourself may fight and fight and win your way out of that, but half the country is still left there. And we want to spit on these people. Bad, bad, bad, bad people!! To not improve yourself above flipping burgers!! Shame, shame, shame, shame.

      So great is our CONTEMPT for these people, and I capitalized that word because it is indeed the right one, that we don’t want to see:

      –the many, many, many college graduates, educated for lofty positions far above the lowly station of the burger worker–and on the hook for many thousands of dollars of educational debt–who cannot find a job doing what they were trained for since the Great Dip Down that started in 2008. Are these contemptible people??

      –the seniors who have to work at some kind of job because they thought they were retired but, hmm, something seems to have happened to their retirement portfolios, and it seems to have happened in 2008. Are these contemptible people?

      –the Wall Street millionaires and billionaires who crashed the economy and put these people in this position in the first place. Who have long since recovered, and recovered handsomely, and are up to the same old tricks. None have been arrested, no regulations have been put in place to stop this happening again that are anything more than the proverbial slap on the wrist.

      –and, lastly, those tycoons who are making millions upon billions from the underpayment of those in these lowest of positions. These people rely on your contempt, you see. They have gotten rich off of it. They continue to get richer off of it. They put out the propaganda that inspired your contempt for low wage workers in the first place. Because, you see, if every person who performed a low wage task mysteriously died tomorrow the instant they performed it (let’s just pretend that some mysterious vapor has descended over the nation and will wipe out every low wage worker forevermore)–these billionaire business would STOP. Would CRUMBLE overnight. Would be GONE.

      Without somebody to ring the cash register, to take out the trash, to flip the burger, to clean the grill, to stock the shelves, to make change, to clean the floors and the bathrooms and wash the windows and do the laundry and change the old person’s Depends, to diaper the babies in daycare, to walk the dogs, to clean the hotel rooms, to wait the tables and do the side work, to do ALL the things that need to be done in America each and every day by LOW WAGE WORKERS, the country would not function at all. Many, many huge, huge centers of profit would simply cease to exist.

      Low wage jobs are, in fact, JOBS, because somebody somewhere needs the work done. These people we all feel so much contempt for, these people we hate so much because, well, they just aren’t as “good”, somehow, as you or me…well, we need these people. And, guess what?? They are, in fact, PEOPLE. Not animals. Not the three fifths of a man the slave was reputed to be in the 1850’s. We need them. The work they do is terribly, vitally important…TO EVERYONE.

      Isn’t it interesting how that can be true, and yet they are the most hated people in the country at the same time? And those sponsoring most of the hate…are making most of the money off them? The Wal Mart owners have as much money, among six tiny little people, as half the rest of the country…BECAUSE OF LOW WAGE WORK.

      And nobody sees anything wrong with this.

      What a country.

      What is wrong with us?

      • My point is simply this: Every job is important. EVERY job.

        In the theater they say there are no small parts, only small actors. As I hope has dawned on you after my first post, there really are no small jobs, either. Only small minds, who think that starving those who do the jobs that they personally do not find impressive, is an OK way to run a country.

        And there really is enough money in the country, there really is! for every person who does an honest day’s work to receive enough to fund their basic needs without government help. All we need to do is pay everyone who does an honest day’s work a living wage.

        We don’t want to acknowledge this, because we are afraid it might mean that some fantastically wealthy people, people wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, people who have more material goods than any 10,000 humans might actually need in one lifetime, people who live in more opulence and splendor than any king or queen in all of recorded history, *might* have to make do with a *teeny* bit less.

        And we do love our millionaires and billionaires. Yes, we do do that.

    • That’s not the way it works anymore. Companies pay minimum wage, and cut your hours to around 30-32 hrs a week, and bollix up your schedule every week, so you cannot work a second job to make extra money. Raises, when they do come, are like .10 cents per hour, for the first year, maybe another in the second. After that, you don’t EVER get a raise, unless you become “management”, which might be .50 or 1.00 more than what you are making now, or minimum wage goes up. Thats how it goes NOW,

  • Susan


    I do not get my information from the “national news”. I get my information from discussing issues with affected people in person, attending talks, listening to media that is not supported by corporations, reading the most unbiased sources I can find, discussing issues with elected officials, etc. Sadly, most people today get their information from a media outlet owned by six corporations. I view those sources with great skepticism.

    I am frustrated at the lack of caring for people, animals, and nature. I am tired of the misrepresentation of science (climate change); the intimidation of those who are trying to speak the truth about working conditions; and potential consequences of long-term ingestion of GMOs. Most of all, I am frustrated by the tremendous greed and power of money over our political system that has engulfed and is destroying our republic and our democracy.

    • Annie

      Susan, I only used ‘national news’ as one way you could possibly have gotten news that is common knowledge . That[s one thing I mean by being quick to judge and take offense. All I said was something about getting news from nightly news. So? Is that a problem? There really isn’t a need to huff and puff and tell me what other news sources you use, unless I was accusing you of something about NOT knowing the news.

      I don’t think you have the frustration market cornered and you’re not the only person who feels sad that this country is going in the wrong direction, that noone listens to WE THE PEOPLE, and we’re on the short road to ____________and we’re on a FAST TRACK.

      As far as lack of caring, everyone cares. Sure, there are people who live their lives oblivious to some of the things you and I talk about; but there is a lot of distance from vein OBLIVIOUS and UNCARING. My sister is oblivious to a lot of current events; does that make her uncaring” No, it makes her a family Mom who doesn’t have time to care-on the surface. Surface and appears uncaring, because she is one busy lady. But she is the most caring person I’ve ever seen.

  • Michael Siever

    Republicans like to employ the Chicken and the Egg fallacy, saying raising the minimum wage will increase inflation.

    No, inflation was already increasing. That’s the reason why we want to raise the minimum wage: to keep it up with the rise in inflation. Inflation is caused by many other factors we cannot control, therefore, it will keep increasing regardless of whether we raise the minimum wage.

  • Miguel

    I also like the arguments that suggest that if people would only get better training, they wouldn’t have to work for minimum wage. Excuse me, but if everyone were “better trained,” who would then perform the minimum wage jobs?

  • Zizi

    If they don’t want to raise minimum wage, then they need to FIGHT inflation. Prices rise every year, yet minimum wage rarely moves anymore. This is not okay. Hard working people are living in poverty and there’s simply no excuse for it.

  • buttercatz99

    Great article. Simply the truth. Raising minimum wages means some business owner will only have 4 new cards instead of 5. That’s about it.

  • if we really worked together we might be a great country once again, but shallow greedy money centric politics and business has ruined the best of what we are and turned it into every man for himself, well i don’t think america will survive long with that attitude, so fuck off conservative fuck face douche bags, you will be our end. you fucking broke us , i hope your happy

  • Not to mention if you raise minimum wage so that families can actually pay their bills and still have a little left over to spend then that helps the economy. Businesses start selling more hence more jobs created. Supply and Demand.

  • While there are valid arguments to be had that the minimum wage doesn’t lose jobs, I did not find one of them in this article. Setting aside the fact that I support most Liberal ideas this paper does nothing but do the same thing those over at fox do when facts dont support their idea which I find odd because there is plenty of evidence out there to support the claim that minimum wage does not affect job growth. Totally dismissing this idea is dishonest at best and ignorant at worst. Anyone who’s taken introductory economics knows that an effective price floor does cause a surplus and you’re doing a disservice by not representing legitimate arguments supporting the claim that the effect of raising the minimum wage on unemployment is minimal at best.

  • Except, you’re forgetting the fact that most “minimum wage employers are now considering “full time” as 32 hours a week. Additionally, the majority of those employers are only hiring “part time” workers, and still want availability so in a two parent household with four children and two college degrees, you are still broke and no one in a small town is hiring what so frickin’ ever. At least anything that pays worth a damn.

  • In Michigan they do pay kids under 18 less than minimum wage. I think they pay something along the lines of $5.30 an hour until they turn 18. Which takes a few paychecks to take effect and rarely will the missing back pay get paid. So year, lets argue that minimum wage is for kids, yup we’re already paying them less than that because of being kids. Killed that argument.

  • mike

    It seems more and more apparent to me that the republican party and their corporate owners are blaitantly pointing out that we the poor should consider ourselves as slaves… We don’t need health care, we don’t need food stamps, child care assistance, etc…, all we need is to work more with fewer rights as workers. Have you ever tried to get any type of assistance, food stamps, wedical assistance, etc… after quitting a job even if the job is more harmfull to your situation than it helps?

    Im sorry my friends, but, work is more of a trap than a way out for many of us poor people. Raising the minnimum wage makes it so we don’t have to work 133 hours to pay rent, or 70 hours to pay the electric bill. I use my wife as an example… She works part time hours (32 or less) for a large corporation at a rate of about $9.00 an hour. First, the company only gives a bulk of their employees less than 35 hours a week so they can avoid having to provide bennefits, also 32 hours a week doesn’t seem bad in writing 4 days on 3 off right? Wrong!!! She works 6 days a week 5 hours a day, and the schedule is created to work like a trap by the way most of the hours she works would be considered the best time of day to seek other employment, the hours are not even close to set she could work 8am- 2pm one day and 3pm-8pm the next followed by 8am-5pm the day after,

    and her one and only day off each week is sunday. It seems like just a crappy job, but these comapnies have put millions of dollars into figureing out how to get us a close to being slave labor as they legally can.

  • AWorker4UnionsEvryWhr

    This is ridiculous we don’t need a minimum wage, we need a LIVING WAGE. 11 an hour would be a great start, sure businesses are going to try and raise their prices to offset the wage increase but then someone will see the opening to sell cheaper while still making a profit and paying their employees well, Thus ending the price hike. The more money people have the more they spend which in turn causes the economy to boom. When the majority of money is hoarded more people have less to spend with no one able to spend how are you suppose to make money? It really is that old saying, you HAVE to SPEND money to MAKE money. In this case spend a lot paying your employees a wage they can live off of and they will in turn have money to spend. I mean shit, it IS YOUR EMPLOYEES making you money NOT you. Corporate CEO’s are not making the company money, their under paid, overworked employees are. That is why strikes are so effective, with no one to do the work no one is getting paid, including the CEO’s and higher ups. We need to take away this thought that unions do nothing to help their members. NALC is a perfect example of a union doing what is needed FOR THE WORKERS (whether you are in the union or not) you are protected by the unions achievement in whatever negotiations were taking place. I’m not saying unions are perfect, but they are a start in the right direction. If it wasn’t for unions, you wouldn’t have benefits at your job.

  • Rachel Logan

    it would be nice if the writer actually knew about that which they are writing instead of spewing the usual liberal progress bs if you want to say its discriminatory to pay a teenager less than someone who actually has to pay bills like an adult out of school just on one of your examples then I say to you get off your ass and go out and start a business and hire these inexperianced younguns who care nothing about success or failure of the business you are running/owning. on another of your false premises the first amendment does not say anything about marrage nor does it say anywhere that its wrong for people of principle to stand against such things based on those principles of their religion just to point out 2 fallacies of your arguement or attempt to look smart. First try actually reading the constitution secondly go out into the real world of today not when you were little and experiance it from all sides then come back and try to make these arguments otherwise youre no different than teh politicians who spew this bs from both sides of the aisle

  • Cole

    Learn a skill that is in demand and find someone to pay you for preforming your skill. This is how to make more than minimum wage.

  • Murphy

    This is a very ignorant article. You can tell right away when someone brings up abortion on an unrelated topic. Stay on target when you are trying to generalize the Republican mind about minimum wage. It would be great to see some facts or quotes, maybe some house bills proving that Republicans really want to pay unrealistic wages.

  • Micqey

    Perhaps the biggest assault on the minimum wage is the inflation of the currency. There is no way for the minimum wage to keep up with rising prices to create a stable standard of living with the “Quantitative Easing” we are seeing now. The Fed Is creating BILLIONS in new money every month just to keep the economy afloat. . . That increase in the money supply means a decrease in the value of our money. The only people who are isolated from these kinds of incremental losses are those who have the majority of their wealth in diversified stocks and mutual funds. Those fortunes grow and shrink relative to the value of the market and they maintain a fairly consistent buying buying power over time. On the other hand, the average person whose real wealth and buying power is dependent on the value of the dollar, is decimated by inflation.

  • Curt Welch

    I’m very much in favor of socialistic help to the poor, but I have to admit, that minimum wage laws does eliminate jobs. The Republicans are very much correct in making that argument. The economy sets wage values by the simple laws of supply and demand. When the natural value of a job drops below minimum wage, the wages don’t go up, the job goes away.

    For example, if we look at the restaurant business – one filled with minimum wage workers we see that the pay of the workers is part of the end cost of the food. When restraunt food gets too expensive, people stop eating out, and instead, cook at home. If there were no minimum wage laws, and if people were willing to work for lower wages, then there would be business opportunities for lower cost restaraunts to operate, and more people would eat out, instead of cooking at home. With minimum wage laws, those businesses just don’t exist, so there are less resturants, less jobs, and more people eat at home.

    In addition, many jobs get replaced by automation. When the cost of automation becomes less, than the cost to get the job done with minimum wage workers, the job is eliminated and is replaced by the automation. A classic example is the gas station attendant that would pump your gas, check your oil, and clean your windows. To cover the cost of having a human working at minimum wage pump our gas for us, the station must increase its gas prices. But when customers are more interested saving a few pennies and pump it themselves then the station can no longer justify paying the worker, and the job is eliminated. If someone were willing to work for $1 an hour pumping gas, a lot of stations would probably hire them, and the jobs would come back.

    Where minimum wage does not eliminate work, is where the work can’t yet be automated, or the cost of automation is still above the cost of minimum wage, and where the demand of the product or service is large enough, that there is still a market for the higher priced goods and services.

    The other problem minimum wage laws create is that there are many potential jobs, that people will enjoy so much, they would be willing to work for less than minimum wage. All the volunteer jobs fall under this description. It’s work that is so interesting or important to a person, they will do it for free if they can afford it. There is likely to be millions of jobs, that are effectively volunteer jobs now, where the organization could justify making it a paid position, if they could pay something less than minimum wage. But the law makes it illegal to pay someone $1 an hour. You can legally pay them $0, but it’s illegal to pay them $1 an hour. Lots of jobs that could exist, and could be paid positions, simply don’t becuase of minimum wage laws.

    Minimum wage laws most certainly does eliminate jobs and because of it, it creates problems. I think the benefits of minimum wage laws fars exceeds the problems of eliminating low paying jobs, but I think there are much better ways to do welfare, than to do it with minimum wage laws.

    The best way, would be to do it with a Basic Income Guarantee for everyone in the country. Most of our current welfare systems should be either reduced, or eliminated, and replaced with an unconditional Basic Income Guarantee for everyone. In the US, based on current welfare spending in the system, we could afford a basic income of around $10K a year for every person in the country without a substantial raise in taxes — just by eliminating many of the current welfare systems and replacing it with the BIG.

    We can then eliminate minimum wage laws, and allow all those low paying jobs to come back. But, when family members already have enough to pay for food and simple housing, the employer will no longer have the upper hand in wage negotiations. When they need someone to work,they will need to provide a job people want, at a wage that people will be working to work at – not a wage they must accept, becuase they will starve if they don’t.

    Changing to a basic income guarantee will virtually eliminate unemployment by both acting as economic stimulus from the demand side, and by allowing wages to fall to their real values. Anyone that wants a jobs, and is willing to work for the going rates, will be able to get a job. But at the same time, many will be able to choose simply not to work, or work far less than full time. Work will no longer be a requirement for living, but simply a path to a higher standard of living, as well as “something fun to do”.

    If we don’t have a BIG in place, then minimum wage laws are far better than nothing. But far better than minimum wage laws, would be a basic income guarantee for all.

    Of course, Republicans for the most part argue even stronger against a BIG than they argue against minimum wage laws, because creating a society full of happy people, is not a conservative value. Making people slave away at pointless and needless work, is a conservative value.

  • Chase

    Government benefits are given to people based poverty plus a percentage (e.g. 150% of poverty would be the poverty line plus 50% of the expected income to reach the poverty line). This has been the way of things for decades because no president wants to officially raise the poverty line and thus increase the number of people actually in poverty. Therefore, minimum wage would need to be raise significantly higher to make an actual dent in cutting people off of government assistance.

  • josh

    Before you write something make sure that you at least understand the other side correctly. 1st conseritives know that it is constitutional to raise minimum wage. 2nd your argument about job loss due to a raise in wages is an economic principle and to me proves you are writing this out of emotion and not logic. And before I get blamed for not knowing what it is like to be poor then your wrong cause my mom only made 10,000 dollars after her divorce.

  • joe

    I like the article, but I’m not so sure that the solution is to just have businesses pay employees more, because many businesses are struggling to make ends meat too — perhaps while their owners are single parents trying to raise two kids.

  • Robert Albrecht

    Did your parents have any children that weren’t born with a brain defect? Raising min wage causes the price of everything else to raise just making the extra money you now make worth the same or even less than what you were making in the first place. Higher wages paid out equals a higher cost to make a product which in turn means the manufacturer of said product has to charge more to make the same amount of profit they were making before. You are essentially shooting yourself in the foot. Sure you may make more money but guess what, you now have to spend more.

  • Bill Rubin

    It’s just this simple–American business and industry need to shoulder more of the burden of the American dream since American business and industry benefit most from it. American business and industry should be paying living wages via a higher minimum wage so that fewer Americans need government assistance–shifting the assistance burden from the taxpayers to businesses. That alleviates the GOP’s interest in preventing the government from giving hand-outs to their presumed lazy dependent Americans, since the only Americans benefitting from higher wages are WORKING Americans. That also helps reduce the government deficit, since the US government thereby would be providing less assistance to workers who now would earn sufficient income. It also helps the economy and business by providing more consumers with disposable income to reinvest in the economy. It’a a win-win for everyone.

    American business fights tooth and nail to avoid paying these higher wages or higher taxes (or any taxes at all in too many cases). In the meantime, American business flies high with record industry profits. The hypocrisy is tantamount to sheer stupidity and ignorance…but what’s new? Republican voters believe that wealthier business means more jobs, despite overwhelming historical evidence that this is sheer folly. Republican voters believe that higher taxes destroy jobs, despite overwhelming evidence in RECENT times that the Bush tax cuts and lower corporate rates did NOT create more jobs. Evidence. Facts. Truth. But the GOP doesn’t want to face these because its voters base is totally clueless and ignorant.

  • Wayne Bassett

    Now, I am no economists and there is probably a lot of holes in this proposal, but I thought I would throw it out there lol

    The world economy should be based on a credit system that uses job performance to determine how much you get paid. Everyone will have basic needs covered at the beginning i.e food, shelter, clothing etc, but to get more credits so you can buy luxuries and a better place to live, better clothes, more food, your work should be of the best quality and benefit the larger society.

    The allocation of these credits will not be decided by any one person or organization, but through a computer system that calculates your daily/weekly/ annual performance and changes the amount of allocated credits accordingly.

    This way, when you have a CEO who abuses his/her powers to gain profits that destroy neighbourhoods or a politician who uses his/her position for self interests, their credits will be reduced to reflect this abuse of power.

  • Mike Williams

    We should organize all the worker class into a great big group and everyone tell their bosses that we won’t work unless they improve work conditions, wages, and get us insurance that we can afford….If everyone did this and noone went to work pretty soon they would get the message…Maybe we could call this group something that declares without mistake that we are united in a single cause….Any ideas on this….I’m thinking about maybe UNION…nah..it’ll never work… The gop will just give tax breaks to companies who move their factories to China….Right MITT?

  • Charles Vincent

    Minimum wage hurts the less productive low experience workers.

    For instance George owns a burger place and he has three employees Al, Bob and Carl they make $8/hr.

    Al can make 100 burgers an hour and George makes 10 cents on every burger. Bob makes 120 burgers and hour, and Carl makes 90 burgers an hour.

    Al 100 x .10= $10.00-$8.00= $2.00 in profit for George

    Bob 120 x .10= $12.00-$8.00= $4.00 in profit for George

    Carl 90 x .10= $9.00-$8.00= $1.00 in profit for George

    So George makes $7.00 an hour profit from his workers.

    Now suppose that minimum wage is changed from $8.00/hr to $9.50/hr.

    Al 100 x .10= $10.00-$9.50= $.50 in profit for George
    Bob 120 x .10= $12.00-$9.50= $2.50 in profit for George
    Carl 90 x .10= $9.00-$9.50= -$.50 in loss for George
    Because Carl is no longer generating a profit he loses his job and is now $9.50/hr worse off.

    Minimum wage helps more productive workers at the expense of less productive workers.

  • Cindy Mello

    And lets not forget, someone who is working 60,70,80 hours a week are NOT THERE TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN. It then becomes a societal issue when kids aren’t being raised up, their dragging themselves up. Not a good way to raise children.

  • republicans are scum

    then these same people want to turn around and bitch that the kids have zero supervision and are getting in trouble in the community and schools. I hate them all. i have zero respect fr republicans. They are the lowest of the low. I damn sure raise my children to never adopt their ideals. Poor people have children at much higher rates. it wont be long before they are so severely outnumbered they will just die off.