The global economy is suffering and the U.S., despite the title of 'best and riches country in the world," is no exception. Ours continue to be sluggish and guess who's feeling the hurt most?
You guessed right, those at the widest bottom tier of our societal triangle. The millions making minimum and below minimum wage. The startling, steep rise of living costs, like food, gas, rent, utilities, clothes, mortgages, commute, education, health insurances to name a few, have made income and expenditure virtually impossible to balance.
Which ushers in another growing problem: credit card debt. Many use these charge cards to bridge the ever widening gap between what is earned and what is spent--and I'm not talking about folks who have never seen an item they didn't like to put in the shopping cart and unto the credit cards. I am talking about basic living needs like grocery, rent, utilities.
The minimum wage took 10 years for Congress to vote yea on an increase of 2 dollars. 10 years to go from $5:15 to $7:25 an hour in 2007. But how many times do you think these same esteemed Congressmen voted to give themselves a raise in those 10 years? They have voted to give themselves a $3,300 annual raise which meant a $31,600 increase since the previous minimum wage of 1997.
According to the Economic Policy Institute's "Minimum Wage: Facts at a Glance" an estimated 14.9 million workers or 11% of the work force lives were affected by the slight increase in the minimum wage. But sadly this is still not enough for families are forever playing catch-up with the rising cost of living. When wages stagnate but expenses continue to rise, low income folks will always be in the red.
Some parts of the world have it much worse than the U.S., earning mere cents per hour for back breaking work. Walmart, that giant retailer U.S. consumers love to patronize because of their cheaper fare, is currently battling lifting the minimum wage from 35 cents in outsourced countries like Bangladesh. 35 cents per hour.
We need to take a serious look at the effects of global unlivable wages. Those who use the argument that you're paid what you're worth, fail miserably to bolster this premise in light of our over-paid CEOs at banks, Wall St. and our mortgag giants, who almost plunged the globe into an economic abyss during the financial crisis . What are they really worth?
To those who say if one wants to improve their lot in life, then they must work on getting a better education. Forge a path towards diplomas and degrees. We cannot all be doctors, CEOs, bankers, lawyers. Society would collapse if we didn't have our blue collar workers. If we didn't have our sanitation workers, maids, janitors, guards, etc.
We are all relevant. Just pay a wage that people can live on not barely scrounge by on. You may find that society becomes a lot more productive that way.