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Why is America's Minimum Wage Only $8?

Updated on May 16, 2012

Is it me?

In a one of the world's richest nations, even in poor economic times, the federal minimum wage for all is around $8.00 an hour. What types of business rely on these wages? Fast food, UPS stores, retail sales. There is no family in America that can survive on this wage without lots of welfare handouts in food stamps, or subsidized rent, which of course, taxpayers (even those earning $8 hr) pay for. Even a single person has problems living with this pathetic wage. At $8 an hour, one earns $64 a day or $320 a week fulltime,Per month, it is $1280 gross, after taxes, the net is near $1100. Per year, net, it is $13,200.

Rent will usually consume half or more of the monthly net, depending on location. If your rent is $800 mo., one has $300 remaining to spend on everything else. By the time utilities are paid, you are near broke.

While those not in America may think these are good wages, they are dirt wages for Americans. What angers me is it really is all greed. Look at McDonalds. This is the wage most begin at. Yet, in the course of a few hours, they have already sold hundreds of dollars, In a day, thousands. Selling two burgers equals one hour's work. Employers always cite the benefit costs, but one does not live on benefits daily, It is just their way to justify and placate the poor workers there. Ditto for UPS stores. Why can't employers pay at least a decent wage of $10 hr., which is still too low in my book as a minimum wage? A decent minimum wage is $12 hr. The reason is greed for a large profit margin. They are able to take less of a profit, just unwilling because of their greed.

Those who work for those low wages have zero money for extras. Filling up their car takes, on average, a half or a full day's pay. No wonder people on unemployment prefer that to working for $8 hr. Those that get unemployment have already put money into the system and now they are getting their share. I don't blame them. Maybe if the minimum wage was at $12 hr. less would be willing to get off unemployment.

I would like to see President Obama or any CEO work for that wage for a month. Maybe things would change then.

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    • profile image

      a_vaha1978 6 years ago

      Perrya,

      Congratulations to you for writing this! I totally agree that the minimum wage should be set higher. If someone was making $12 an hour they would get $2,080 gross before taxes which would be manageable if they lived with a roommate. That's still not a high wage but it is more manageable than $8 an hour that's for sure. It is all about greed because these employers want to keep all that money for themselves, plain and simple.

    • perrya profile image
      Author

      perrya 6 years ago

      Low wages only help provide more income to businesses. If they had it their way, it would be lower, so , I guess what has been said is true. therefore, I would like to see the min wage set higher if that is what it takes. Prices will go up for a variety of reasons not related to low wages. Prices are often marked up simply for more profit. It should be raised more often than it is.

    • beadreamer247 profile image

      beadreamer247 6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Well, I agree that it is not a lot. And yes it is hard to live of. I did it myself on $8.50 with a son on my own. Child support of $200 a month. Food stamps were declined because I was making too much! I made it through, never was behind on any debt payment and had only $50 a week for grocery. Don't want to get back there again.

      But without those low pay jobs almost everything would be a lot more expensive and would not end the cycle at all. Low pay jobs are part of our economic system, not only in the US, but worldwide. And they will always be there. If we raise them too much the gap between higher educational jobs and those jobs in pay might get unfair and is already getting there in some jobs.

      The issue you are bringing up in regards to unemployment benefits and low paid jobs, there should be a better ratio for those unemployed who were in a high pay job, so that there is a bit more fairness.

    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 6 years ago from Kentucky

      @breadreamer247 I think one of the things perrya was bringing up is many who currently receive unemployment would be taking a huge pay cut if they accept a minimum wage job. Of course it's their choice to accept any job, but there aren't many jobs available in some areas. Some of the only jobs to be had are low paying, and not enough to cover basic living expenses.

      It's a complicated issue. I don't think there is a simple solution, but it's obvious something isn't working.

    • beadreamer247 profile image

      beadreamer247 6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Well, this minimum wage thing is actually a protection, not to pay anywhere below this! So it protects those who earn such a low wage. Those who work for this wage know in advance how much they will get paid and they could as well deny it - they choose consciously to accept this wage. Also, if you would not have such low wages in some jobs...a lot of things would be far more expensive on the other end....every business calculates the total costs and wants some profit. All the costs are indirectly paid by the buyer/customer/client.

      For instance, if someone works at McDonald's at $9.00 to make burgers...your burger price goes up drastically!

      Unfortunately that is how things are....and it is not just the US, where you have low wages - worldwide and we "need" them....when those wages go up...prices go up as well.

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 6 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      As a mall business owner I have made less than one of my employees for the week.. many times. Because I paid their wages first and had to live on what was left over. I do not deny that a good worker is worth more than minimum wage.. I loved to pay my carpenters well... I had to in order to keep them... But when the jobs are thin and competition from Big companies starts gobbling up all the work... Job prices come down and even a few dead wood employees can kill a business... I used to be on payroll myself... I know both sides of this thing. Minimum wage is a good idea in some ways.. But the reality is that it Kills many small business owners by making employees cost more than the Jobs make.

    • perrya profile image
      Author

      perrya 6 years ago

      well, maybe we are talking apples and oranges. I am talking about the McDonalds, the safeway, the UPS store. I still think greed for profit is the reason. Having a decent wage of $10-12 hr is not robbing even the small biz owner. Just don't buy it, sorry.

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 6 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      No Low wages do not produce them... Guaranteed Minimums mean that while they are there on your clock you are going to have to pay them at least that much per hour.

      Falty Logic Number 2: The Biz is making tons. No... not necisarily.. But of course in the mind of the slugs its true and they all want to be Robin Hood.. Rob from the Rich.. business owner and give to themselves.

      Im not talking about Walmart or GM... Im talking about small businesses... Middle Class.. that a minimum wage is designed to destroy.

    • perrya profile image
      Author

      perrya 6 years ago

      Why would a biz owner keep the slugs around? fire them. But low wages produce them. It encourages job flight for a better wage of of even $10, which is still dirt. Low wages promote those who do the minimum because the wage is the minimum and they know the biz is making tons. Did you ever wonder why Walmart has the kind of people they do working for them? Walmart hires mostly those who get some welfare because then, Walmart only pays a percentage of the dirt wage. So, that is why they are successful. People who earn higher wages tend to work harder and do not job hunt for greener wages.

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 6 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      Your Oppinion on the Minimum Wage relies on the faulty assumption that all of the workers are Worth $8.00 or more per hour.

      Go start a Business that needs to employ workers... Get a few employees... and work your own backside off while the employees stand around with their hands in their pockets talking on YOUR TIME. Cell Phones, party last night.. Hungover.. drugged.. Now at the end of the week... Go Pay Your Bills... and when there is little or no money left (Was I suppose to make a profit this month?) at the end of the week and a bunch of Non-Productive Employees who just rode your Clock all week each come for their $320.00 Paycheck that they think they "Earned" because they were "ON THE CLOCK" (Not doing much of anything productive but they were there) Then you will understand why there is a Minimum Wage in the first place... It is there for the sole Purpose of keeping the Employer from paying the "Good fer Nothings" what they actually deserve..

      Granted... not everyone today has the work ethic of a Slug...

      Some were born in a better location or had parents that taught them better... and those employees are usually promoted rapidly to keep from losing them... The Employer knows who is doing all the work.. and those are the people he wants to keep.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      I agree with you 100%, Perrya. No one could subsist on that wage in this country. It is a joke and a product of greed by Corporate America.

    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 6 years ago from Kentucky

      In my state the minimum wage is just 7.25/hr, and I have to agree with you. I don't see how anyone could survive off that alone.

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