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The Next Experiment

Updated on July 22, 2011

Laboratories of Equality?

The American Right, perhaps due to the infatuation that many of them have with the Confederate States of America, like to claim they are proponents of letting the States make their own decisions. When those decisions are to bust unions, or harass voters , there are cheers and toasts of 'Tea'.

But what about when a State decides to pursue a policy that advances justice and equality. We've seen how the American Right and it's fundamentalist allies respond when states decide to make same-sex marriage legal. I can only imagine what Beck and Limbaugh had to say when Vermont passed legislation to potentially bring Canadian-style 'single-payer' health care to the US, even if it's only in one state.

But what should be the next great experiment? Why not have some forward-thinking state pass a law calling for a living minimum wage?

Under the current minimum wage of $7.15 an hour, a person would make about $14,300. That does not account for taxes or other deductions. And with much of the 'bottom' of the US economy consisting of low-wage, service-sector, 'McJobs', there are likely a lot of people and families barely surviving at this level.

The first thing that a state would need is a formula to determine what the living wage should be. Universal Living Wage may have a solution to this. Their formula actually defines the wage based on the fair market price of a one-bedroom apartment and that no more than %30 of ones income should be spent on housing.

For example, for my current county of residence, the fair market price for a 1-bedroom apartment is $627. Based on that, my monthly income should be $2090. Multiplying this by 12 months yields an annual gross income of 25080. Dividing this figure by 2080 annual hours, an attempt to account for those months where there are five weeks, gives an hourly wage of $12.05.

There are questions that arise from this. First is, how often should the wage be adjusted? I believe that it should be adjusted annually, and indexed for inflation. A second issue is those under the age of 18? The idea of being able to make over $25,000 a year working at a Wal-Mart or McDonalds could encourage young people to drop out. Those under the age of 18, or those who do not have their diploma or GED would be paid a lower wage, perhaps something closer to $8-$9 an hour.

Resistance to this would come from those who stand to lose the most from this legislation. The company's that make up the 'McEconomy'; Wal-Mart, Target, etc. They'd surely put pressure on any state's legislature and legislators who would advance this idea.

But that resistance would likely show where those companies, and their CEO's loyalties lie.


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    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      We should, and that's what I think a Living Minimum Wage would do.

    • tangoshoes profile image


      7 years ago

      Shouldn't that be what we shoot for as a country, a higher standard of living for the base?

      On another note, young adults who aren't receiving financial support from their families for college may be encouraged to work part time and attend.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      But should those 'dead end' jobs be the base of the economy?

    • tangoshoes profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm with Fay on this one but I do have one point to argue.

      I have recently decided college isn't for everyone. I started my associates degree for computer graphics/multimedia about 3 years ago. Working full time and going part time I am about 3/4 finished and already 20k in debt.

      I have learned NOTHING about my field. The only class I took which I learned anything in was Ancient and Medieval Philosophy lol.

      No one I know who has a degree is working in their field aside from one who is a nurse.

      It isn't proving advantageous for me to continue college. I currently make $11/hr doing in home health care. My monthly take home is about $1200.

      While my one bedroom apartment is on a side of town that has a lower crime rate it is far from luxiourus. (I currently have a sewer fly infestation from backed up pipes) I still pay $530 a month. Previously I lived in a house which I shared with 3 other people which still broke down to $200/mo. I also would like to point out I nearly died in that house from a random drive by so you get what you pay for. Min-wage here is about $7.50 now I think. I can't even imagine trying to live on that. My bills don't work on paper. I have to bring in money from my small business to help with the bills and I'm only figuring the basics:


      Car Insurance




      If I had a car payment I'd really be screwed.

      If I want to work the rest of my life at a dead end job it should be my right to make a LIVABLE wage. If I want luxury I could go to college to be a doctor or start my own business.

      We NEED people for dead end jobs. We need those people to STAY in their dead end jobs. Why? Because we need experienced workers. Try going into wal-mart and asking any question other than where something is at and it's hard pressed to get an answer.

      *sigh* It's already turned into an epic comment and I haven't even gone on about health care! lol

      Thanks for the hub Tea~

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Hi Tea Party Chaser:

      I'm always at a loss about what to say to you because we are always in so much agreement. I guess it's true that great minds think alike. :)

      up/useful and awesome

    • tammybarnette profile image

      Tammy Barnette 

      7 years ago

      Fantastic Hub:D, voted up, useful, and awesome:) I love the idea of state minimums, that makes so much more sense. Where I live you can spend anywhere from $250 to $600 on a one bedroom, so the federal minimum works well here in TN. where the cost of livimng is lowere than many places, especially as say California.

      I believe your right about the far right freaking out, they always get on tv and talk about states rights, smaller gov't, personal responsibility, but never stand behind the causes that interpret these beliefs.

      I think there are many good folks on both sides (here at the hub) that are more in the center of many issues today and thats what we need in Washington. These are great ideas, thanks:)


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