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Posts tagged ‘economy’

A Living Wage?

(This “post” is from 2006, and sad to say not much had gotten better for the working/middle class while salaries and profits have grown astronomically for the the executives banks and corporations. I’m posting it today, because just yesterday I received an e-mail asking why I thought that minimum wage was not high enough for a working adult.

One does need to recheck the info in the footnotes tho.)

A Living Wage?

There are those who like to have folks equate “the poor” with “people looking fot handouts”.

There are those who like to have have folks believe that the reason why there is poverty in America is because “those people are lazy”.

There are consernatives, such as Ann Coulter who wll tell you that there is no such thing as “the working poor”.

People who believe these falsehoods are them easy to than to convince that the concept of a “living wage” is a bad idea.

I can’t help but wonder about their honesty, and their morality in light of facts like these:

1. A lack of jobs that pay a living wage
Poverty rates in the US have changed little since the 1996 welfare overhaul indicating that although many more people are in the workplace, they have moved to $7 and $8 per hour jobs and remain in poverty1. More than 2.9 million people below the poverty line are full time workers2.

2. A lack of housing that is affordable
In my hometown Chicago, studies have showm a “housing wage” (the wage that a family would need in order to be able to afford a two bedroom apartment for approximately $800 per month (the average cost), working 40 hours per week) is $18 per hour.

3. A lack of affordable healthcare options for low- and middle-income families
The average cost of family healthcare in 2005 was $10,880 per year3 , while the median family income was $46,300 per year; as a result over 46 million Americans were without health insurance in 2005.4

4. Low quality public elementary and secondary schools make college a remote possibility for children from poor communities
For example:

Due to an over-reliance on property taxes to fund education, Illinois has the second greatest disparities in funding for public elementary and secondary schools. As a result, students from wealthy areas have access to a quality education, and students from poor communities do not. Additionally, decreased funding for Federal Student Loans and Pell Grants and increased tuition costs across the board put a college/university education out of reach for the vast majority of students in impoverished communities.

1 From the Washington Post, August 29, 2006 article, “US Poverty Rate Unchanged Last Year”,

2 From the Leadership Council on Civil Rights Education Fund’s report, “The Faces of Hurricane Katrina: A Portrait of Poverty Throughout America”, available online at http://www.civilrights.org/press_room/KatrinaPaperandFAQs.pdf

3 From the Kaiser Family Foundation. Report on-line at http://www.kff.org/insurance/chcm091405nr.cfm

4 From the Washington Post, August 29, 2006 article, “US Poverty Rate Unchanged Last Year.”


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