If I Had to Live on $7.25 An Hour, I’d Move Out of New York

There is a lot of pressure on the federal and state level right now to raise the minimum wage of $7.25 to something workers can actually live on. People who are for an increase argue that the minimum wage should be a living wage. People who are against an increase argue that it places a burden on small businesses because it means they can’t hire more people, and having to pay their employees more means having to raise the costs of their products. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than happy to spend a couple more bucks to ensure that the people who work at the establishments that I frequent are paid a fair wage. I’ve worked at several places that paid a minimum wage when I was in high school and college (Baby Gap, Barnes and Noble, a comic book store), and I certainly didn’t think I could live off of the money I was earning at any of those places. Giving workers more disposable income is probably good for local economies, and the state of Washington already has a minimum wage that’s above $9. Massachusetts wants to raise its minimum wage to $10, which would be revolutionary in its own little way, and perhaps prove to other people that these sort of policies can work.


11 Comments / Post A Comment

It’s €9.22 in France. Have a look at this and prepare to be sad (the US is two places above Taiwan).

Megano! (#124)

Even 10 dollars an hour is barely a living wage. And yes, minimum wage should be the minimum amount of money a person needs to live.

sventurata (#27)

Raising the minimum wage only works at the federal level. We need a national/international strategy to address working-class poverty.

Mike – I agree with you wholeheartedly that $7.25 is not enough to live in NYC. However, I live in an area with a high minimum wage (yay?) and those minimum-wage employers are obsessive about cutting labour to the minute and/or outsourcing work to lower-paid regions to save a lousy $2.75 an hour on the humans who net their corporations thousands of dollars a day.

For myself, I would rather work 40h a week @ $7.25 than be scheduled for 35 and work maybe 27 hours @ $10. You don’t get told in advance when hours are cut so it’s difficult to make them profitable.

Just a thought. Obviously I’m no great economic, or I wouldn’t have the wealth of first-hand experience on this issue that I do.

@sventurata I live in an area where the min. wage is $7.25/hr. Businesses here are just as obsessed with cutting labor costs as anywhere else. I would rather work 40 hrs a week also, but I and everyone else on min. wage that I know, are working somewhere in the realm of 27 hrs/week.

Minimum wage in NZ is $13.50. The flip side of that, I guess, is that prices go up as labour costs rise.

deepomega (#22)

Federal minimum wages weird me out. The cost to live in NYC is not the same as the cost to live in LA which is not the same as the cost to live in KS.

Jobeans (#227)

Yes ugh. I currently make above minimum wage but basically nothing by nyc standards (like, $11.50 with commission, but then if i work more hours the fixed commission stays the same so I am basically making LESS per hour). I hate my current job at a greedy corporate fashion retailer (cough they hail from Spain, cough). I hate it enough that the other day I spent $17 on a bottle of cetaphil at Chopin Chemists rather than the $10 I would end up paying at a CVS because I couldn’t stand the thought of supporting another shitty chain corporation death-trap. That wasn’t the most financially responsible decision…

cmcm (#267)

When I started working at age 16 in 2000, minimum wage was $5.15… which according to the internet means that with inflation that would only be $6.81 today… not that any of those amounts are an actual liveable salary!

Also crazy- states that have lower minimum wage for tipped work. I think I was getting something like $2.30 when I was waitressing in Delaware. BUT awesome are the places where minimum wage for tipped work is the same ($10 an hour in San Fran when I worked there in… 2006?) That was awesome.

jane lane (#281)

@cmcm I think it’s still $2.13 for servers here in GA. It makes the tipping system complete bullshit and it’s why I refuse to wait tables even though I’d probably make more per hour most nights than I do at my current second job.

Megano! (#124)

@cmcm In Japan you don’t tip, you just get paid a living wage, and the service is much, much better for it. Although it helps that pretty much all Japanese people are raised to be extremely courteous anyway.

Runawaytwin (#2,693)

Am i missing something? I just dont think it is as simple as raising the minimum wage. If the minimum wage goes up= cost of goods goes up. If costs of goods goes up people making the “new” minimum wage still wont be able to make ends meet.

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