Based on 2004’s Current Population Survey of America, today two million workers earn at or below minimum wage out of 73.9 million American workers who are paid at hourly rates (Characteristics). In 1996, the minimum wage raised to $5.15 per hour. Some people argue that this federal legislation helped low-wage workers a lot. Nevertheless, low-wage people are still suffering from hardship because of the big gap between their incomes and expenditures. In 1998, the minimum-wage was “$2,500 below the poverty line for a three-person family” if a worker works 40 hours a week without vacations (Rothman).
Since its inception, the minimum wage has been a hotbed for debate. If today’s leaders could manage to increase minimum wage, millions of families would benefit. A person working at minimum wage will only make about $10,700 a year. When rent, groceries, bills and gas are all added up, it appears to be a nearly impossible task to keep a family afloat. But working 40 hours a week at $5.15 an hour, one makes less than $206 a week after taxes.
However, college is not made for everyone, and what would our world be with only professionals? I agree with Ehrenreich that the minimum wage is too low because, while people with open opportunities earn a better future for their families, many like my own, are fighting to get through on a daily basis due to our economy. Ehrenreich mentions in her article "the Economic Policy Institute recently reviewed dozens of studies of what constitutes a "living wage" and came up with an average figure of $30,000 a year for a family of one adult and two children, which amounts to a wage of $14 an hour" (270.) If this is a living wage then how are people living today. The average minimum wage is much less than $14 and hour today.
In the United States there is a problem. People are working minimum wage jobs and are not being able to pay for basic needs such as rent and food. According to the Low Income Housing Coalition, Today, in the United States a person earning the Federal minimum wage of seven twenty-five an hour would have to work around eighty-six hours per week to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent, of eight hundred and six dollars (“Out of Reach”). People are working and need government assistance to help them pay for basic needs in life. Raising the national minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour would allow people to live a life where they don’t have to worry about not having enough money for food, rent, or other basic needs
There are frequent footnotes in the novel, many of them containing statistics about low-wage lifestyles. One claims that “In 1997, a living wage for a single parent supporting a single child in the Twin Cities metro area was $11.77 an hour” (Ehrenreich 127). Throughout the novel, Ehrenreich never gets paid this much in any of her jobs. In fact, she is amazed when a potential wage for a job is “not $8.50 but an incredible $10 an hour” (Ehrenreich 142). Even living on her own Ehrenreich could hardly pay for the basic necessities to live, it would have been impossible to do so with a child to care for as well.
Many may think that all men are head of all households. However that is not always the case. More than fifteen point one million family households are headed by women. Of these households, thirty-two percent or 4,826,159 families have an income that falls below the federal poverty line. That’s almost five million homes and families who are considered poor all because of the unfair gender pay gap we have today (National Partnerships).
Three-fourths of those elderly people who would have been poor without Social Security were removed from below the poverty line by Social Security. Nearly 90 percent of America's elderly are lifted from poverty by Social Security. Currently nearly 44 million Americans receive benefits under Social Security, making it one of the nation's largest anti-poverty programs existing today. Although many Americans are also not helped by Social Security and linger at the fringes of society because the money is not enough to live in America today, even with Social Security adjusting to inflation. Today, the average Social Security benefit is less than $10,000 a year, and for women the average benefit is closer to $9,000.
Moreover, with only having the ability to work on small odd jobs, or low paying careers, around his or her local area, is not enough to help a family to obtain the necessities that are needed for a strong healthy environment. Jo Goodwin Parker shows this in her piece "What is Poverty?" as she states "I pay twenty dollars a month rent, and most of the rest goes for food.... I try my best to use only the minimum electricity. If I use more, there is that much less for food" (Parker 406).
Also, poverty levels in United States have usually increased. According to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau, around 16% of American lived in poverty. The number of low income working families rise from 10.2 million in 2010 to 10.4 million in 2011, representing nearly one third of all working families. The causes of poverty in America are poor economy, lack of education, Drug use, and single mother. One cause for poverty in America
I have not been able to pay down any of my principle and I have spent hundreds of hours on the phone with banks trying to help my situation. Just today I spend two hours on the telephone with my mortgage c... ... middle of paper ... ...t has occurred. Once the mortgage and housing industry has stabilized Congress should change the rules for new homeowners to receive loans. The new rules should to force homebuyers to have less of a debt to income ratio to qualify for a loan. Americans should not have a mortgage that is more than 35% of their income.