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. Making $206/week, one brings home about $824/month. Adding 17 gallons of gas at $2.20 a gallon in a car; the cost ends up to be about $38 a week, $152/month. The gas and electricity bill about $120, $50 for cable, $147 for property taxes, $45 for the telephone bill, $25 for water, and $42 for house insurance. All this totals about $580 (Abrams, H). Making it difficult to afford cable, and make the smallest payment possible on all the bills causing one to slip into debt. This is reality for many of the people in the United States. At the current minimum wage level, a full time, year round minimum wage worker in 2005 will earn $5,378 less than the $16,090 needed to lift a family of three out of poverty (Minimum).
Today the federal minimum wage is $5.15, but should be about $8.50 if Congress had adjusted it for inflation over the past 35 years. While $5.15 may not seen that bad, when factoring in such variables as sky rocketing gas prices, budgets can get pretty tight. David Shepard, a sophomore at Wayne State University, worked at a Meijer Retail and Grocery Superstore for over two years while in high school. At the time Shepard lived with his parents and didn’t have to worry about paying rent or buying groceries, all that he had to pay for was filling up his gas tank and paying for his car insurance. Shepard recalled, “It was all I could do to pay for the basics like gas and bill’s, I barely had any money to have fun on the weekends”. This is only an example of a high school student that can nearly slip by on minimum wage with only a few expenses. There are 1.8 million people in America with children under the age of 18 that would benefit from an increase in minimum wage (Minimum).