Friday, April 28, 2006

A Living Wage

Make Work Pay!

I know. It's a crazy idea. Actually paying people enough to support their families? It'll never catch on. Only, wait, wasn't that the big deal about that idyllic time "the 50s"? Because the man of the house was earning enough, and had employer-provided insurance, the family could afford to keep one person at home baking cookies, and still plan on sending the kids off to college.

Why isn't this a huge issue? Ever since Reagan and his folksy racist anecdotes about "welfare queens" we've acted as if the only thing stopping anyone from succeeding was sheer laziness. Even Clinton bought into the whole blame-the-victim attack on poverty, introducing welfare "reform"that threw people off the rolls if, for example, they should be so foolish as to expect their job earnings to exceed their daycare cost.

You know what's the matter with Kansas? A minimum wage of $2.65. Anyone who thinks an adult can live on $5512 a year, let alone support a family, has to believe in divine intervention. Even generous blue state minimums of six or seven dollars an hour don't come close to realistic, though.

According to the NC Justice Center

a living wage in North Carolina is $12.32 an hour, full-time and year-round
Contrast the federal minimum wage, which hasn't changed in nine years, with the increases Congress has given itself:

During the same period, Congress has given itself eight cost of living pay increases
increasing their incomes by $31,600.

Thirty-five percent of workers who receive a minimum wage are their families’ sole earners. Sixty-one percent are women, and almost one-third of those women are raising children.
NC's State Treasurer is pushing for a $1.00 an hour raise in the minimum. It's not enough, but it's a start. If you're a resident, drop a note to Richard H. Moore, or call him, or send him a fax, to let him know you care:
325 North Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27603-1385
Phone (919) 508-5176
Fax (919) 508-5167


spuffyduds said...


Sweet fancy Moses. It was $3.35 in North Carolina in 1984!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

$2.65??? I started at $4.00 in a CT bookstrore in 1983!

Kaethe said...

Yeah, $2.65 is pretty horrifying, isn't it? I made $4.00 an hour babysitting in highschool, watching Dallas after the kid was asleep. The first season.

Let me just say, I adore "sweet fancy Moses" as an expletive.