There’s going to be some math today, so you might as well pop your beer now. I have: A Barnaby golden lager from Wayfinder. It’s got a delightfully sourdough bread nose, but isn’t shy on the hop finish, either. This beer is solid but absolutely deserves hot dogs. The sloppy kind, with cheese and ketchup, because it will absolutely wash down that food like it should.
Minimum wage should be $35 an hour.
You may have seen this article floating around lately-it’s been running in my circles anyway. The TL;DR is this: in order to be content, Americans need to make about $75k a year.
That’s not happiness, which we’re promised the pursuit of, or even, one could argue, liberty. Since we’re entrenched in fiscal systems that do not assist us and designed to keep us in debt for life.
It’s just contentment. And I like contentment! Contentment would be good. It should be the obligation of our governance to provide us with a baseline that allows for contentment. We can get after happiness once that’s done.
Now you may wonder: what does this have to do with minimum wage being $35/hr? Because I’ll confess: I pulled that number out of thin air about a year and a half a go.
After reading (for the umpteenth time) that at least one-third of bankruptcies in this country could be directly attributed to healthcare costs. I have been reading this statistic for 25 years.
Reading that minimum wage hasn’t been a living wage since the late 1960’s.
Learning that you cannot survive on a single minimum wage job anywhere in America. And they’re now using the absolute fucking worst word to cheerfully obfuscate our overwork.
Hearing people beg for $15/hr.
I figured; fuck it, right? Let’s shoot the moon. Because the minimum wage is supposed to be a living wage: that was the whole point. If $35 doesn’t happen, hell, we’ll get $22 which isn’t what we wanted but pulls a bunch of people out of poverty and compromises are the foundation of any civil society. Right?
And there are always three loud and stupid objections to raising the minimum wage. The first is that “the country will shut down because businesses will go down”.
Which they’ve been saying since minimum wage got introduced. I’ve yet to see actual data that demonstrates the point. Also: people have been employed since the 1940’s. So historically it’s bullshit.
The second one is ‘but the cost of things will go up!’ To which I say; When I moved to Portland 25 years ago, I could afford an apartment on my own, working a barely above minimum wage job. One bedroom, living room, kitchen. It wasn’t huge, but I could do it on my own.
Now, I couldn’t get a tent for that. So spare me the notion that costs will go up. They always do.
Hell, a pint just went up a dollar everywhere to about $7. You can say “well, it’s the pandemic” but do you think it’s ever coming down?
The third one goes along the lines of, “well, people in Alabama (or insert other not California or New York State) don’t need that much money, because their cost of living is lower.”
Do you have any idea how poor Alabama citizens are? Do you want to solve poverty? PAY THEM. I hear money goes a long way towards solving that problem!
Let them have a chance at getting out from under poverty’s thumb. What do I give a fuck if someone in Alabama or Wyoming or West Virginia or even Springfield USA has a ‘better’ standard of living than I do because their rent is cheaper?
They don’t have to be poor. And a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So let’s make a stronger weakest link.
But, after I saw the article about the price of contentment, I decided to do some math. We’re going to use America’s barbaric system because that’s where I live. Here comes the math, buttercups, so drink up!
The hours Americans (should) work in one year is 2050. (40hrs x 52wks). This doesn’t exclude holidays but fuck it, holidays should be paid. Banks get paid. We should get paid.
Well, if we divide 75000 by 2050, do you want to guess the result?
36.59 (rounded up).
Well I’ll be damned.
Also; it’s worth noting that the $75k number? That came from a 2017 article. Before the worst economic downturn of our lives, aided and abetted by fascist plague spreaders.
That’s before noting that other countries are starting to implement 32 hour weeks. With paid vacations. And publicly funded health care. And publicly funded education.
So, welcome to my new slogan: Minimum wage should be $45/hr.
But I’ll accept $40. That’s fine.
Because we fucking deserve it.
Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.