Yesterday, in about 50 cities, fast food workers were on strike seeking higher wages and the right to unionize. The average worker makes the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That’s a little over $15,000.00 a year BEFORE taxes and health insurance payments. How in the world can people live on that? I am outraged by all the companies that pay only the minimum wage and am discouraged that the minimum wage is so low. These people are living below the poverty line and struggling to survive every day. They are asking for $15.00 an hour which sounds like quite a jump but I support their efforts and, although it’s a slim chance, hope they get what they want.
Of course I realize that if the companies give them a raise it will mean they will pass on the extra cost to the customers – that’s how big business gets to be big business. I saw a news report, however, that stated it would mean only a $.65 increase to the cost of a big mac. I think we can afford that in order to give people a better life. And perhaps, if people feel that $.65 increase is too much, they will make better food choices so we can also fight the epidemic of obesity. I know, I know, it’s not that simple. I also know that some low income people choose fast food because, many times, it’s more affordable than a balanced meal. But I still feel the slight increase in price is worth it if it means our fellow citizens can live easier lives as far as money is concerned. We really need to revisit minimum wage and make sure it is set at a level that helps ensure people are able to breathe easier. So many people are one or two paychecks away from being homeless. The programs that support the homeless population are expensive so either we pay a little now or a lot later. I vote for making a positive change NOW. We all do better when we all do better.