Don’t think the minimum wage increase to an eventual $15 per hour will lead to a better lifestyle for the minimum-wage crowd nor change their tax bracket.
The more people make, the more the cost of living goes up. Take a Big Mac, which cost 99 cents in 1978. The famous sandwich hasn’t gotten any bigger or any better but today costs five times as much. Try and swallow that the next time you reach to spend half an hour of your current minimum wage with no fries or drink.
In 1976, the minimum wage was $2.30 an hour. On average, the price of a new house was $43,400, worker’s annual income was $16,000, monthly rent was $220 and a gallon of gas cost 59 cents.
By 1978, the minimum wage had gone up to $3.75 an hour. On average, the price of a new house had gone up $11,000 compared to 1976, to $54,000; monthly rent went up $40, to $260; and a gallon of gas went up 4 cents, to 63 cents. All this happened while the average worker’s income only went up $1,000, to $17,000.
When I was six years old, a Hostess cupcake (same size, same package as today) cost 50 cents and a pack of Now or Laters candy was 10 cents. The first fare to ride the city bus I can remember was 80 cents.
As the years went by, the minimum wage increased: $4.25, $4.75, $5, $6 and so on until today’s $10 per hour in California.
In 1976, my mother bought her own home, on her own through hard work for around $75,000. One of the most expensive American cars, the Lincoln Continental, was $12,000.
Fast forward to 2016, my mother’s house, without any upgrades, is valued at $300,000. The most expensive car, the Bugatti Veyron, costs well over $1 million. A Hostess cupcake? Almost $2. And we all know how the price of gas has at least quadrupled.
This is why I have great reservation for this so-called “raise.”
From my experience, the raise doesn’t only apply to the hourly amount we receive. Face it, employers are not going to lessen their profit margin thus complicating the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. So come to terms with the fact that the raise will be passed on to consumers and there will be layoffs and downsizing, doubling to tripling the employee workload.
What message is this sending to those to our military, those who protect and defend our country and freedom? How motivated will managers be when they are making just as much as the last person hired?
The more we make, the more things we’re trying to obtain will cost. Don’t give up that second job quite yet; you may just be needing that $30 an hour.