You read that correctly. Some people, like blogger Kara Jillian Brown, are advocating for a $24 minimum wage. My goodness!
“For 2020, workers need to make a minimum of $19.56 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment or $23.96 per hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment. Keeping in mind that a full-time job is 40 hours per week, the average minimum wage worker needs to work 97 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom rental or 79 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental.”
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour of work. A 331% increase is not only outrageous, but outright insane.
However, what if $7.25 was not the real minimum wage? That number is the absolute floor of what an employer can pay. Thanks to state legislatures, many areas offer minimum wages that are significantly higher. For instance, look at Washington, whose minimum wage was increased to $13.50 this year. Washington’s most well-known city, Seattle, offers a $15.75 minimum for businesses with 500 or fewer employees, and $16.39 for businesses with more than 500 employees. California has a $13 minimum with many of its cities offering at least $2 more on top of that. Chicago’s minimum wage will be $15 per hour by the year 2021.
Now, any person with an IQ over cold hot dog water realizes that an increased minimum wage has drastic effects. In areas where wages increased, 43% of businesses had to let workers go and 64% had to reduce employees’ hours. Wage increases have really hit the restaurant industry hard in those areas. 71% of restaurants had to increase menu prices and 1 out of 10 had to completely shut down operations.
There is also a self-accountability factor here.
Americans partake in some expensive habits. Alcohol sales in this country are jaw-dropping. 2018 saw a 5.1% increase in alcohol sales, with a grand total of $253.8 billion. In 2019, the lowest monthly total for alcohol sales was in February with $4.11 billion.
In December, probably in part to the Christmas holiday, sales ballooned to over $6.6 billion.
Online alcohol sales have picked up, as well. In 2019, Americans spent $295 million on e-commerce beer, wine, and liquor, a 115% increase since 2017. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol sales continue to spike upward.
Americans also fancy fast food. The quick service restaurant (QSR) industry brought in roughly $273 billion in revenue in 2019. McDonald’s alone generated over $21 billion. That might be in large part to their french fries, as the average American consumes nearly 30 pounds of the vegetable per year.
Imagine how much more money would be in the pockets of citizens if they were to cut back on alcohol and fast food consumption. More Americans could dig themselves out of debt quicker, have more money to buy a home instead of renting, and possibly eliminate the need for ridiculous minimum wage increases.