“Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” — James Baldwin
I’m not poor, but I’m not rich; according to my W2, I’m middle-class. I’ve never had sleep for dinner, but I’m very familiar with poverty because I’ve witnessed it firsthand. In my neighborhood, nobody was “fly on your eyeball, too weak to blink, dying of starvation, Save the Children poor,” but there were a lot of third-time hand-me-downs and kids rocking with Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo well after the first PlayStation was on the market. I’m not making this plea for myself, but instead for the families that have to postpone Christmas until tax time, and the folks working two jobs just to keep the lights on, instead of those trying to keep up with the Joneses.
What’s the plea? The minimum wage needs to be raised to $15.
First, let’s start with a little history. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, drafted by Alabama Sen. Hugo Black, established the national minimum wage of 40 cents per hour, time and a half for overtime, and the standard 40-hour workweek; it also prohibited child labor that could be deemed oppressive. This was a big deal because it was the beginning of the nation’s financial rebound that President Herbert Hoover failed to deliver with his “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” spiel. The FLSA actually ended sweatshop labor in the United States. (Before women and children in Taiwan were whipping up shirts in dimly lit warehouses, women and children were doing it in dimly lit warehouses in Brooklyn.) The purpose of creating a minimum wage was to put an end to unfair wage practices, and […]