The $15 minimum wage a guarantee for descent into poverty and hopelessness

By Josh Resnek

The New year begins with Massachusetts becoming a mandatory $15 an hour minimum wage state. Think about this.
If you are an Everett head of household working a job in a fast food outlet, or a gas station, or in a super market, a hospital, an old age home or in any number of non-public service jobs, the $15 an hour guaranteed wage barely allows you to survive.

If you work a 40 hour week at $15 an hour, you don’t need to be a math whiz to estimate your income – $600 a week, before taxes are taken out.

The $600 gross becomes closer to $460 net. If you live in an apartment with your wife and two children at $1600 rent per month, this would leave you with about $240 for gas and electric, food, automobile, cell phone, Internet connection, heat and cable for the flat screen.

Bottom line, at the minimum wage working 40 hours a week, the most likely possibilities are poverty and constant economic worry.

There is no survival for the weary working minimum wage jobs in Massachusetts, or just about anywhere these days across the nation.

Now let’s say there are two minimum wage workers in the family, the mother and the father, working a total of 80 hours a week and taking home $920 a week.

This totals $3680 a month.

Subtract the rent of $1600 and this leaves $2080 to fund food, electric, gas, automobile, cell phone, Internet, and cable.

Food alone for a family of four costs at least $200 a week or more. A family of four living on a food budget of $200 a week will be eating a great deal of potatoes and rice.

Subtract the $800 food cost from the two person minimum wage income proforma and this leaves $1280.

That $1280 is to be used to keep the electric and gas on and to heat your apartment. Subtract at least $250.

This leaves $1030.

Heating the apartment alone during a New England winter will cost hundreds of dollars. Let’s call it $300 for a month.

That won’t even buy 60 gallons of heating oil if you heat by oil.

Let’s say you use a tank of gasoline once a week.

That’s $40 or 160 for the month.

Subtract from the remaining $570 the cost for cell phone – at least $70 dollars a month for two phones, $150 a month to run an automobile and to insure it (assuming you owe no money on the car), Internet at $75, cable at $100 and this leaves approximately $170.

With that $170 dollars the family of four is expected to buy clothing, shoes, and boots, to celebrate Christmas, to pay for religious instruction, to celebrate birthdays and holidays and for all the things that happen to all the families struggling on this earth, which includes money for medical expenses not covered by insurance and medications and for taking out the family, if you can imagine.

Bottom line, the $15 minimum wage has been a long time coming.

However, with inflation running amuck, it leaves nearly all those receiving the minimum wage no choice but the welfare office, the food line, and dooms them to economic lives of futility.

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