A maverick CEO raised the minimum wage at his company to $70K and now he's doing it again
via Twitter / Leo The Dragon King

The federal minimum wage in the United States is a paltry $7.25 and it hasn't gone up since 2009.

"It's not acceptable," Holly Sklar, CEO of the advocacy group Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, told CNBC. "The whole point of the minimum wage is to have it go up regularly. It shouldn't sit still every year when the cost of living is going up. The minimum wage is losing value."

Data shows that in 1968, the federal minimum was equivalent to $10.90 in 2015 dollars, nearly $4 higher than today's rate.

Opponents to an increase in the minimum wage often claim that only teenagers make minimum wage; therefore, there's no need for it to be raised.


However, nothing is further from the truth. According to The New York Times, the average minimum wage earner is is 35, and 88% are at least 20 years old. Half are older than 30, and about a third are at least 40.

via AFL-CIO / Flickr

A low minimum wage keeps people living below the poverty line and increases the need for public assistance.

RELATED: This debate over the minimum-wage is going viral after a blunt commenter set the record straight

According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 60% of all workers in the bottom tenth of wage earners (those paid less than $7.42 per hour) receive some form of government-provided assistance, either directly or through a family member.

So basically, the taxpayers are subsidizing employers who refuse to pay workers a living wage.

Back in 2015, Dan Price made headlines for raising the minimum wage at his Seattle-based company, Gravity Payments, to $70,000 a year. It all started after an employee making $35,000 challenged him for paying market rates.

"You brag about how financially disciplined you are, but that just translates into me not making enough money to live a decent life," the employee said.

The move doubled the pay of about 30 of his workers and gave an additional 40 significant raises. After drastically improving his employees pay, productivity and worker retention rates skyrocketed.

RELATED: One viral thread perfectly shares the painful reality of why poorer families buy junk food

"I want the scorecard we have as business leaders to be not about money, but about purpose, impact, and service. I want those to be the things that we judge ourselves on," he said at the time.

Now, Price has done it again.

Three years ago, Price's company acquired ChargeItPro, in Boise, Idaho and it was recently re-branded Gravity Payments. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Price announced that the new Boise office would also have a minimum wage of $70,000.

"This morning we cut the ribbon on the new @GravityPymts Boise office AND announced that all of our employees here will start earning our $70k min salary," Price announced on Twitter. "I'm so grateful to work with this amazing team and to be able to compensate them for the value they bring to our community."

While this sort of generosity seems like nothing more than an outlier story, the idea that the bottom line shouldn't be a company's main focus is gaining some steam.

The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers of nearly 200 major U.S. corporations, issued a statement in August with a new definition of the "purpose of a corporation."

Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity. We believe the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.

It also said:

Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.
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Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.