More

Some people think the minimum wage should be $15. Let's see how it stacks up to the current minimum.

Here are two workers. One earns today's minimum wage of $7.25. The other lives in a hypothetical happy land where the minimum wage is $15.

Some people think the minimum wage should be $15. Let's see how it stacks up to the current minimum.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

That's about $15,080 per year (before taxes).


Image via Fight for $15.

A lot of people think we should raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

That's about $31,200 per year (also before taxes). Now, how big of a deal is that extra $7.75 an hour? Let's find out.

We'll start with the monthly costs of just a few basic living expenses. And to keep things simple, we'll focus on the average costs for a single person.

BIG DISCLAIMER: Everyone's experience is different. These are crudely assembled hypothetical scenarios to help us simply consider the relative impact of a $15 minimum wage.

FOOD: The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the food costs for a single man are $188 to $373 per month. The range for single women is $167 to $331 per month. Since I'm a guy, I'll just use that figure. (No offense, ladies.) And let's assume some serious penny-pinching here by going with the low end.

HOUSING: There's a general rule of thumb that affordable housing should be no more than one-third of a person's income. That's getting harder to achieve in an age of flat (or declining) incomes and skyrocketing housing costs, but let's just run with it for the sake of comparison.

FUEL: The average consumer spent just over $2,400 on gasoline in 2013, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey (divided by 12 months).

Food, housing, and fuel costs alone soaked up nearly two-thirds (64%) of the monthly earnings of the $7.25-an-hour worker.

The $15-an-hour worker spent less than half (48%) of their income on the same needs.

Again, this is PRE-TAX. So these figures are a little more generous than the reality. But food, housing, and fuel aren't the only things we spend money on, right?

We have utilities, phone bills, car payments, insurance premiums, and medical bills. We pay for all sorts of small necessities that can really add up. And if you do have a family, then you definitely don't need me to tell you that raising a kid is not cheap.

And what about savings and planning for a better future — that whole "pursuit of happiness" thing? It's looking pretty impossible on $7.25 an hour.

Damn you, Skipper! Image via KnowYourMeme.

A $15 minimum wage would lift millions of people out of poverty.

But it wouldn't just be a win for the workers — it would be for all U.S. taxpayers:

  • According to Americans for Tax Fairness, "Walmart pays its employees so little that many of them rely on food stamps, health care and other taxpayer-funded programs" — to the tune of $6.2 billion a year.

Call me old-fashioned, but an honest day's work should provide for everything workers need now with some left for their future — not leave them grasping for welfare straws.

If you agree, share this post and join the fight for $15.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less
via Amelia J / Twitter

Election Day is a special occasion where Americans of all walks of life come together to collectively make important decisions about the country's future. Although we do it together as a community, it's usually a pretty formal affair.

People tend to stand quietly in line, clutching their voter guides. Politics can be a touchy subject, so most usually stand in line like they're waiting to have their number called at the DMV.

However, a group of voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received a lot of love on social media on Sunday for bringing a newfound sense of joy to the voting process.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less

Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

Keep Reading Show less