They compared Wall Street bonuses to the total earnings of every minimum wage worker. Oh, it's sad.

In 2014, Wall Street bonuses totaled $28.5 billion.

First, congratulations, Wall Street! I'm sure you really earned each and every dollar. Now let's break that down to a figure the rest of us can wrap our heads around. According to the New York State comptroller, Wall Street employees (167,800 of them, to be exact) received an average bonus of $172,860.


My math put it at just shy of $170,000, but when you're rolling like that, what's a few thousand dollars? Especially considering this figure doesn't include their salaries, which are almost certainly very generous. But hey, they're doing God's work.

Meanwhile, in the vast land of minimum wages, a million workers earned about half as much as Wall Street made in bonuses alone.

The average Wall Street bonus is three times higher than the median U.S. household income.

While those 1 million minimum wage employees also include tipped workers who are probably earning more than the federal minimum, let's be real: A server's earnings are a far cry from a six-figure bonus on top of a six-figure salary.

$28.5 billion would be more than enough to pay living wages to millions of low-wage workers.

If the term "living wage" is new to you, here's the short of it:

A living wage is "an approximate income needed to meet a family's basic needs." Today's minimum wage doesn't even come close. According to MIT's living wage calculator website:

"The minimum wage does not provide a living wage for most American families. A typical family of four (two working adults, two children) needs to work more than 3 full-time minimum-wage jobs (a 68-hour work week per working adult) to earn a living wage."

Putting more money in the pockets of low-wage workers does more for the overall economy than Wall Street bonuses.

Before we dig in, try to put yourself in the shoes of a Wall Street worker. What are you going to buy with that $170,000 bonus? Remember, this is just extra cash on top of your salary, and all of your basic needs are well taken care of. And how much of it are you actually going to spend? Got some stuff in mind? OK, hold that thought.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of a minimum wage worker. What are you going to buy with that paycheck? Remember, housing costs will put a big dent in your finances. Then there's your utilities, and you have to eat, right? Oh, and if you have a family, it's probably dwindling even more quickly. See where I'm going with this?

The Institute for Policy Studies writes:

"Wall Street bonus season may coincide with an uptick in luxury goods sales, but a raise in the minimum wage would give America's economy a much greater boost. To meet basic needs, low-wage workers tend to spend nearly every dollar they make. The wealthy can afford to squirrel away more of their earnings. All those dollars low-wage workers spend create an economic ripple effect."

What would happen if that $28.5 billion went to low-wage workers instead?

We already know that minimum wages are barely, if at all, providing the lowest earners with what they need to get by. A modest boost in their wages from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $15 an hour would allow them to more fully meet their needs, and that spending would stimulate the economy.

The person with an extra $170,000 on hand isn't likely to spend it all because, well, there's only so much a human being needs. Sure, that might fund a vacation home, a boat, maybe some expensive trinkets — but for the most part, it just becomes accumulated wealth. And stockpiled cash does nothing for the economy.

"Every extra dollar going into the pockets of a high-income American only adds about $0.39 to the GDP. By contrast, every extra dollar going into the pockets of low-wage workers adds about $1.21 to the national economy. These pennies add up considerably on $28.5 billion in earnings."

Considerably, indeed. A wage increase totaling $28.5 billion to minimum wage workers would boost the country's gross domestic product by three times as much as the same amount going to people who are already well-off, like Wall Street employees.

Raising the minimum wage to a living wage serves everyone's interests — even the short-sighted people who would argue otherwise.

And lastly, consider this: Those massive Wall Street bonuses? Those are rewards for exactly the kind of risky decisions that tanked the economy in 2008. Doesn't that seem a little backward for a country that says it values an honest day's work?

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via The Walt Disney Company / Flickr

One of the ways to tell if you're in a healthy relationship is whether you and your partner are free to talk about other people you find attractive. For many couples, bringing up such a sensitive topic can cause some major jealousy.

Of course, there's a healthy way to approach such a potentially dangerous topic.

Telling your partner you find someone else attractive shouldn't be about making them feel jealous. It's probably also best that if you're attracted to a coworker, friend, or their sibling, that you keep it to yourself.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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