My young co-worker Erica lives with her boyfriend and goes to art school on scholarship. After 18 months at Kroger, she’s making Ohio’s minimum wage of $7.85 an hour. “When I’m not in class, I’m working. You know how some people talk about going from paycheck to paycheck? We go from dollar to dollar.”
In February, the president mentioned raising the federal hourly minimum to $9. This figure still is a ridiculous sum for the work demanded. I read an amusing little study recently estimating that if minimum wage had tracked with productivity over the last 30 years, a floral clerk at Kroger would start at $21.72 an hour.
A constituency exists for a conversation, as 28 percent of us earn minimum wage. But the system will not be roused. We move the earth to comfort banks and “job creators,” but it’s the height of bad taste in politics and governance and finance to give capital anything but the barest tap when it comes to compensating Erica.
How much easier to launch the usual artillery in Washington and the states over abortion and immigration, as they reliably angry up the blood and distract the mind from money. Corporate America found it child’s play to rob the middle class; sitting upon the minimum wage just reinforces exactly who is in charge around here.
Kroger made $1.5 billion last year, and none of that profit will go into the Harris Teeter deal – that’ll be $2.4 billion in pure debt. Meanwhile, Erica is struggling, again, and while she likes the floral department, she’s heard Chick-fil-A pays 15 cents more an hour for the night shift. In Working America, progress creeps along by the penny.
Causes Anne Saker Supports
Freedom of thought.