I'd like to take this time to laugh, just a little bit, at our country's collective lack of understanding of basic economics. Ha ha. Ha ha ha.
Please, go read this. I'll wait.
Back? Good. Feel better already? Shaking of the dust of a few years of incessant beating about the shoulders by the MSM can really lighten the load of a capitalist, profit-loving pig. Moving on:
- Minimum wage workers tend to be young. About half of workers earning $5.15 or less were under age 25, and about one-fourth of workers earning at or below the minimum wage were age 16-19. Among employed teenagers, about 9 percent earned $5.15 or less. About 2 percent of workers age 25 and over earned the minimum wage or less. Among those age 65 and over, the proportion was about 3 percent. (See table 1 and table 7.)
- Never-married workers, who tend to be young, were more likely to earn the minimum wage or less than married workers. (See table 8.)
This can put to rest those horrified "family of three" scenarios.
- Among hourly-paid workers age 16 and over, 2 percent of those who had a high school diploma but had not gone on to college earned the minimum wage or less. (See table 6.)
- Part-time workers (persons who usually work less than 35 hours per week) were more likely than their full-time counterparts to be paid $5.15 or less (about 6 percent versus 1 percent). (See table 1 and table 9.)
- The industry with the highest proportion of workers with reported hourly wages at or below $5.15 was leisure and hospitality (about 14 percent). About three-fifths of all workers paid at or below the Federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, primarily in the food services and drinking places component. For many of these workers, tips and commissions supplement the hourly wages received. (See table 5.)
Based on these lovely, lovely numbers I'll go ahead and answer an earlier post:
Saying that one class gains only at the expense of another is silly. If that were the case, the upper and lower classes would be completely static, and the middle class would not exist at all. In fact, I'll go one step further and say that on the global average, there is no poor class in America. I'll write it out one more time in case you skipped the last bit -- poor people. Do. Not. Exist. At least, not the poor that the left-wing socialist wants you to believe in.
Most of the folks who are "poor" in this country are transient poor. That is to say, young folks just starting off. They quickly rise up out of their entry level positions and start earning money, paying taxes, and being productive like the rest of us. The utterly stagnant, downtrodden, depressed social class simply isn't here in America.
What the left says sounds great, and its really heartbreaking, but its just not true. People who are willing to work as hard as is described (working their A** off for Ramen) do not stay poor. People who are content with their lot in life do -- and you can't force people to want to achieve. People who are poor are poor by choice, whether a conscious one or not. Lazy people are poor. Hard workers are not. For instance, you can go get a job, right now, today, at a Discount Tire and make $10, full time. Thats very nearly $20,000 a year, which is above "poverty line". Unemployment is low, the jobs are out there. Housing is booming; I guarantee you can find work on a framing crew if you can drive a nail. And I bet there are ranches that will hire a good, honest hard-working American. Failing that, you can take out a loan, go get a two year degree and become a welder (currently paying $25+/hr in the Houston area) or a machinist (likewise, $20+/hr).
Anyone who is poor at this point is poor by the weight of their own decisions, not that of an unfair or broken system.