The cost of not paying the average American worker a living-wage is costing everyone, including Republicans, billions in taxable income every year. Why don’t Republicans want to improve a poor man’s wages and get the consumer benefits a living wage would provide their businesses?
The average wage earner is passing wage loses onto the American taxpayer and the businesses they buy their goods from. A study focusing on fast-food workers wages and the taxes the workers are not paying showed: “from 2007 to 2011, the biggest public benefits programs spent $243 billion each year on working families who live in poverty or on the brink of it because their jobs pay so poorly, according to a study published Tuesday by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.”
Fast-food workers working an average of 30 hrs./wk cannot pay their bills without substantial government assistance from some important survival programs. ThinkProgress found that “Fast food workers and their families receive $7 billion per year in public assistance, $3.9 billion of it in the form of health care programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”
What does it mean to the average taxpayer when a single 300-employee Walmart Supercenter earns about a million dollars per year ? It means we are all losing money and must raise the average wage to at least $10.00 per hour. The median wage for fast food workers in the U.C. Berkeley study was $8.69 per hour. Strikes have spread across the country this summer as fast food and other low-wage retail employees demand livable wages.
The Daily Journal writes, “Voters are poised to hike the minimum wage to $8.25 even as businesses claim it’ll be a job killer.” To suggest that $8.69 is not considered a living wage, a lesser amount should be viewed as inconsequential. If a person is to pay their fair share of taxes, they need to make a wage that will elevate them above the poverty level.
The authors of the aforementioned University of California, Berkeley study, (ThinkProgress), “suggest that pushing fast food wages up would be a particularly effective way of both reducing poverty and shrinking taxpayers’ bill for public benefits programs. The industry can bear such increased labor costs because of the nature of the service business.”
To say that the wage-earner at the fast-food counter is a threat to the very business he makes money for is going in the wrong direction. Before a person can buy goods they need from a local business, they first need enough money to survive on a daily basis.
If the Republican business person wants the average worker to pay taxes and buy American goods, then they need to pay their worker a living wage and pull them out of poverty. A good living-wage is the key to America’s survival.
Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.