Who actually earns $7.25 an hour, that is, the federal minimum wage?
It turns out less than 1 percent of Americans are working on the books for minimum wage, or less. There’s a lower minimum for certain categories of workers like restaurant employees who earn tips.
There are about 3 million folks in the U. S. making minimum wage or less—all other workers are at higher pay scales in their companies or work in states that have set a higher minimum.
Who are these minimum wage folks? The WashingtonPost.com says most of them are “disproportionately young, female, part-time, Southern restaurant workers without a high school degree.” Half of them are under 25.
States with the highest percentages of minimum wage workers are Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
In case you’re wondering, 40 hours at minimum wage will put $290 (gross) on your pay stub—that’s about $15,000 a year before taxes.
Confession: I think the minimum wage laws are a bad idea. They distort normal calculations of economic value in the marketplace. I am inclined to support the notion that a business whose employees qualify for welfare should be required to reimburse taxpayers for those welfare payments—I don’t think it’s a stretch to argue that welfare payments enable those workers to avoid starving or skipping health checkups for their babies while accepting the low wages from the employer.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.