As of this writing the minimum wage stands at $5.15 an hour
related labor in the United States. This has not been changed since 1998. There has been increasing debate on raising the minimum wage since it’s been so long since the last increase. Since this probably isn't going to happen any time soon on the federal level some states have taken it upon themselves to raise the minimum wage. In my state, Pennsylvania
, the idea is to raise it it to $7.25 an hour and then peg it to inflation thereafter. Most entry level service jobs in my city, Pittsburgh
, pay much less than this, right now most places start at $6.00 an hour. So such a raise would be most welcome by many people including myself. Personally, I want a job that pays at least $7.00 an hour to make ends meet. I've refused to consider any job that pays substantially lower than this and as luck would have it, I haven't been able to find a job for several months. I'm also a bit picky; I won't work in fast food ever again. I'd rather be homeless
, and at the end of the month I just might be.
Why am I going off about my problems? Because none of my friends wants to listen to me complain anymore that's why!
But more to the point: The capitalist system of a free labor market only exists in reality if you are comfortable with the idea of being homeless. I am, but most people aren't. Most people would take that $6.00 an hour job, or even worse that $5.15 an hour job as a cashier at Giant Eagle rather than be homeless.
The minimum wage is a manifestation of the fear of making a living a different way; a fear of living outside of the capitalist wage labor system. If wages aren't regularly raised, there is a bigger chance that people might abandon the system for something that works. But that's not the whole truth, its not an exclusively bourgeoisie fear. The minimum wage is the end result of a negotiation between the owners of capital and the sellers of labor. It is the product of a mutual fear of being left in the cold outside of the system.
The homeless are here to scare you; you too can sink this low! You too can be despised and ridiculed by society! But I'm not afraid! I'll let ya'll in on a secret: you don't need a job to survive.
I won't let fear take away my dignity and work for next to nothing pushing hamburgers and frosties. What dignity you may ask? You haven't showered in weeks! You SMELL! Women won't speak to you! You eat out of the garbage! You wander around all day doing nothing! You have no dignity!
But at the end of the day, I know that my life is a choice.