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Why The Debate About A Livable Minimum Wage Matters

Why The Debate About A Livable Minimum Wage Matters

Do you get super excited and applaud when companies like Amazon raise their minimum wage to employees to $15 an hour? Since the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour and hasn’t risen since 2009, it seems like a commendable move. But have you done the math on that?

At $15 an hour, a full-time employee earns $31,200 a year or $2,600 a month pre-tax. Now consider she or he is a single-income household. With two children. In this example, let’s pretend these kids are not yet old enough for grade school. So in order for the parent to show up for this $15/hour job, they must pay for childcare – times two.

According to Child Care Aware of America, a national non-profit that advocates for affordable child care, the monthly cost of a four-year old and an infant in center-based child care in Washington state (Amazon is based in Seattle, after all), is currently $2,083.

How will they pay for rent, healthcare, groceries and other necessities – heaven forbid there be an emergency! – when they are already down to $517?

Even if there was only one child, the monthly cost is listed at $1,184 per month. That would leave $899. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Seattle is $2,109 per month. The neighborhood where Amazon’s headquarters is located? $1,900 for a one-bedroom apartment.

The YouTube video below does a nice job presenting the situation in a straightforward manner. Credit is also given to a company who has made the $15/hour wage commitment. Video length is approximately 7.5 minutes.

Poverty In America. Wait, What?

Have you ever wondered why so many people struggle to get out of poverty once they’re there, whether they were born in it or find themselves there later in life? I invite you to contemplate this scenario for a while and decide if you think $15/hour for full-time employment is so applaudable, especially from a company like Amazon that raked in over $230 BILLION last year.

That’s why at Good Bumblebee one of the Goodness Matrix characteristics we seek when evaluating new business relationships is whether or not a potential partner company's employees are paid a fair, livable wage. If one of our partners has made this commitment we want to "shout it from the rooftops" and show them some love!

I once heard a quote on a podcast that went something like this: “When you can go to the grocery store and not stress about it, you’ve made it to the middle class.” No full-time worker should have to stress about feeding themselves and their family in the richest country in the world.

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