Alicia McCrary, a fast food worker and mother of four from Mason City, Iowa, gave the above statement during testimony at a U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee meeting in March of this year. Click here to see the video and Des Moines Register article about her testimony.
She was talking about the minimum wage in America: $7.25 per hour; $15,080 per year (full-time work); nearly $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.
For too many families in the United States, the minimum wage isn’t enough. I’ve often heard it described as “treading water”. With assistance, you have a chance at meeting your basic needs and staying “afloat” – but you never get ahead. There’s no way to prepare for the next “wave” which could sink you under.
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the HELP Committee, has helped champion a #RaisetheWage movement. This legislation would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. It’s a step toward lessening the growing income inequality in the United States. Over the last 30-40 years, the very wealthy have seen a skyrocketing increase in income while middle-class and low-wage earners have seen wages stagnate or decline. It’s not right.
Time to right that wrong, says Oxfam. Oxfam recently released a new report called “Working Poor in America” which contains some incredible, yet, easy to understand data on workers and pay in the United States. And, it’s disheartening. Over 25 million workers in the United States would see their wages improve as a result of a raising of the minimum wage. That’s 25 million people who would see greater disposable income to reinvest into our economy and less dependence on federal and state government aid. That’s 25 million people who will see their first raise since the last federal minimum wage increase in 2007.
As President Obama described it in his 2014 State of the Union address, “Nobody who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.” To workers like Alicia McCrary, achieving this real American Dream is when she can take pride in knowing that a hard day’s work means that she doesn’t have to decide between feeding her children and one day sending them off to college. Let’s #RaiseTheWage to #RightTheWrong for 25 million!
Click here to go to the White House’s #RaisetheWage movement and add your name to their list of persons demanding that Congress raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Tell 'em Oxfam sent ya!