I am sick and tired of people complaining about not being able to earn a living wage. That is a lie! Anyone who is willing to work in this country can earn a living wage — even at minimum wage. This means society does not owe them anything. Those who are able-bodied and do not want to work do not deserve any support from society. Leave them to their own resources. This leaves us with those few, those very few who are truly without any means of supporting themselves. They are the ones to whom society has a duty to help, and even then, only to a certain degree. Now, if any of this offends you, tough: it just means that it is very likely you are on the wrong side of right where this issue is concerned. But that is not entirely your fault. It is by design. The people pushing the ‘living wage’ lie want you to think you can’t make it because they want you to stay dependent on them. This keeps them in power and provides them with the political means to pay for the whole system of extortion they have created. Now, if you doubt me on any of this, I challenge you to keep reading. I’m going to apply some ‘tough-love’ and explain how the real world works for you. Stay with me and you may just discover that you have fallen for a lie. On the other hand, you might also discover that you are happy to hold to this lie because you are happy to be part of the system of graft and corruption which supports you. Which will it be?
First things first: what do we owe each other? Well this is what the Apostle, Paul, says that Christians owe each other, and if it is good enough for God’s people, I suppose it should be good enough for me:
1 Timothy 6:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
8 If we have food and covering [clothing], with these we shall be content.
WOW! Did you know that this is all God requires us to provide each other? Well, we could make a case that we should do this and also care for the sick (not provide medical treatments for, but to care for — take care of) and to visit those in jail. But these are the only things God says we require. Still, I am going to be generous and say we need shelter, as well. So we’ll add that requirement to our list of needs. This is what it costs to live: food, clothing and shelter. SO, let’s see how much that really is.
First, my wife feeds a family of four on about $300/month. I am going to be generous and allow $150/month to feed one person. Plan your meals, do not buy extras and do not buy expensive foods. Fill your belly. That’s the goal. You can do it for $150/month. I know, I have seen it done.
Clothing is a cumulative thing. If you buy a piece here and a piece there, shop smart and buy only what you need, you can stay warm, dry and in decent looking clothes for about $50/month. Again, I know: I do that now.
Shelter does not mean what many of us think it means. Shelter means you are out of the weather, have a place for your things, a place to prepare meals and a bathroom. In fact, this is a bit more than the absolute minimums, but we’ll keep it. I did a quick search and found a nice, used travel trailer on EBay for $8,500. There were others selling for less, but this one had a kitchen, bathroom, pull-out living/dinning area and slept 4. I used a loan calculator, and over 5 years at 10% interest (I bet you can get better terms), I discovered that decent shelter can be had for $180/month.
I have a buddy who actually lives this way. He rents a lot that includes garbage and water. It runs him $100/month. His electric costs him about $80/month. You do not need TV or a phone or the Internet — period! NO! You don’t. While you are at it, so long as you are making minimum wage, you do not need to get married, have children or even date. You can’t afford any of that — not yet.
So what does it cost to live? Well, add it all up and we need $560.00/month. But we also need to get to work. Whether you like it or not, Wal-Mart is your friend. A good bicycle is going to run you about $150 and you’re done. No more expense. So, nothing/month for transportation. We still need only $560/month.
Now, thanks to the government everyone looks to for solutions, you can’t find a 40 hour/week job anymore. So we are going to find 2 jobs at 25 hours/week. Yes, it sucks, but that’s tough. You either work to survive or you starve to death. No one owes you your living. Deal with it. This means — at minimum wage — we will make $407.50/week (before taxes). There are 4 weeks in a month, folks. This means we can make $1,630/month (before taxes). But we only need $560/month to live. That is only 34% of our pre-tax income! In means we still have $1,070/month to spend (pre-tax). This means, if it were not for the taxes, minimum wage can support three people living by themselves!
You see, the problem is two-fold. First, the people pushing this lie about minimum wage not providing a ‘living wage’ are doing it for their own benefit — not yours. They make money by pushing for minimum wage increases. Some do it because they are union, and their contracts include automatic raises when the minimum wage goes up. Government makes more through taxes, especially your FICA tax. And everyone in the racket makes money by extorting the businesses so they can pay you to vote for them so they will raise the minimum wage again so you can make another few pennies — which you will waste anyway — so that they can repeat the cycle all over. For big business and government, this is all designed to keep them rich and you poor and to make you so angry at the two of them that you do not see you are being held in slavery.
But this only works because we are greedy. If we did not covet the things others have, if we did not covet a life we cannot afford, we would not buy the ‘living wage’ lie. There was a time in this nation when this was the case: people were taught to work for what they wanted and to be content with what they were able to earn. But the big business/big government cartel came along and destroyed that ethic in this nation. Now we think television, cell phones and the Internet are ‘rights.’ They are not! They are luxuries just as much as fancy cars and food are luxuries. The problem is we are a spoiled people living in a nation that is so wealthy, even our poor are middle class by the rest of the world’s standards. So we think that ‘living wage’ means ‘middle class.’ It does not. A ‘living wage’ means earning enough to stay fed, clothed and out of the weather — no more.
Now, here’s the other little secret to this whole lie, and I’ll throw it in for free. In the vast majority of cases, poverty is the result of culture. Don’t object, because it is true. In the case we just made, we are making $1,070 more than we need to survive. Most people would take that money and pay for the TV, cell phone and Internet, or other luxuries. This is why they stay poor: they consume everything they make — often times, more than they make. But the person who invests that extra money in savings so they can save up enough to start a business, or who save up for technical training in a profession such as automotive repair, or as an electrician: that person will quickly work their way into a job paying many times more than minimum wage. But this reflects two different cultures. One sees only today, and seeks immediate pleasure. This is poverty, and it is often self-centered. But the investor — though he or she may still be self-centered — they plan for and invest in the future. Unlike poverty, the investor can delay gratification. This is why and how they usually succeed, and why — if we gave everyone in this nation $1 million — the investor will find a way to earn it from the poverty mentality who will frivolously throw it away. And there is the crack that the big business/big government cartel needs. At this point, they step in and tell the poverty culture that it is not their habits that make them poor, but the saver who ‘stole’ their money from them. And the Socialism cycle begins, and the nations slow drift into bankruptcy and ruin begins right along with it. Just ask Greece. They honest ones will tell you this is exactly how the real world works.