Aug 082016

School SuppliesSchool starts in Pinellas County this weekend where the nieces go to school. This was the shortened tax-free weekend, so continuing a long-standing tradition, me and Lay took the girls shopping for their school supplies.

We went to Target with their lists. One will be starting the 4th grade and the other the 5th, so the lists were pretty close to identical. We mostly purchased the cheaper non-brand name supplies in the bins in the “back to school” section, and at check out, the total was a little over $50.

We’re very lucky that the money doesn’t put a crimp in our budget. We’re not rich, but compared to many others, we’re certainly comfortable. However, on the way home we got into a discussion, when Lay asked, “How do people making at or near the minimum wage take care of kids?” I did some quick math in my head, and realized that a person making around $8.00/hour would have to work nearly four hours (half a work day), when you account for taxes, to pay for the school supplies for just one child.

And trust me on this, the list was for basic stuff. Notebook paper, pencils, glue sticks, a box of crayons, composition books…nothing extravagant. But for those of you who think raising the minimum wage is bad, consider if you had to work half a day, just to get the necessary school supplies for one of your children to start the school year.

The claim that it will kill jobs is ridiculous. People, if they are smart business people, employ the number of people required to do the job. Most don’t hire people just for the sake of head count. If I run a business, and it takes four people to run the business, I’ll employ four people. If I have to pay an extra one-half cent for a Big Mac, I can live with that, or maybe the CEO of McDonalds can take a $200k pay cut.

There are jurisdictions where the minimum wage has been raised to or near $15, and guess what, their local economies do better. Think about it. My person above, making the minimum wage not only has to work half a day for the money for the school supplies, but that’s $25 not spent somewhere else. Maybe it’s less food that week, so the grocery store makes less. Maybe it’s skipping a haircut, so the local barber makes less. People working at or near the minimum wage don’t have the luxury of saving. They spend their money…pretty much all of it, and they spend it locally. This puts more money into the stores surrounding them, thus increasing the demand for more workers.

Money in the hands of the 1% does not circulate. They can’t even imagine spending all they have. Money in the hands of the middle-class and poor circulates. Those people have to spend it to just get through the week. This is what greases the wheels of a robust economy. So stop with the whining about people at McDonald’s making more than an EMT. If an EMT can make more at McDonald’s, how long do think it will be before the EMT’s pay goes up, so the ambulance service can keep their EMTs. It is time to stop the ridiculous arguments that are started by the wealthy, to protect their absurd fortunes.

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