The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Minimum wage is real poverty

Dec 15, 2003

The federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour has stayed the same for six years. Of course, the price of basic necessities has not stayed the same. As a result, the minimum wage today buys 14% less than it did six years ago.

The gap between the wealth of the richest U.S. capitalists and the working poor has always been great. Today it is enormous! Bill Gates of Microsoft is worth 46 BILLION dollars; investor Warren Buffet is worth 36 billion dollars; the family that owns Wal-Mart is worth 100 billion dollars.

How did they get so much wealth? They stole it from the labor of the working class. And workers who earn the minimum wage have especially helped these bosses to accumulate so much wealth.

Even by the U.S. government's determination of poverty – which really understates the problem – minimum wage workers are losing ground. The current poverty rate for a family of four is a little over $18,000. Someone working full time at minimum wage gets only a little more than half of that, $10,500 a year.

Today's minimum wage is in fact a misnomer. It represents less than an acceptable minimum by anyone's standards who lives in the modern world.