Joe Biden is pushing to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, up from the current minimum of $7.25. While this is an improvement, it is completely inadequate. For a 40-hour work week, $15 per hour is equivalent to $31,200 per year. This is hardly a living wage. An MIT researcher calculated that a living wage in 2020 would be $16.54 per hour per adult in a family of four with two adults working. But even this insufficient reform of $15 per hour isn’t guaranteed, because our politicians are bickering over the impact a higher minimum wage will have on the availability of jobs.
The world’s billionaires have collectively gotten $1,900 billion (yes, that’s 1.9 trillion) richer during a pandemic. One particular now-hundred-billionaire, Elon Musk, has seen his net worth increase by over $150 billion over the last year. That is 4.8 million times the yearly income of $31,200 at $15 per hour. Let’s remember that this accumulation of wealth did not take place because Musk or other billionaires worked, or worked more; it was accumulated from the collective work of millions of working people scattered around the world! This wealth should not be theirs, but should be used to guarantee that no one should have to worry about finding a job in order to simply survive, or still have to worry about basic needs even with a job. It could be used to fund us while we look for productive work, and make sure we all have what we need. Why are our politicians considering solely this weak reform? Because they take for granted that the rich have the right to hoard this wealth. We do not believe this, and we are entitled to demand much more!