Why Should We Fight For a Livable Minimum Wage?
Even though the focus is off of him these days, during Bernie Sanders's run for presidency, one of the things we heard over and over was, "raise minimum wage, raise minimum wage!" In fact, one of the Vermont Senator's most applauded proposals was raising national minimum wage from its current amount of $7.25/hr to $15/hr. Numerous officials have argued $15 is the bare minimum for an actual livable wage, the current minimum ($15,000 annually) falling well below the nation's poverty standard for a family of four ($23,000 annually). Across the board this election politicians were reticent to support enacting a federal living wage. In fact, a 2013 Gallup poll found that 76% of Americans support raising minimum wage, so why isn't it happening? We wanted to track why minimum wage was such a big deal among Bernie Sanders supporters, the history behind minimum wage, and what an increase could mean for you and the rest of America.
Minimum wage was not enacted in America until 1938 (pretty late when you consider New Zealand first passed a law concerning the matter in 1894 and the U.K. passed one in 1909). It came about as part of the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, in bringing America out of The Great Depression, passed a host of bills that today's Republicans would probably deem "socialist." It may surprise you to read that, when adjusted for inflation, the 1968 minimum wage worker made around 10.75 an hour—much more than today's minimum wage worker.
Below is a tracking of each minimum wage increase in America (courtesy of Time.com):
October 1938 (FDR): $0.25/hr ($4.15/hr in 2014 dollars)
October 1939 (FDR): $0.30/hr ($5.05/hr)
October 1945 (Truman): $0.40/hr ($5.20/hr)
January 1950 (Truman): $0.75/hr ($7.29/hr)
March 1956 (Eisenhower): $1/hr ($8.61/hr)
September 1961 (Kennedy): $1.16/hr ($8.97/hr)
September 1963 (Kennedy): $1.25/hr ($9.56/hr)
February 1967 (Johnson): $1.40/hr ($9.80/hr)
February 1968 (Johnson): $1.60/hr ($10.75/hr)
May 1974 (Nixon): $2/hr ($9.49/hr)
January 1975 (Ford): $2.10/hr ($9.13/hr)
January 1976 (Ford): $2.30/hr ($9.47/hr)
January 1978 (Carter): $2.65 ($9.51/hr)
January 1979 (Carter): $2.90/hr ($9.34/hr)
January 1980 (Carter): $3.10/hr ($8.80/hr)
January 1981 (Carter): $3.35/hr ($8.62/hr)
April 1990 (Bush): $3.80/hr ($6.82/hr)
April 1991 (Bush): $4.25/hr ($7.30/hr)
October 1996 (Clinton): $4.75/hr ($7.08/hr)
September 1997 (Clinton): $5.15/hr ($7.51/hr)
July 2007 (GW Bush): $5.85/hr ($6.61/hr)
July 2008 (GW Bush): $6.55/hr ($7.12/hr)
July 2009 (Obama): $7.25/hr ($7.80/hr)
As far as developed countries go, the U.S. is tied with Japan for lowest minimum wage compared to average worker's wage. For example, Australia's minimum is $17.29 an hour, while France's is $12.25.
While largely ignored by Washington's politicians, there haves been advances on the local level regarding minimum wage. L.A. pledged to gradually increase its minimum wage twice over the next few years, reaching $15 by 2020. Seattle will reach $15 in 2017. While San Francisco currently employs the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $13/hr.
Hillary Clinton has publicly come out in support of a federal $12 minimum wage, and $15 one where it makes "economic sense. She clarified this position on her website:
It's clear that the federal minimum wage is not at all in parallel with the finances it takes to live and work in America, proven by over 20 states having higher minimum wages than the federal level. It's argued that an increase would be too much of a strain on big business, the fast food industry being the biggest employer of minimum wage workers, but a study said an increase to $15 would only increase the price of Big Mac by 17 cents.
Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.