The PJ Tatler

The Minimum Wage Isn't a Living Wage

AFP looks at who actually earns the minimum wage:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 1.6 million Americans earning minimum wage. Of those Americans, 40% percent—over 600,000 people—are teenagers or other dependents living with family members. Another 56% are adults living with a spouse who also works. Therefore, over 96% of minimum wage earners do not solely depend on that income to live. A study by the Employment Policy Institute found that for eight in ten families with children in which one parent was making the minimum wage, the parent’s earnings accounted for less than 20% of the household’s total income. Based on these statistics, the vast majority of minimum wage workers are young entry-level employees hoping to gain experience or parents earning extra income for their families. The discussion about whether the minimum wage is a “livable” one largely ignores the conditions under which most people earn it.

Still, it’s a convenient cudgel for beating up meanie right-wingers who don’t want to see young workers and second-household-income-earners priced out of the market.