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As minimum wage increases, low-income families still struggle

Posted July 23, 2008

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— If the law of averages really worked, then the upcoming hike in the minimum wage would help offset consumers' surging fuel and food costs.

A good balance, right? Don't count on it.

Come Thursday, the national minimum wage will go up, from $5.85 an hour to $6.55 an hour. North Carolina's minimum wage is also increasing from $6.15 to $6.55. However, even as wages rise, many people are still struggling to get by.

Traniece Neals is a single mother of two children. She is looking for a new job through the Employment Security Commission. Neals recently left a fast food job, making close to minimum wage, and barely getting by.

It "was like $120 dollars a week and it wasn't doing nothing for me,” she said. “I'm so glad the minimum wage is going up. I need that. ...We need that, us single parents out here."

However, with rising food and fuel costs, many people say the new minimum wage, doesn't come close to a livable wage.

“Raising the minimum wage, while helpful and important, isn't necessarily going to change some of these larger questions,” said John Quinterno, with advocacy group N.C. Budget and Tax Center.

A recent study by the N.C. Budget and Tax Center found a family with children living in Wake County would need to make about $50,000 a year to truly afford essentials like housing, health care and child care.

“There is a fundamental disconnect between the wages and benefits that are offered by many jobs and what it actually costs to support a family with children,” Quinterno added.

While the minimum wage increase may not be enough to support her family, Neals said she is grateful for any increase.

“It'll help a little bit though, because every quarter, every dime, every dollar counts,” she said.

It is estimated about 600,000 state workers will be impacted by the raise.

The national minimum wage will increase again next year to $7.25 an hour.


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  • daMoFo Jul 29, 2008

    Hey foetine, one could do even better than John McCain. They could be a millionaire the day they were born like trust fund babies Ted kennedy and Al Gore. Or they could make millions and live in a 29,000 sq foot house by talking to dead children like Johnny Edwards. Or marry billionaire widows like John Kerry.

  • zProt Jul 28, 2008

    My comment about not being able to spell was about as ridiculous as the minimum wage being called a "premium wage," now, wasn't it? You know, sometimes the only way to combat nonsense is by example. When I hear someone claiming something this absurd, I want to laugh and cry at the same time. It makes me feel hopeless that someone could actually believe it.

    As for the min wage supporting large families, or enabling one to live an extravagant lifestyle - we'll you and I can agree on that. But the fact remains: some people are never able to pull out of it - for one reason or another. And you and I, "real"thoughts, don't know them either, now do we? To claim they are stupid, uneducated or lazy wouldn't be fair would it. They could be old, from another country, or simply not type well :)

  • Realthoughts Jul 24, 2008

    Hey ZPOT,

    Oops did I type that wrong, sorry. You should not be so quick to pass judgment. You don't know me or anyone else here. I could be from another country or a senior who doesn't type as well. I may have arthritis. You don't know, so spare everyone the English/Typing lesson and keep to the topic.

    Minimum wage was never set to serve the purpose of supporting large families or those with extravagant taste. The continue increase does nothing but hinder the progress of our economy. If you think your wage is low here perhaps you should try working in China or India.

    How about people try living within their means.

  • bnorris6 Jul 24, 2008

    I came from a family who was not college educated but always worked. My dad worked 1 fulltime job and 2 part time jobs at one point to make ends meet because back then it was important for moms to stay home and raise the kids. I started at an early age working a part time job while in high school at min. wage. No one should satisfied with just making min. wage so one should have more ambition to advance either changing to a better paying job or even better find a way to gain more educatiion. I did..I worked my way through college and it wasnt easy, but I did it. If one has determination and a good work ethic..one can do better in life. You have to want it bad enough and not at like a victim.

  • zProt Jul 24, 2008

    "Why is there always someone cracking on someones typing skills. We aren't all secretaries like you

    Good comment! I just wonder what their real faults are. :)"

    My "real" faults have nothing to do with the fantasy world you live in, apparently. And yes, I have an education, therefore I type and speak the English language. Secretary? And I suppose you'd have them live off your "premium" wages too.

    Good god folks, why disparage someone else making a few extra pennies. I mean, after all, the CEOs in this country REALLY deserve their millions per year, right? Can't they spare A FEW PENNIES for us grovelers who might want to, like, buy some gas or sumthin'?

  • ThisIsMyName Jul 24, 2008

    Dr. Dataclerk, so if I was an employer, I should cut my employees wages in order to keep everyone employed? The way you say that, did you get laid off from your minimum wage job?

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jul 24, 2008

    Thanks weedy6969007

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jul 24, 2008

    To those of you that even have a job - BE THANKFUL - YOU COULD BE LAID-OFF AND NOT HAVE A JOB.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jul 24, 2008

    "How can we as American's feel it's ok, and our duty, to care for the hungry and poor in other countries but not care for our own?"
    I always thought charity begins at home. Meanwhile our children or starving in the United States. Look around at the resturants and notice all the food that is bring thrown away.

  • WilloWSnapper Jul 24, 2008

    uh dont have kids unless you make AT least 30k a year