Based on Ehrenreich’s experience, although I could survive, I would find it incredibly difficult to live on minimum wage, living and surviving are entirely two different things. All of us were born kicking and fighting to live but we have become used to the soft life. American’s especially have become creatures of comfort and we dislike inconveniences and discomforts. Ehrenreich’s experience detailed how she was always “living on the edge”. Some say that she was able to expose the “third world of America”. This is earth shattering for middle and upper class workers to comprehend, because it is believed that any job that pays six or seven dollars would be unskilled, due to the fact that anyone can hold the job. However, Ehrenreich’s experience proves that it is the complete opposite and that an incredible amount of skill is needed for these low paying jobs. I feel that no hard working American should have to live under these conditions.
A Family with two children could survive on minimum wage with the help of government programs such as food stamps and section 8 housing. But, at what cost? Families living on minimum wage report high stress levels and little to no quality healthcare. Parents in these situations often have no time to spend with their children due to hectic work schedules to keep afloat.
I think that the country should adopt a living wage policy. A living wage is a term used to describe the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve a specific standard of living while working a reasonable number of hours.
San Francisco, which has a living wage ordinance at around $11 per hour, has done well. A study published in Industrial Relations examined the impacts of increased wages at San Francisco Airport. Their findings were positive, showing that when employee earnings increased, work ethic improved, worker morale was boosted, and at the very same time, there was no overall employment loss. Large corporations seem to be the only ones not in favor of such a movement for fear of cutting into their profits.