$15 an hour is not realistic, benefits are more reasonable

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$15 an hour is not realistic, benefits are more reasonable

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Raising the minimum wage has been an ongoing debate in America for the last couple of years.

Many states have implemented a statewide minimum wage that is higher than the national minimum to please their residents.

To those who consider a higher minimum wage a solution to their financial problems, I have some bad news for you.

It isn’t.

As of now, the federal minimum wage is $7.25.

This is also the minimum wage in the state of Louisiana.

The problem is Americans feel they aren’t getting paid enough.

The current minimum wage has been in effect since 2008.

Things have changed a lot since 2008, however.

The general cost of living has gone up.

Rent and food prices have risen considerably.

Healthcare is something everyone has to paying for.

Paying for healthcare is a bill many people didn’t have when they were cutting costs in the 2008 recession.

Today, everyone must have some sort of healthcare.

If you don’t, Uncle Sam takes a chunk out of your refund come tax season.

The problem legislators face today is not increasing the minimum wage but people wanting a federal minimum wage of as much as $15.

Raising the minimum wage isn’t a bad idea.

In some cases, it works. In 2017, seven states raised their minimum wage to account for the increase in cost of living.

This happened automatically.

If the minimum wage is raised like that for every state, it would be acceptable, given it correlates to the increase in cost of living.

But people wanting a $15 federal minimum wage must understand the consequences of an increase of that magnitude.

Implementing a $15 minimum wage would start a domino effect.

Employees getting paid more than $7.25 would also expect a raise in their wages of the same percentage.

An increase in cost of labor would see many layoffs due to lack of money to pay people with.

Then, there would be the rise in prices of everyday things like food, fuel, entertainment and services because it would cost more to make and transportation the goods.

Small businesses would suffer the most.

Not having the financial prowess of some of the big-name stores like Walmart, many wouldn’t be able to stay afloat paying their employees more than double what they pay now.

The real solution people need to be looking for is employee benefits.

Paying for health care is a huge financial burden for a lot of families.

If the employers took care of that, employees could have some extra change in their pockets.

I work at a restaurant that pays $2.13 an hour plus tips.

My employer also pays over 50 percent of my health care.

Thanks to them, I don’t have to worry about paying huge amounts of money to have good health insurance.

Another benefit people should fight for is paid time off, especially for maternity leave.

The U.S. allows expecting mothers a minimum of 12 weeks’ unpaid leave.

The 12 weeks are good, but unpaid?

The average mother uses only 10 of those weeks.

Most new mothers have to go back to work as soon as possible because of the financial burden.

The U.S. is one of only a few countries in the world that don’t require paid maternity leave.

That’s where the $15 per hour activists should be focusing their attention.

Sadly, for both sides of the argument, a massive increase in the minimum wage is not likely to happen.

Although there are a lot of people lobbying for this, there are people with more resources lobbying to keep things how they are now.

Big companies spend a fortune making sure the wages and required benefits they offer stay in their favor.

All we can do is hope to find a middle ground to unite and keep fighting the good fight for a living wage and benefits.