Where I live (the province of Quebec, Canada) there has been discussion of the effect(s) of minimum wage increases on the economy
Please note that the link is in French.)
I have been working part-time (and quite temporarily) of late at a minimum wage job. This minimum wage is low enough that it is literally impossible for me to stay in my apartment, since if I am to wok part of the time on my graduate thesis (a full-time job in itself), I literally cannot *survive* while working at this job. (I might add that it is the only job I have been able to find, despite being overqualified for it.)
Surviving is also, quite literally, the truth: I cut ALL luxuries including my cable (such that I have television). I don't own a cellphone (I make do with a landline which has been cheaper). I don't travel. I have stopped buying books altogether for the past year, since I can't afford them. I had to keep my lowest-of-the-low speed internet connection (+ old old decrepit laptop) in order to be able to work on my thesis. I don't buy clothes, since I can't afford them either. What really broke me however, was when I realized I was standing in a pharmacy wondering if I could afford to buy toilet paper.
On that day, I walked home in tears, because I simply couldn't take the stress anymore -of wondering how to finish graduate studies when there is NO help from the system whatsoever, whether it be in the form of student grants/funding or of higher minimum wage or other.
So, despite being well past my twenties, I am moving back in with my parents. As a last-ditch effort to try to finish my graduate studies.
And yet, there are those who are worse off than I am. I met a woman who works full time at minimum wage and has little education. How she manages to make ends meet in a job that is the dead end of all dead ends is utterly beyond me, as she must be spending 50% or more so of her income to simply keep a roof over her head. She also once mentioned to me that she has already discussed with her elderly mother the fact that she might move back in with her if she were ever to lose her job. (Or be sick or seriously injured, which amounts to virtually the same thing here, as minimum wage does not allow you to save.)
Yet governments here are (1) cutting income taxes
(see also here for an English link)
) and corporate taxes
(see here also
-NB: many of the Godbout report's recommendations, or the regressive ones at least, seem to have been followed by the current Quebec government), (2) increasing other taxes (I'm looking at you, Quebec sales tax
), and (3) cutting social programs
Did you know that real minimum wages in Canada haven't budged in almost four (4) decades
And did you know that, since no one can stop buying things (because we all need to feed and clothe ourselves), taxes like the Quebec sales tax wind up representing a bigger proportion of a household's revenue when that household is poorer. Don't understand what I'm saying? Let me show you:
Let's say household one (1) has an income of 10,000$ a year after income tax while household two (2) has a revenue of 100,000$.*
Let us say also that both pay 500$ a year in sales tax.* What proportion of their income does that represent?
The answer for household one is: 500$ / 10,000$ = 0.05 or 5%.
The answer for household two is: 500$ / 100,000$ = 0.005 or 0.5%.
So a sales tax like the Quebec sales tax disproportionately affects the poorest segments of the population (and the poorer you are, the more unfair it will be).
*I will grant you that I am simplifying things here to illustrate my point...
/rant and I may write more on this later.