Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has made a name for himself defending workers from things like equal wages and bargaining rights. It’s no surprise then, given his track record as a corporate coprophage, that Walker’s administration has rejected a group of low-wage workers’ request to use an unusual Wisconsin law to raise the minimum wage. According to the law, the state’s minimum wage has to be a living wage.
That’s a solid argument for raising the minimum wage. So how’s Walker getting around that law?
By claiming that $7.25 is a living wage, of course:
“The department has determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the wages paid to the complainants are not a living wage,” Robert Rodriguez, administrator of DWD’s Equal Rights Division, wrote in the denial letter.
Bootstraps, people, bootstraps. There’s no reasonable cause to believe that you couldn’t survive on $7.25 an hour, if only you’d stop spending that money on frivolous, wasteful things like new Ferraris, golfing equipment, personal yachts, lobster, and plasma TVs.
Keep in mind that a minimum wage worker would have to work 81 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Wisconsin. $7.25 an hour is the poverty threshold for a family of two, and according to some of the details submitted by the workers petitioning for the raise, that’s a pretty high poverty threshold:
Denise Merchant said she makes $7.25 an hour and often puts off buying diabetes test strips because she can’t afford them and couldn’t afford to fix her car when it broke down two months ago. Dan’l Scott makes $7.70 an hour and is homeless. Marvin Mayes makes $7.45 an hour sometimes has to go without buying groceries in order to make rent. Even those with higher wages described struggling: Carolyn Jackson makes $12 an hour but risks getting her lights and phone turned off because she has to choose between buying food and paying bills, plus she forgoes medication for her diabetes in order to get her son’s medication.
I think Walker has confused “living” for “existing,” but in either case, $7.25 doesn’t fit the bill. Of course, Walker has more empathy for his fellow corporate colon flora than he does other human beings, so it’s even more likely he just doesn’t care.
h/t Daily Kos