One other quick note. I'm glad that there has finally been a small increase to the minimum wage. The minimum wage is now $5.85, and it's not nearly enough. I think that minimum wage needs to be set with an eye toward what it realistically costs to afford a basic level of food, shelter, and health care in this country. I'm not talking about supporting freeloaders here who want to live off the government dole- I'm talking about the fairness of paying people a salary that they can exist on if they're willing to work 40 hours a week. Yes, I'm a crazy hippie, but I think companies ought to be required to pay their workers a salary that they can actually subsist on. There are a number of Living Wage campaigns across the country with various goals (the least of which states that businesses which receive government subsidies ought to provide subsistence level salaries to their employees). The basic idea is that businesses should not be allowed to thrive by paying substantial salaries to their top level employees while employees at the bottom of the pay scale literally don't make enough money to survive (at least by working a standard 40 hour work week). The current minimum wage puts full time employees below the federally defined poverty line if they work 40 hours a week ($12,168 a year- try living in Austin on that!).
You can check out The Living Wage Resource Center here. You can sign the Green Party's Living Wage/Fair Wage petition here.
Here endeth my communist manifesto for today.