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With all due respect Bill...

Posted By: Jim Wilson
Sunday, 23 April 2006, at 5:58 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Some fast facts and figures... (Bill Cornelius)

While I was in error making it seem as though it was a certain percentage of their total wages earned what I should have stated was the income to cost of fuel ratio.


The people who now pay 1/2 hour and their work per gallon still have to drive to work. To put it into a full perspective I can use an actual example. One of my wife's employees who makes just over $7.00/hour has a car that holds 14 gallons of gas. To fill it up at $3.00/gallon it cost her $42. At $7.10/hour and working 50 hours per pay period (the max she is allowed to work per company policy) she makes $355.00 per pay period. Take the taxes out and she is left with under $300.00 for two weeks. She has to fill up once per week in order to get to work and pickup her little girl from her mother's house which is another $84 per pay period. So at this point she is down to about $200 to live on. (food, rent, electric, etc)

When fuel was only $1.50/gallon she had an additional $42 per pay period or $84/month on which she could live.

My point is not politically motivated in any manner. It is a fact that the minimum wage isn't keeping up with the cost of living. This is largely because we are a petroleum based society and unfortunately the young woman to whom I am referring does not have the option to use a bus or other transportation.

I would urge that instead of attempting to make this issue a political one you stop to think for a moment that there are actually people out there who are forced to attempt to live off of minimum wage or off of a fixed income. It is they who are hurt the most by the greed of those who are profiting from the fuel price increases.

I stand by my point. A greater amount of our income is now taken by increased fuel prices. This cannot be argued against. And the fact that a large number of people in our society earn minimum wage means that they are being financially hurt by those price increases.

There is no easy answer to the problem, Bill. I realize this fully. To raise the min wage would wound a number of small businesses that could not afford those increases. But when a gallon of fuel cost 1/2 of an hour of work for those earning minimum wage surely you can see the end results.

Turn a blind eye if you want to. Or try to make it a political thing. But it isn't really. It is a matter of simple economics. The people who can least afford the fuel price increases are the ones being hurt the most by them. Sometimes the truth hurts but that does not change the fact that it is still just that.

The example I cited above is an actual employee with whom I have chatted. She is trying to better herself by going to college but this only means using more fuel to get back and forth to classes. The classes she is taking are not available online and even if they were she could not take them because she cannot afford Internet access any longer. She is considering once again moving back in with her mother but this isn't an ideal option because her mother and she don't get along all that well. Her ex-husband isn't helping her other than with the minimum child support he was ordered to pay.

So Bill, imagine that whatever you post in reply is going to be printed and handed to this single mother living (somehow) on minimum wages. I can print it and take it to her if you would like me to. How would it make you feel to send a message to her that lacks compassion for her position?

I would hope that at some point people "get it" and realize that not everyone makes 6 figures. The fuel cost don't affect me or my family. I drive a city vehicle and between my online earnings and my fire department income we are doing quite well. My wife's employees and many other people aren't so lucky. The retail store for which my wife works holds fast to its starting salary structure even though managers all make over $60,000/year. It really hits me the hardest around Christmas time when my wife host her party at our home and her employees all come over. This past Christmas one of them was actually crying because she felt so bad about not being able to afford to bring a gift. (most of the employees buy gifts for $5 and under)

Just think of those who earn less, Bill. Don't make it some sort of stupid political thing. My intent is NOT to make some sort of political statement. I don't play those games. How can anyone not see how bad the increases in fuel cost are on the people who make the least in this great nation?

Anyone who attempts to avoid the truth about this mess should be ashamed. Completely and totally ashamed...

Jim Wilson

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