Kbot - you mentioned in another thread that you have noticed the price of food is going up and up. You probably make a pretty decent wage, so if you are noticing rising prices, then you can imagine how the people who are making .50 an hr are racking their brains trying to figure out how they are going to keep up with it.
They can't keep raising the cost of living without raising wages. We pay 3 times the amount of money for a burger now than we did 6 yrs ago. Why should these big companies make huge profits and not pay their employees a wage that is in line with the consumer index? Why should only the highly skilled and the rich among us have the luxury of incomes being raised to keep up with the cost of living? Why should these companies expect the tax payer to subsidize the lower wage groups with food stamps etc., when they can well afford to pay decent wages? This is unprecedented in western society. If these greedy bastards won't do the right thing, then they need be legislated into it.
Compared to a great many people around here, I do make a very good wage. And believe me, every day I am thankful that I have a job, because, where I work, it's getting to the point when you walk-in the door in the morning, you aren't sure if you'll be leaving with a job at the end of the ay.
Historically, the job market around here was mill-based/ textiles. When I was in high school, I told my father - who had worked at that time, in a mill for about 25 years, that I wanted to go to work in the mill, and he flipped out on me. My Dad was a WWII Marine and between that and working in the mills - that's basically all he knew and he didn't want to see me continue in his tracks. So, after working at McDonald's, local pizza parlors, janitorial work to pay my high school tuition (Catholic high school) I enlisted because there were no good-paying jobs back in the 70s around here and nothing attracted me for college. fast-forward about 40 years and what I learned in the military I built on over the years.
The point is, there is a difference between a minimum wage job and a living-wage job, and while the discussion here has been to quantify and define each term - since each relates to local economy, I think that it is unrealistic t thin k that a minimum wage job can possibly be thought of as a living-wage job.
I also think that at some point, people who are in a minimum wage job need to look forward and figure out how they ca get into a better paying job. I can't see a minimum wage job paying $15/ hour. But, as I said - all things are local. So, around here, $15/hour may be a stretch, but it makes perfect sense in New York because the cost of living is so high there. I just think that people who work year-in and year out at a minimum-paying job with no advancement in skills are asking a bit much when asking for such a high raise. Granted, cost of living adjustments is another matter altogether......