If you’re a low-income American, the answer is a lot, because most Americans aren’t earning much. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 14 percent of adults with incomes of less than $25,000 a year make $50,000 or greater per year. The median household income in the U.S. is $50,734.
To put this figure into perspective, the national median household income in 2011 was $54,832.
What do you need to trade for a living?
The average hourly pay for a low-wage worker in the United States is $9.25. This is less than $10 per hour of a wage worker’s previous full-time job. And this figure doesn’t account for the fact that these types of jobs — often in lower-ranking, lower-paid occupations — pay lower wages.
What makes this situation even more alarming is that the income that many low-wage workers earn is very low. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical low-wage worker earns about 25 percent less than the national median income.
When you factor in that each low-wage worker would have to go to a minimum-wage store to get the same amount of food and clothing it costs them, the fact that low-wage workers work is even more shocking when you consider the fact that wages are often frozen in some of these jobs.
The situation in the U.S. is one of economic exploitation, not economic freedom.
We have an economy that is becoming increasingly controlled by corporations and big business. When you take a look at the companies that currently occupy positions at the Department of Labor, you’ll find no fewer than six of the top 10 are publicly traded business conglomerates; they also make up nearly 90 percent of the top 10 companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list. So it’s no wonder many businesses are now calling for tax breaks and special favors and special privileges for themselves to continue to have access to the political process.
We currently allow CEOs and their private, for-profit companies to vote, and, more importantly, to make decisions for the vast majority of Americans, such as which health care reform legislation the government will support. We still subsidize and support the production of fossil fuels and keep our economy in the fossil fuel-dominated economy, even as energy costs continue to rise.
The fact that we are allowed to
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