Do the income math; society has a problem

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 9, 2014 

In the midst of discussions about income inequality and minimum wage increases it is important to look at real-life numbers that illustrate a critical problem.

Recently, I read a blog that laid out a budget for a single mother with one infant child. The writer concluded that the single mother would need $2,285 in monthly income to meet basic needs. This included $500 for rent, $400 for child care, $300 for food, and money for an old vehicle, cell phone and Internet as these were deemed necessary to find and maintain a job. There was no allowance for TV, clothes or any other extras.

This seems like a pretty realistic budget to me.

Now please do the numbers.

If this mother earns $10 an hour, that is $1,600 per month. Her pay will be lower if she loses a day of work due to sickness, transportation problems, routine medical appointments, etc.

Sure, maybe she shouldn't have had a child. Maybe the father of the child should be contributing Maybe she should find a better job. (Good luck with that.)

But we as a nation have a problem.

Every day I hear and read about our food stamp/welfare society and how business cannot afford to pay workers more. This modest budget presents the reality for many responsible people with full-time jobs.

What is this mother to do? What is a concerned citizen to do? What is our society to do?

Kate Joy


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