The following sparked an interesting debate on Twitter, she’s right, she’s wrong. The facts used are the MIT living wage calculator.
I think it’s wrong that (1) a vast majority of the country doesn’t make a living wage, I think it’s wrong that (2) you can work one hundred hours and not feed your kids. I think it’s wrong that (3) corporations like Walmart and Amazon can get paid by the government, essentially experience a wealth transfer from the public, for (4) paying people less than a minimum wage. Rep AOC
If the vast majority of the Country doesn’t make a living wage, who spends all the money on stuff? A living wage makes no provision for non-necessity spending (dare I mention tattoos or lottery tickets again?) In fact, the average American earns $23.99 an hour.
Technically speaking the vast majority of the Country does make a “living wage” but many certainly not sufficient for a very comfortable living style.
We should not confuse wages with income, because there is household income as opposed to individual income and for those paid hourly, a few hours OT can make a big difference in gross income. Many of us worked two jobs in the early years, many “worked” many extra hours going to school at night.
The MIT calculator illustrates a living wage by area of the country and family makeup. Needless to say there are significant variables across the US so it is impossible to say there is one living wage in America. If you look at the living wage for an individual in the NYC area it comes to about $15.00 where Sen Sanders no doubt gets his target minimum wage.
These are the MIT components “living” wage expenses. You will note from this list there is no allocation for non-necessities.
✔️Other (necessities) The basic needs budget includes cost estimates for items not otherwise included in the major budget components such as clothing, personal care items, and housekeeping supplies.
There is a valid argument to raise the minimum wage, but let’s not confuse that with having the skills and motivation to do better, to escape the living wage category.