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Taking Ramone, Briggs King to task over wages

April 6, 2021

I read with disgust the stingy pro-business boohoo story by the two GOP legislators: Ramone and Briggs King, who pushed the same tired  “Chicken Little” story about the sky falling down if a $15 minimum wage went into effect over the next four years. They continued to state that the minimum wage “was last raised about 18 months ago, when it was increased to $9.25 per hour - a higher rate than 27 other states and 28 percent more than the federal minimum of $7.25.” 

Their tone is that this was truly a tragic event, and did not mention that we joined the 27 states in the union where wages in general are low and union busting is an art form and which, by the way, all are controlled by the GOP.  They made it sound like a case of  “we just did it and why do we want to do it again?”  The same old GOP distortion about a $15 minimum wage is: fewer jobs, fewer hours, fewer profits for the owners, higher prices for consumers and hardship for businesses. Their arguments smack of the worst of capitalism. 

Who in the world can live on $9.25 an hour ($370 a week before taxes)?  Who in the world can live on $15 an hour ($600 a week before taxes)?

Presently, a 40-hour work week would mean the worker would make $19,240 a year before taxes. Anyone with any knowledge of economics has heard of the 28/36 Rule concerning how much of a person’s income should go toward housing. The front number of 28 percent is the maximum of their gross monthly income anyone should pay for housing, and if you take 28 percent of $19,240, Ramone and Briggs King expect people to find a place to live that costs $448 a month.  Well, Mr. Ramone and Ms. Briggs King, you see why your stingy scenario is at least inhumane if not a crime against humanity.  Where are the $488 a month apartments or houses?  What if there are children or elderly relatives to be cared for? Even the state caps its income at $25,760 to qualify for the energy assistance programs available. 

The 36 percent of the 28/36 Rule refers to the maximum amount of gross income that should be spent on all debts, including housing, car loans, credit cards, personal loans and educational loans. 36 percent of $19,240 is $577 a month for all debts, including rent or a home payment, car loans, educational loans, credit card loans and any other loans or lines of credit people may have. Maybe these minimum wage workers would also like to eat and buy clothing and see a doctor or God forbid, maybe take a little vacation.  I wonder where Ramone and Briggs King go on vacation and where they live. I wonder if they obey the 28/36 Rule.

Their fellow GOP members of any and all state legislatures, including Delaware, then cry about the amount of money given to “the poor” when in fact they are creating “the poor.”

There is also a dark underlying distaste for these workers as being of a “lower” class who are dumber, less educated, and generally not worthy of a living wage.  I strongly urge the Democrats to push through this bill and ignore the hissy fits the GOP and their supporters will have when the lowest wage earners in our society finally get close to a living wage.

Ron Nicholls
Rehoboth Beach
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