How Much is Minimum Wage?

The labor laws in the United States can be, at times, very confusing. Ever wonder why waiters at a restaurant can be paid as little as $2.13 while the federal minimum wage is over three times higher? How much is the minimum wage? Why is overtime pay 1.5x regular pay for nonexempt employees but not required for exempt employees? What does exempt actually mean?

All those questions and more are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) which has, over the years, been amended several times to reflect changing times, most notably the include anti-discrimination laws and to raise the minimum wage. The most recent change was the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, signed by President Bush, which raised the federal minimum wage in increments to where it stands today.

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Find A Job, Then A Career

Hard Work Should Be LaudedAll this nice fuzzy “wait for the right opportunity,” or “you want a career, not just another job” sounds good until your feet are held to the fire. I think a lot of career advice tries to be overly rosy and positive, without a keen eye towards reality. The reality is that when you’re unemployed, your are constantly running into failure on a daily basis. You send out resumes that seem to disappear into the ether, you call companies that tell you they will call you back if there is an opportunity, and you talk to friends who, as well intentioned as they are, say they will try to help but usually aren’t in a position to do so. It sucks. While there are steps you can take to boost your confidence, the grim reality is that it sucks.

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 Frugal Living 

Try Living On Minimum Wage

Stacks of CoinsWant to learn how to be frugal without having to resort to the extremes of spending only a dollar a day on meals? Try living on minimum wage. I’m not recommending that you pull a Morgan Spurlock but you should try to put yourself into the shoes of millions of Americans working a minimum wage job and try to figure out how they’re surviving. They do it every single day and they, through trial by fire, have learned what it takes to truly be frugal. You have to walk a mile in a man’s (or woman’s) shoes to truly understand.

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Minimum Wage Increase/Estate Tax Cut Bill Details

No doubt you’ve read about how the Minimum Wage Increase bill has passed the House of Representatives 230-180. If you don’t really have the patience to read about it all, here are the details:

  • Federal minimum wage would increase from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, phased in over the 3 years. (20 states and Washington DC already have minimum wages above the federal level, Washington State’s minimum wage is $7.63/hour)
  • Estate tax exemption for individuals with $5M, couples with $10M, by 2015. Estates worth up to $25M would be taxed capital gains (now 15%, scheduled to increase to 20%). For $25M+, tax would be fall to 30% by 2015.
  • The maneuver was aimed at defusing the minimum wage increase as a campaign issue for Democrats while using the popularity of the increase to achieve the Republican Party’s longtime goal of permanently cutting estate taxes.

    I’m personally against an estate tax (even though it affects only a very small number of people) and I don’t know the full economic ramifications of increasing the minimum wage, though I doubt the bad outweighs the good, but I would think this bill is a mixed positive.

    Details at CNN.

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