Raising Minimum Wages

Raising minimum wages

According to the Department of Labor, The states of Georgia and Wyoming has the lowest minimum wage at around five dollars and the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee don’t have laws about minimum wage, so in other words, in these states an employer can pay you want every they want to pay you at free will. Why do these states think this is acceptable and why is there an issue about raising wages? I feel as if we should raise wage for these lower to lower middle class citizens…here’s why.

I was talking to my cousin about minimum wages and why many people need second jobs; well she is a single mother of two almost teenage girls, she is a college student, and is working a minimum wage job. Sounds normal, huh, well even with her job and state assistance, such as food stamps, etc., she still can’t afford to pay all her bills and make ends meet monthly. With this being said, must people in the United States lives just as my cousin does. Not to mention must don’t rely on state assistance and are single parents having to get second and third jobs in order get close to the same income coming in as if there were two parents in the household.

Most people feel as if, if we raise the minimum wage then jobs will not be created or that some jobs will be cut but this has been provided wrong.  Some think, if this happens that workers will not be able to get a raise. While others (mostly republicans) don’t want to do so because if they are against raising wages and it shows to be helpful to these once low paid workers, it might not go over well for them. Most feel as if it might cause prices to go up and we end up back at square one, will wrong, most likely profits from people buying more will be the case.

Here are a few reasons why we should raise the minimum wage; if people make more money they spend more money, in other word, a boost in our economy and the more we spend, the more jobs are created and so on and so forth.  If we raise the minimum wage to ten dollars or higher more people could get out of poverty and this could help more people get off of state assistance which in some ways could save us tax money or it can be used to fund schools. If you pay your workers more, they might just work harder and longer and overall be happier.  People who lived in shelters even if they hold job could then be able to rent or buy a house or apartment for themselves and their families and buy food without food stamps. If we simple raise the minimum wage to fifteen dollars or more over the next three years we could have more people could pay for their own Medicaid, housing and food without us paying taxes for it, in other words subsidizing for their low wages.

Over all it’s not just smart, it’s what’s right.  So what are we waiting for?

Source: http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

Kellogg’s Strike

In my perspective, I believe that the Kellogg’s strike was very necessary. The Kellogg’s company let go 226 of their union workers months ago. They demanded a pay-cut and that they give up their medical coverage. Most of these people we minority workers. If it was me I would have been right there with them, with my sign and my voice, fighting for my rights. It was good to see that the (NLRB) National Labor Relations Board), went to court to stop the lockout.

Memphis City Roads

In the City of Memphis something that effects me everyday and is a complete pain are the conditions of the roads. This has been something of interest to me since I first arrived in Memphis my freshman year of college. I do not know if there is not money or if something is sucking up the money for roads, but the city needs to find the money necessary to do something about them. I drive everyday across park avenue because I am an RA at Graduate Student and Family Housing on south campus. And everyday I drive I hit more bumps in the road everyday it seems like. The condition of the roads in this city are awful. The thing that gets me about it is that it is not just where I live, it is like this in a lot of places in the city limits. This issue even stretches into downtown and other tourist areas like Graceland and the zoo. Now, I understand that the city is probably not in a rush to fix Park Avenue or Southern, but you would think a city with a good number of tourist would be ready and willing to fix the roads the tourist see. The roads near, and leading up to, Graceland and the roads downtown. I am from Chattanooga and while all of our roads are not the best, the places where we are most tourist heavy have drivable roads. You do not have to worry about hitting a pothole or even a bump in some areas. This probably would not be an issue to me if I was from Memphis because it would be the norm, but everyone I speak to not from here has the same thing to say about the city. Friends that came here from Chattanooga with me always say joking “We are going to have to get new tires before we go home or we will not make it.” This is funny to an extent, but it also has some validity to it.I think that that the mere fact that this is even a joke is an issue. I love the city of Memphis, and I expect to start my career in this city in public office after I get my Masters in Public Administration, and if this issue is not addressed I know it will be one of the first things that I tackle as a public official. In this link, http://www.memphistn.gov/Government/PublicWorks/Maintenance/StreetMaintenance.aspx, it says “All streets receive a periodic evaluation for resurfacing needs. These streets are inspected and assigned a condition and urgency rating. The ratings are then entered into GIS street database. These ratings prioritize the streets and furthermore determine which streets will be added to the Resurfacing Management Plan.”, but they are clearly not checking the streets I drive on. I do not know what the criteria is for a road to be repaved, but they are clearly very strict restrictions because I have not seen a repaved road fully and done well since I have been living in the city. I am not mad that the city has these kinds of road conditions, I am upset because I feel like nothing is being done about these bad conditions.

Minimum Wage Raise

We hear about minimum wage all the time. People who don’t like it, people who think it should be raised, and everyone in between. They all have an opinion on this subject. However, I wonder if anyone ever thinks about where minimum wage actually began? In 1896, New Zealand was the first country to pass such a law, but other countries quickly followed suit, as did many of America’s individual states. In 1924 though, the supreme court ruled against such laws as they violated private companies rights to set their own wages and an employees rights to ask for what pay they thought fair. The Great Depression hit soon after this, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt countered this ruling when he made a $0.40 minimum wage throughout businesses involved in interstate commerce as part of his New Deal. Part of this also ruled on better overtime pay and added child labor laws to the books. Now that we have gotten a blast from the past, why is it that Roosevelt implemented this idea of minimum wage in the first place? Well, I believe he saw the importance of the employees who worked these harder, underpaying jobs and did not wanted them to suffer under the unfair pay of greedy big business owners. As the cost of living rises over time, so should our minimum wage, which is why in the past 75 years, our minimum wage has risen from $0.40 to $7.55. This is only fair right? Some people believe that it should be even raised higher! However, most of the reason why people want it to rise is because they feel that it is a means to an end of getting themselves out of poverty. Don’t get me wrong, I hate poverty as much as the next person, but people who think this way are not normally aware of what minimum wage does and why it was created in the first place. America did not even allow it for many years because they believed it violated American’s rights as free citizens! For the U.S to dictate wage is just another way for them to add to the list of rules we have to follow. I am glad Roosevelt implemented minimum wage the way he did, but its’ purpose was to protect the employee from those greedy employers who sought to take advantage of their workers. It was not created to be a “living wage” as many people believe. The minimum wage jobs are normally those with a lower skill set needed to do the job quickly, and if you have a good work ethic, you can move up to better pay in the same job quickly enough. I worked in fast food for over three years, so I know what minimum wage is like. However, I worked hard and ended up getting a raise within 6 months of working there, and another raise the next year. By the end of my time there, I was making $8.25 and got offered a manager position at $9.25 an hour. Even though I did not take that offer and ended up leaving for another job opportunity on campus, I actually enjoyed my time there! And my experience working there showed me how a good work ethic can pay off. If the minimum wage were to rise higher than it was intended to go within a certain standard of living, it would leave many more unskilled workers out of a job, which would in turn raise the poverty level instead of diminish it like many people believe. If employers cannot pay as many lower skilled workers a higher wage, they will more than likely decide to cut costs by hiring a less amount of more skilled workers who would get the job done better and in less time. Again, minimum wage was not intended to be a living wage, but a way to keep unskilled workers better paid under greedy or unfair management. The discussion on minimum wage is a vast one, but if there is anything I can leave you with, it would be to remind you to have a good work ethic! Because whatever job you work in, whether it pays minimum wage or not, will value and appreciate that characteristic in you, and you will respect yourself more because of the hard work that you choose to do.


“Minimum Wage.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.

school systems and no child left behind

would like to take the time to elaborate on how this “no child left behind”  thing has worsened our children and their education. I feel that although when this may have been formed with good intensions, this has really done great harm to our schools. This act is allowing teachers to pass children to the next grades even if they aren’t ready to pass. I feel that all students learn at different levels and if they need extra help then that should be offered and available to them. instead we are dumbing them down by making everything so easy to them. write your name and you will pass, not acceptable at all. With child development being my major, this really bothers me to see our children not learning anything and going through school not even try to focus on education and what’s going to happen after high school. We can fix this, is this important to you?

Legislate Hate?

Dr. King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.  In a recent article in the Commercial Appeal WWW.commercial-appeal.com/news/local-news/crime/actor-James-woods  actor James Woods called for Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the Kroger incident as a hate crime, because a group of black teens assaulted a white male on video.  His tweets have been re-tweeted more than 4,500 times.  The problem is that you cannot legislate hate; I agree the teens should be punished in accordance with the law, but to want the laws to change to say this was a hate crime is ridiculous.  In the past, we have seen the Stand Your Ground law put a black male under the ground by a white male and called justified not hate.  We have seen a white police officer shoot and kill a black male with his hands up and given the excuse of Due Process and not a process of hate.  If Amy Weirich folds to political pressure and charges these teens with a hate crime then where would the law stop and start?

This would mean school yard fights between different cultures could go further beyond the principal’s office and into our already crowded criminal court rooms.  We always want to send a strong message to criminal offenders, but for James Woods, to want to charge teens for a hate crime when one of the victims was black is egregious.  The person recording the video only recorded the white male getting assaulted, can this be interpreted that Mr. Woods would have been satisfied if he saw the black male getting assaulted also? We cannot pick and choose the laws we want to see changed based on personal bias, but in accordance to what is right.  We should push legislation to create tougher curfew laws and make parents more responsible for their under 18 year old children. 

In accordance with public interest if we create laws that legislate what hate is, we should also create laws that do not justify murder and masquerade it as serving and protecting the public.  We cannot make laws on social media sites and try people in the courtrooms of twitter, instagram or Facebook.   What is needed is consistency, without an invisible racial boundary called public interest.  Innocent people die and get hurt everyday black and white.  If the law is in place to protect us, then pass laws that protect and serve everyone’s interest, not just a certain group.  In the end we are our own worst enemies, we attack each other with words, post, tweets and pictures, but no one considers this a hate crime. 

Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”.  That could be our real problem, not what is or what is not a hate crime, but maybe we have put each other’s eyes out and now we are all blind.



Minimum wage… or rage?


As a child, I was always told, “Money doesn’t fall off of trees”, and I never understood that phrase until my young adult years. Now that I am older and living an independent life, I wish I knew where that “money tree” was hidden, or how I could invent my own (all which is just wishful thinking). Back to reality, I have yet to find such a thing, but what I have found is that being a full-time student working temporary jobs to maneuver through my college years, is quite challenging in this economy. I’ve learned that with the increase in the cost of living and the expense of everyday essentials, working a minimum wage job is just not financially fulfilling.
Like me, many Americans today struggle to make a decent living, and are often found working two or more jobs just to provide the necessities for ourselves and families. Unlike professions, the jobs that many citizens are working are undesirable, underpaid, and strenuous occupations with little to no benefit, depending on your title. On the other hand, there are some Americans who actually enjoy the nature of their jobs, but not the pay. According to CNN’s Interactive Minimum Wage Act map, majority of the country’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, while states such as California, Oregon, and Washington range from $8.00-$9.32 per hour. Whether minimum wage should be a fixed amount among all states or if it should vary is debatable, but $7.25 an hour being insufficient to support a living, is highly relatable. Hope for America’s working class lies within The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.80 per hour, $2.55 more than the Fair Labor and Standards Act’s current state requirement. Hype and rumor over this change has existed since last year, and we have yet to see an increase. There has been no recent discovery of a money producing tree, but there is a dedicated, anticipating class of working citizens, that with the help of the government, can replenish our rough economy. Not only would the minimum wage assist working citizens, it will benefit both large corporations and local businesses. We’ve all heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money”, but we also have to, “Make money to spend money’. In other words, marketing and consuming goes hand in hand, and without additional money to spend, businesses can’t flourish if customers can’t buy. The fantasy of the money tree will always remain as long as there are financial deficiencies, and although it is not a drastic change, $9.80 per hour will spring the growth of the economy. I am no longer questioning where money comes from, but I am curious to know why the government is postponing the increase of living wage when its working citizens deserve it and the economy needs it. Instead of using our imagination, we could use change. After all, the saying goes, “if it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense (cents)”.



Unemployed people: Who’s to blame?

When it comes to Public Administration, I think about all these people behind their counters interacting with citizens often asking their advice. These people are called “the street-level bureaucrats”. In 1980, Michael Lipsky defined street-level bureaucrats, “as the civil servants that meet citizens, like teachers, policemen and social workers.” They are the “interface” between citizens and government.

As you may be already know, I am an international student from France. Because of the decentralization in my country, the implementation of public policy has deeply changed. Indeed, government focuses more on the satisfaction of the citizens, to adapt policies according to their needs. That is why street-level bureaucrats nowadays have a really important role. They are really significant because they deliver the policy that has been constructed elsewhere, and whatever citizens get from government is what the street-level bureaucrats do. Those street level bureaucrats are police officers, teachers, social workers, etc. They are in charge of controlling access to public programs and enforce public laws and regulations. Then, bureaucrats do not only deliver but also actively shape the policy outcomes by interpreting rules.

For example, to help people to find jobs, government has created a public structure called “Pôle Emploi” (http://www.pole-emploi.fr/accueil/). Within this structure, civil servants are social workers. Their goal is to assist the unemployed in their job research in order to reintegrate them into the workforce, especially training aid and hiring subsidies to characterize the rehabilitation process.

From a practical point of view, I want to react to an article published in Le Figaro (a French newspaper) in which the Minister of Labour has indicated his desire to strengthen the “control of the unemployed people.” (http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/economie/2014/09/12/31007-20140912ARTFIG00357-controler-les-chomeurs-mieux-vaut-controler-pole-emploi.php).

Concerning the case of social workers, I think that this kind of street-level bureaucrat have to respond to citizens with only a limited amount of information and only a limited amount of time to take decisions. Moreover, the unemployed person himself may make more difficult the role of civil servants if he does not fully engage in his desire to get back to work. Here, the unemployed person may be at fault for his own situation. He thus finds himself in a vicious circle.

But we really need to question these assumptions. Indeed, we can also put the blame on the implementation of policies created at the top by politicians. For example, referencing the unemployed people and the database that is then created in order to find the best job for the person concerned is highly questionable. Instead of tightening controls of unemployed people as the Minister of Labour recommends, why not directly address the procedures for reception and orientation of the unemployed? We can even make the connection with neighboring countries such as the United Kingdom or Germany where professional reinsertion seem more suited to the unemployed people. Moreover, very often, the rules to implement do not always correspond to the specific location or context of the involved citizen. It is true that certain methods of support are too standardized and do not necessarily reflect the needs of applicants. Take the example of a person who does not seem to totally get involved in looking for a new job. We could focus on his psychological state. Does he need psychological counseling? Is he going through something difficult in addition to his unemployed social status?

All these questions must be answered before you start monitoring an unemployed person. The title I chose, which may seem quite challenging, yet reflects a difficult reality. How can we say that the unemployed chose to be unemployed? Why cannot we reform the “Pôle Emploi” system? Although questions remain unresolved, my goal through this post is to show the complex relationships that exist between the unemployed and the employment center responsible for him. One more interesting thing is to ask what flexibility street level bureaucrats benefits in the implementation of policies since they have been designed at the highest point in the hierarchy.

Non Profit Organizations and the Government

It seems to me that the government is often relying on non profit organizations to take care of the city. Yes, non profits are there to serve the people, but shouldn’t the government try and pitch in also? For example, in Memphis there are many homeless and needy people, but the city council doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. Yea, there are food stamps, and things of that nature, but we can do better than that. How much money does the government have stashed away somewhere? Non profits are busting their butts in order to make this world a better place. They are providing food and shelter for the homeless, care for disaster victims, and not to mention St. Jude Research Hospital.

I just think that our government could do better. Yes, the mayor may be advertising that he is helping, but is he actually falling through with his words, and if he is then is it just an act for the city of Memphis or is it true kindness? That’s the thing with politicians, we never can tell if they are truly and honestly good people because on TV it just looks like an act because of the scroll they are reading. If politicians really did what they advertise on TV then this world wouldn’t be so unbearable, but the truth is that not many people adhere to their promises.

There are so many people in need, and the non profit organizations can’t do it by themselves. Either the government needs to help also, or the need to assist the non profits. There are people who are trying to help, but they can’t around the rules and regulations that the government had put forth. Give us some slack!!  If the government really cared, and if they really wanted to have successful non profit organizations, then they would pitch in more that they are.

Also, I believe that drug testing for food stamps is a fantastic idea. There are people on welfare that really and truly do not need to be receiving government assistance. The money that those people are stealing could go to someone who really is in need. Just because you are to lazy to work does not mean that you should get government assistance! There are people trying to get back on their feet, but the world keeps knocking them back down. They are the type of people that need a little extra assistance.Just give them a little to help get them back on their feet. I just believe that the money that we are wasting on some people should go to the non profits to help real people in need.

With all of this being said, I just very well believe that the government could do a better job in helping out the non profits and the needy. They could use an extra lift, or less rules and regulations. Instead of being in their pockets, they should be withdrawing government assistance from others who don’t even need it.


Health Insurance

Hello readers and fellow classmates,

I know that in the year of 2012, there was beginning to be a high demand for citizens to have health care insurance. For this matter, I never really understood what would happen to the citizens who never did sign up for it. I mean since then I haven’t really heard anything else about the whole health care situation, currently speaking that it is indeed the the year of 2014. There were so many commercials and advirtisements out about the issue, but now it looks like the all the ranting and controversy was temporary. Within a matter of time, all the commotion about health care seemed to disappear. However, there is still a question that pops up in my head whenever I hear anything about health insurance. As I stated before, what would happen to the citizens who never did sign up for it? Listen to this scenario: I am a high school student who walks to school everyday. Then one day on my way to school, I happen to get shot by someone and endure an injury to my leg. Shortly after, I wind up at the nearest hospital for help. Because my injury needs to be taken care of immediately, I go to the emergency room. I am an unemployed minor, so I can not afford to have health insurance on my own. Neither does my mother have insurance for me because I have other siblings, she has low income, and she just simply can not afford it. My mother is there with me and she is pleading for help, screaming it’s an emergency and that I need help right away. Now, back to the conversation at hand. You’ve just read about a scenario that can happen to anyone at anytime. The race, age, and employment or occupation of the person does not matter. When thinking about how this scenario would end, I’m not too sure about what would happen. Because the person is not insured, will hospital administration refuse them of the emergency services that they need? Will they be asked to leave, or does the person have to sit in the waiting room with a bleeding gunshot wound because they have no insurance? The whole point of this topic is to find out what happens to people who get in situations like that? What will happen to the person who doesn’t have insurance, but has a fatal medical situation? To my knowledge, there has not been a specific policy set about health care insurance. I mean there were talks about ObamaCare and other health insurance companies, but no one really knows what the consequences are for not having. I have not seen any signs in any of the hospitals or clinics I’ve been to since 2012 that specify the requirements of being helped medically. Was there an actual policy set about healthcare insurance, or did it all just come about just so the government can encourage people to pay for insurance? What will happen to the ones that can not afford it? Will they get billed expensively for having help to save their lives?