Getting by on $7.25 an Hour, Beans and Oatmeal

Photo courtesy of Brad Lauster's Flickr photostream.

After President Obama called for raising the nation’s minimum wage to $9 an hour and protecting it against inflation, the struggle that millions of low-wage workers face trying to survive on the current $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage is back on the nation’s radar screen.

Recently NBC News took a look at “the workers who answer your customer service calls, deliver your pizzas, take care of your children, bag your groceries and serve your food,” including Crystal Dupont, 25, who takes customer service calls in the Houston apartment she shares with her mother who has disabilities. Writes NBC’s Allison Linn:

Dupont has no health insurance, so she hasn’t seen a doctor in two years. She’s behind on her car payments and has taken out pawn shop and payday loans to cover other monthly expenses. She eats beans and oatmeal when her food budget gets low.

When she got her tax refund recently, she used the money to get ahead on her light bill.

“I try to live within my means, but sometimes you just can’t,” said Dupont.

Thanks to Portside—where you can read the full story—for passing this along.

In other minimum wage news, San Jose, Calif., recently increased its minimum wage to $10 an hour; Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have introduced legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; and a new report reveals the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is engaged in a widespread campaign to weaken or repeal state minimum wage laws and other low-wage worker protections.


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