When Handel says she doesn’t believe what she calls a ‘livable wage,’ she isn’t choosing fiscal responsibility over lack of regulations, she’s choosing corporations over taxpayers. By not supporting a living wage, she’s instead supporting increased levels of poverty and forcing taxpayers to subsidize corporations.
When corporations can get away with not paying their employees a living wage, the government has to step in to provide assistance to those individuals, in the form of SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid. According to a recent study published by Forbes, an estimated 18 percent of all SNAP benefits in 2013 went to Walmart employees. If Walmart paid a living wage, taxpayers would have saved $13.5 billion in food stamp sales in 2013. Handel supports big business profiting, to the detriment of taxpayers.
Karen Handel says she wants lower taxes for businesses but she supports big business policies that don’t pay workers enough to live without federal assistance. Karen Handel is dangerous for taxpayers and workers because she puts business before people. She even said she doesn’t think people working 40 hours per week should be able to survive, “I do not support a livable wage,” she said in response to Ossoff last week.
MIT created a living wage calculator, which calculates the amount of money an individual or family needs to make in order to meet all annual expenses. MIT estimated that in order to live in Georgia as a single adult, a person needs to earn $23,615 (before taxes) in order to cover their food, housing, medical needs, transportation, and tax payments, for a year.
Earning $23,615 before taxes is equivalent to working 40 hours per week for 52 weeks at $11.35 per hour. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour (Georgia’s minimum wage is still decades behind at $5.15 per hour).
Even earning $7.25 per hour is only two-thirds of a living wage in Georgia, so someone making this amount is forced to sacrifice essentials like medical care, transportation, food or housing. If a person making $7.25 per hour has debt or health concerns, it’s almost impossible to survive, let alone pay for higher education, which could be a way to break the cycle of poverty.
In Georgia, women and African Americans experience much higher rates of poverty than white men. This is a major problem that Karen Handel refuses to address when she says she doesn’t believe in a living wage.
Let’s show Handel we will not stand for this.