Can you live on $40 an hour?

That’s $1,600 a week, or $83,200 a year. How about adding in full benefits worth another $34.00 per hour? Benefits and wages, then, total $153,920. Can you live on that?

A bigger question is: Can a company who pays its employees this much stay in business in today’s global economy? And the big question: Can US citizens afford to bail out companies whose employees average $40 an hour? Whose total annual “package” is more than a buck-fifty? The companies to which I refer are the Big Three Automakers.

I ask Jeannie, the waitress, “Why should taxpayers bail out companies who pay line workers more than many engineers or the presidents of many small companies earn? Line workers, in this case, who don’t seem to understand or appreciate the fact of their disproportionately high wages.”

Peter, an attorney and long-time counter patron, usually holds the newspaper in front of his face while reading and eating his eggs, and generally doesn’t say much. But he pipes up, now, turning toward me in his chair. “Did you know they can get furloughed for up to four years at 95% of their pay? Imagine that, being guaranteed your job, even if you get laid off, for up to four years. It’s unreal!”

Jeannie asks, “Don’t these people even care about their own country?”

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One Comment on “Can you live on $40 an hour?”

  1. delwin17 Says:

    Get it this way- this is the last big in your face rip off of G.W.Bush and his cronies of the American people- wide open where everyone can see it because he no longer cares. The KING of the I got mine you get yours MF generation. And anyone who says that automaticly makes themselves a target. I’m in the Deep south and believe me half of what they make is – well plumbers here still make less than $10 with no benefits because the first thing the Bush Family did here was do away with journeyman licenses. But in two years you will have forgotten, you always do, you forgot Dec. 7 was pearl harbor day- the public not you Rich. Soon you all will be wishing you could get that $10 p hr. Help them ruin the ones that were making it and put your own heads on the chopping block when you say you don’t need no highschool diploma. America was an experiment, it never was written in stone.


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