What Living On $7 An Hour Actually Means For Working People


Have you ever had to live on minimum wage?

There has not been a national minimum wage increase for 7 years. For tipped workers? Even worse — it’s been at $2.13 an hour for 25 years. Some states are starting to take their own initiatives to raise the minimum wage and the tipped wage, but there’s still a long way to go.

In this clip from the 2009 movie, “The American Ruling Class,” award-winning journalist Barbara Ehrenreich gets to the root of what it means to be nickel-and-dimed by the 1%. And, if anything, things have gotten worse since that movie was made and since she completed her book about working for minimum wage.

“There are no unskilled jobs. All jobs take skill, and intelligence, and experience. They’re hard … ”

By the numbers:

If you haven’t read anything by Barbara Ehrenreich, check out her books, including Nickel And Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America about her experiences working for minimum wage as she describes in the clip below.

“The real philanthropists in our society are the people who work for less than they can actually live on, because they are giving of their time, and their energy, and their talents all the time.”

Bonus: A great bluesy musical interlude at the end about … you guessed it … being nickel-and-dimed!


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