I’m fighting to raise the minimum wage for my girlfriend, 28 years old, who works 60-plus hours a week at two to three jobs and can still barely afford to rent a room in this town. She’s funny, smart, hard-working, and beautiful, and I’d really like to be able to see her more often.
In 2015, minimum wage is the new normal for working people, and it’s not enough to get by, let alone give people the time and money to work toward a better life — to try to get an education, start a business, or find love. A day’s work deserves a day’s pay, but wages in America, adjusted for inflation, have been stagnant since the ‘70s, while the cost of living has continued to rise. We’ve been hoping for decades that the labor market would correct itself, but it hasn’t, and it won’t. This is what legislative action is for.
Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, and other cities have voted to raise their minimum wages and seen the decision lead to economic growth and prosperity. If Santa Barbara can’t keep up, we’ll be in danger of losing our smartest, hardest working citizens, not to mention the office-job shlubs like me who want to date them, to one of those cities.