Tennesseans Weigh In On Minimum Wage
by Marcus Washington
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Folks all over middle Tennessee will be paying close attention Tuesday night when the President lays out his plan for raising the minimum wage during his State of the Union Address.
Susie Jones says nearly three weeks ago she left North Carolina looking for more employment opportunities here in Nashville, but things haven't been as easy as she had hoped.
"It's a little discouraging because I am qualified, but unfortunately they are not offering the dollar amount that I am looking for or that I am worth, so I still have to continue to look," said Jones.
She's like millions of people across the country looking for a livable wage, which many economists agree is above the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
"Both republicans and democrats, regardless, will agree that is not a livable wage," said Dr. Soumen Ghosh, professor of economics and finance at Tennessee State University.
He said while increasing minimum wage is not only desired, but needed, there could be a backlash for many people.
"If you're a small business, if you hire a lot of people on minimum wage, all of a sudden your cost has gone up 33%. So the argument is the employer may cut back on the number of jobs," said Ghosh.
Dr. Ghosh said a livable wage for a single person in Davidson County is currently $9.51and hour and $18.36 an hour for two parents and a child.
So even with two parents making minimum wage, it's barely making it at all.
It's a change many people like Susie Jones hope to see soon as they continue to find a way to make ends meet.
"There are a lot of people out there who don't want the 9 to 5 for minimum wage right now; they can't make it, they can't raise their children, they can't support their homes and families," said Jones.
According to the U-S Department of Labor, around 101,000 Tennesseans actually earn the minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour or less.