Did you know that the poverty rate in 2013 in Tacoma was 17.7%? That’s according to UW Today, a University of Washington website.
The PediaCities webpage also cites this same 17.7% figure. And as ironic as it may seem, PediaCities also tells us that Tacoma has an unemployment is 6.3%. Doesn’t that tell you that there must be a hell of a lot Tacomans living at or below the poverty line who actually have jobs?
Moreover, the poverty line figures are ridiculously out of date and unrealistic. Did you know that the US government poverty rate comes to $11,670 a year for a single person and $19,790 a year for a family of three? Oxfam America reports that at least 25% of American workers have low-wage jobs and 40% of American families live at or below 200% of the ridiculous official poverty line.
No doubt, Tacoma is in the low-average end of this range.
And yet, across the US, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the average low-wage worker is responsible for half of their family’s support and has an average age of 35. In addition, EPI informs us that one third of them are 40 years old or older. That’s probably typical of Tacoma as well.
Such low-wage workers can’t afford to take the time off to look for a better job, to care for a sick child or spouse, or even stay home if they get the flu, let alone pursue an education. They live in terror of losing their jobs. That makes them wage slaves.
There are thousands of Tacoma workers just 2 or 3 paychecks away from homelessness. Many of these workers need some kind of welfare assistance, so they don’t have to choose between food and rent, which amounts to a government subsidy to employers too cheap to pay their workers a fair wage. And who pays for this welfare? Other workers who are marginally better off finance these employers with their taxes.
When wealthier people get an increase in their disposable income, they invest it, save it, buy luxuries with it. Most of it does not circulate in the economy.
On the other hand, when working people like us have more money in our pockets, we spend it here in Tacoma. We spend it on food, rent, clothes, mortgages, haircuts, maybe the movies or other entertainment. We spend it locally on goods and services.
Increased local spending means increased local demand. Increased local demand means increased local economic activity. It also means greater local job opportunity for working people like us.
Tacoma’s founders hoped to make this the “City of Destiny.” Help us do that. Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour now!
VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 1