Here’s another great article from friends of ours at the North Carolina Bankruptcy Blog on the gap between minimum wage and living costs:

You’ve read the headlines. You’ve heard the network commentators. Despite the reported recent economic recovery, post-recessionary American is marked by a new, and troubling, era of economic inequality.
One of the major reasons for the widening gaps between rich and poor is that minimum wage remains at $7.25, the same rate as it was in 2009, despite dramatic rises in the cost of living.
As a result, those in the lowest income brackets face higher bills while the wage floor remains where it was years ago, leaving millions of Americans squeezed under it. But these facts aren’t lost on the experts—from financial insiders to those most financially impacted.
According to a report from The Huffington Post, “plenty of economists — not to mention low-wage workers — believe the raise is [way past] due. Because the federal rate isn’t adjusted annually for inflation as many state rates are, it tends to lose some of its purchasing power every year. (Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wages that prevail over the federal one.) The federal minimum has been generally declining in real dollars since its high in the late 1960s. If it had kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would now stand at around $10.”
That extra $2.25 an hour could have made a real difference for many in the middle and working classes struggling to get by in the toughest of economic environments, including students struggling to sock money away for college, public employees in a precarious job market for their sector, and older Americans wondering when, (and if), they’ll ever be able to retire in this new era of economic disenfranchisement.
The “raising the minimum wage” argument is particularly compelling when you consider that recent studies have pretty much made the case that modest raises are not major job killers. “Economist Dean Baker has argued that any lost work hours resulting from a minimum wage hike would be more than offset by the gain in pay for workers and higher productivity,” said HuffPost. “Some states have taken their own initiative. This week eight states raised their minimum wages, led by Washington State, which became the first to break the $9-per-hour threshold. All eight states have so-called cost-of-living adjustments that require tweaking the minimum wage each Jan 1. The wage raises will benefit roughly 1.4 million workers. According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, the vast majority of those 1.4 million workers are not teenage part-timers, belying a widespread myth about minimum-wage earners. In fact, about 80 percent of the workers in those states are in their 20s or older, and 78 percent of them work at least 20 hours or more in a week, the institute’s David Cooper wrote.”
Instead of waiting for the federal government to raise the minimum wage, many are taking things into their own hands to address their financial woes and take back their fiscal freedoms to make a fresh start through bankruptcy. In fact, a discharge of personal debt through bankruptcy could now be the only solution for so many jobless Americans, especially unemployed workers facing more time without a steady income.
If you find yourself in debt, with no real income, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney is the first best step to help you regain your power, conquer creditors and face your financial fears, yielding—all with the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future.http://blog.billsbills.com/hard-work-isnt-working-for-all-americans/