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Financial literacy begins in Washington

By Dian Vujovich

Don’t be too surprised if, in the not so distant future, an all out wage war breaks out in our fine country. Unlike the war on drugs, this one will be won by those who need to win it: The millions of hard-working individuals who aren’t bringing home a paycheck(s) large enough to cover their monthly expenses and allow them to save for their futures.

In case you’ve missed it, over the past handful of years thousands of stories have been written about America’s huge income and wage gap. Sooner or later that gap will turn into a bubble and burst into a wage revolution. One that pretty much has been brewing for years.

What triggers it is anybody’s guess and hopefully whatever it is will be non-violent. Then again, people are getting pretty tired of running in place and not seeing any meaningful financial rewards in their personal lives no matter how delicately they mange their monies. Or how many jobs they have. Or hours a month they work.

We all know that most income growth has come for those in the top 5 percent. For the other 95 percent, pay increases have come accompanied with an expense of longer hours and/or token hourly wage increases.

If you haven’t already heard, McDonald’s is raising their minimum wage by at least $1 to average about 10 bucks an hour, kinda of. The select few seeing that hourly wage increase applies only to folks working for McDonald’s corporation. That amounts to about 10 percent of all of Mac & Ds Super Club (that’s what we called the place years ago) employees and not the other 90 percent of franchise owners’ employees like the stores where your neighbors or kids work. But in this day of wage discrimination most workers are so happy just to have a job that that news is more likely to result in an oh-well shoulder shrug than an outright complaint.

In January while addressing Congress encouraging them to increase the minimum hourly wage, President Obama said: “To everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

April is Financial Literacy month. People don’t need much of an education to know, see and feel how far a middle-and low-income paycheck goes when paying their bills and actually working with that x amount of money. As a result they know more about money than some give them credit for.

Seems to me the real financial literacy education work that needs to be done in America ought to begin at the top with our lawmakers.

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