(Images sourced from a fancy dress party two years ago and this website – http://www.plasticrepairchristchurch.co.nz/plastic-repairs.php)
Today, my boss told me my afro was disgusting.
I quit on the spot.
Actually, the story goes a little deeper than that… I decided I was going to quit a week ago, after I realised my boss had essentially lied to me about how much I was going to get paid, and was repeatedly refusing to tell me when I was working until sometimes just two hours before my shift. When I finally received my paystub, I realised nearly 20% of my income (remember, I’m on untipped minimum wage) had gone to the government.
Now, I’m not a mathematician, and I don’t know enough about economics to call myself a fully fleged economist. But since when did it make sense to remove nearly a fifth of the income of the poorest people in society? Especially when the richest portion of American society are barely taxed at all?
I’m safe, I’m secure. I have friends in this big, scary city that are looking after me, and nearly 6 months worth of savings to live on. I’m not complaining about me. I’m complaining on behalf of everyone else who simply doesn’t have the safety net I’ve been blessed with.You CANNOT live on the minimum wage in this city. I went to the supermarket the other day – a loaf of bread was $5.99! You’re lucky if you find a place to rent for under $1000 a month!
I am proud to pay taxes. I passionately believe governments are imperative in producing a fairer and more equal society, and that providing services like – I dunno – national healthcare, or jobseeker’s allowance, or foodstamps that people can actually live on is beneficial to the entirety of society, not just those who have come to depend on these services. Yet here, those on low incomes pay (by my personal calculations) approximately 200% more in taxes than in the UK for absolutely none of the services. Can someone explain to me why this makes sense?
I ask – what about those who can’t afford to quit when their boss lies to them about their wage? How about those who can’t afford to wait around, to find themselves an employer who will give them enough respect to give them a fair schedule?
Meanwhile, yuppies and dinkies here meander around, willing to spend $10 on a bit of blended fruit and water, while their fellow humans push their belongings around in supermarket trolleys and sleep in parks. People talk about the homeless as though they are disease, without realising that the people making their lattes and cappucinos are on the brink of similar desperation themselves.
I’m so thankful for my plane ticket home – the knowledge that this stress doesn’t have to last is honestly what keeps me going. Please – take a moment today to think of the low-income workers that don’t have that opportunity. Give that girl who always smiles at you when she hands you your morning coffee an extra dollar. And for God’s sake, don’t vote for Trump.