The Math

Some time ago my company decided that paying a certain class of employees once was not enough.  In addition to the main paycheck, they decided to issue a twice monthly paycheck that probably traces back to some whiner saying they are entitled a base wage, too.  Well, today one of my 2x checks was ZERO.  Here’s how that happened:

SS Tax: 1.3%

Medicare Tax: 0.3%

Workers Comp Tax: 0.1%

Medical Insurance (3 ppl): 18.6%

Dental Insurance (2 ppl): 1.5%

Vision Insurance (2 ppl): 1.2%

Dependent Care FSA ($5,000/year to reimburse childcare costs): 21.1%

Health Care FSA (reimbursement account for health costs): 10.6%

Parking (every other paycheck): 25.4%

401(k): 10%

Roth 401(k): 5%

Charity Donation: 4.9%

At $2.00 per hour more than our state minimum wage, and not even paying federal or state taxes, I received a net pay of: goose egg.  That’s $23,664 per year that I will never get to use for clothing, housing, food, gas, heat, electricity or water.

How, oh how, does the average working family do it when they don’t get a bigger “main check” and this is their living wage?  Do they weigh the price of parking against the extra two hours of commute time a slightly cheaper bus or train would add?  How do single moms support a family and save for retirement?  Even if I took out the extras like FSA and 401(k) savings, the government would pipe up and start taking their share as taxes.

To be clear: I have not taken a stance on minimum wage or college debt or anything else that our friends in Washington are battling over these days.  I’m just doing the math.

And there you have it.  Food for thought, if you can afford it.




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