Thursday, December 18, 2014

Minimum Wage History, Briefly

In the last several months several news reports related to raising our federal minimum wage have come to the forefront of our attention. Fight for $15 (Chicago), Fast Food Forward (New York), or We Can’t Survive on $7.35 (St. Louis) are all groups organized to help low-wage workers bring this to the public’s attention. So where did our minimum wage originate?  (Gupta, 2013)
The concept of a minimum wage has been debated from the early 1900s, with over 14 states enacting legislation by 1923. Most legislation at the time was applied to women and children in hopes to avoid legal battles. Various states also set up central minimum wage commissions that covered a broad range of industries, unlike countries like Australia, who set up industry specific commissions. Unfortunately, most of these laws, which were continually being challenged by industry, were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court because they “violated employers’ constitutional rights to enter freely into contracts and deprived them of their private property (i.e., their profits) without due process of law.” (Neumann & Wascher 2008, p. 14)
Interest in a federally mandated minimum wage came to the forefront with the economic environment brought about by the Great Depression. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was able to successfully get his first attempt at a minimum wage through as the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA as part of his “New Deal” program. NIRA pushed employers to accept a 35 to 40 hour workweek and a minimum weekly wage of $12.00 to $15.00 per week.
NIRA would be short-lived as the U.S. Supreme Court, in Schechter Corp. v. United States, would vote the Act “an unconstitutional delegation of government power to private interests;” all nine justices voting together. (Grossman, 1978, para. 4)
The wage-hour legislation would be a continuing campaign issue for President Roosevelt in 1936, but it would not be until June of 1938 that he would be able to sign a compromise bill featuring a 25-cent minimum hourly wage with an automatic increase to 30 cents one year after signing. Additional provisions were in place for increases up to 40 cents per hour by 1945 and steps for overtime hours and rates. Also included were provisions for a sole administrator under the newly created Wage and Hour Division in the Department of Labor. (Grossman 1978)

"No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.” (President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933, Statement on National Industrial Recovery Act)

            Also important to the minimum wage debate is the development of the poverty threshold. There was no official definition of poverty before 1963, the year Mollie Orshansky, a former family and food economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and social science research analyst for the Social Security Administration. Her in-house research project “Poverty as it Affects Children” used information from the USDA’s 1955 Household Food Consumption Survey, for which she was also a major contributor.
            In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty using a rough measure provided by his Council of economic Advisors. As an indirect result of this, Mollie is tasked with extending her original analysis from families with children to the broader population. This bulletin was published by the Social Security Administration in January 1965 as “Counting the Poor: Another Look at the Poverty Profile.”
            Shortly after, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), the agency tasked with the lead in the War on Poverty, adopted Mollie’s extended threshold in May, 1965, as its working definition, but it wouldn’t be until August, 1969, that her threshold is made the Federal Government’s official statistical definition of poverty. (Fisher, 2008)
Understanding how our minimum wage came about and what our poverty line is based on is essential to developing an opinion about the current minimum wage issue. Considering the track record for the original minimum wage act and the most recent minimum wage increase, will the current minimum wage raise proposal be enough?
Fisher, G. (2008, January 1). Remembering Mollie Orshansky—The Developer of the Poverty Thresholds. Retrieved December 7, 2014, from
Gupta, A. (2013, November 11). Fight For 15 Confidential. Retrieved December 17, 2014, from

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gazing Balls

Several years ago, my late husband purchased me some beautiful glass gazing balls for my garden. They were shades or blue and green with glow-in-the-dark swirls. Were being the focus word here.

When the last beautiful orb broke, I decided I would not purchase any more so easily broken glass gazing balls.

My research into suitable replacements led me to gazing balls made from bowling balls. They seemed like a simple and easy replacement for the fragile glass gazing balls. The more I looked, they more types or styles of gazing balls I found, from solids to mosaics.

The one above is not my first, but my fifth. In another post, I place pictures of all my other garden balls along with some of my other garden art.

This ball is only partially complete as I ran out of the smaller frosted stones, even when I found the blue ones and frosted them my self. So I have to find the right size blue or green stone to complete the ball.

I also have this pink one in progress ...

The bowling ball was a beautiful pink marble color. The hearts are plastic table decor from Dollar Tree. Unfortunately for me, I only purchased 4 bags and will have to wait to either find some at a garage sale or buy more at Valentines to complete this ball.

Neither ball is grouted. My next post will show those I've already grouted, along with a few of my other favorite garden decorating items.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

So, I've Started College

It is very different to be a college student while I have one currently in college and one starting in the fall.

I've also been doing a lot of cleaning and sewing. I am about three weeks from having my third house completely cleaned out. I'm rather excited about this.

On the other hand, there's nothing like moving from a very large house to a fairly small house to help one understand how much stuff one owns. It also gives you an idea that you might have to divest yourself of quite a bit of items, not only to make your life easier, but because you don't have the space for the items.

I've been sorting my fabrics, laces, ribbons, trims, elastics and other sewing related items in my basement on to shelves. There is nothing like finding out exactly how much fabric and assorted related items that one owns. Sew, I'm finding that I have much more than I realized. Thus, the uptake in the amount of sewing that I'm trying to do. I made dresses for a friend's granddaughters and just completed a shirt for her. I cannot wait to give it to her.

I think the colors in this shirt will look very good with Sue's coloring. I am thinking of seeing what I've got to make the girls some Easter dresses. I just need to make some more time to sew.

I also just completed a commission for my MIL. She's a very special to me. Not only is she my hub's Mom, but she has survived cancer. I hope that the new bride she gave the table runner and placemats to really loved them.

I'm going to be doing more embroidery for sale, I've just got to put my etsy listing in place. I plan to also do custom sewing, like formals or wedding dresses. I also am teaching myself to do custom corsets. I've got 5 shelves of fabric currently, but I'm assembling 2 more. I've still got over 12 boxes of fabrics to sort out. I am amazed at what I truly have and it helps to be able to see the fabrics, not just the boxes.

You never really know what you have when you have everything packed into boxes. I'm finding fabrics and trims that I didn't remember that I had and others that I remember and have been looking for. When I touch certain fabrics, I remember why and for what outfit I bought them for. I am going to have my children (esp. my girls) come set up bins of fabrics I've purchased for them. I'm going to attach labels stating the pattern the fabric is intended for, and will pre-wash/dry them so that they are laundry friendly.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Welcome 2014

Last November, during an illness, I lost my phone. We don't really know how we are attached to our phones until we lose them. I think that mine went out with the trash.

I'm thankful, in this new year, that my husband had a phone that I could pickup and use with my old phone number and move forward. I miss my old phone's ability to take good pictures, automatically upload them to google+ for me and make my life so much easier in so many ways.

In the meanwhile, holidays, my cold and my house have cause me issues that set off one of my major negatives, one of those things we don't talk about because to do so means being shunned even in today's society. I have bipolar/depression issues. These keep me from functioning in ways I would like to. 

I was diagnosed with depression in my mid-teens (apx. 16). I have been on medication and off, and I cannot say that many of them were helpful.

All of that aside, this is a new year. I want to move in a new direction. I am going to figure out how to get pictures from the phone I have until I can get a new phone and I will write more recipes!! I'm having a great time cooking things from my new husband and a great time sharing foods with my kids.

Please be patient with my absence and look forward to more recipes and more sewing information!

Right now I'm working up ideas for Prom for my youngest daughter. I'm really excited about designing a dress for her.