Raise minimum wage, poverty standards

Americans should be outraged and disgusted that the national minimum wage is $7.25. All Americans, even those making more than minimum wage, should be speaking on behalf of our workers and advocating for a higher minimum wage. The minimum wage was set at $7.25 per hour in July 2009. How many people do you know that, before taxes, can live on $290 per week given the current price of groceries, gas, rent and utilities? One’s most basic needs, living in the United States right now, will easily cost more than $1,000 per month.

What should be the standard of living in the United States? Do we want everyone to be able to live a “comfortable” life? Are we OK with a significant portion of our population being the working-class impoverished? I believe that having an impoverished working class is totally unacceptable for our country. The poverty threshold for an individual in the United States is currently at $11,490 per year according to the U.S. government. So again I ask, who can live on less than $1,000 per month? Probably nobody.

So, perhaps re-evaluating the poverty threshold would be a step towards setting a higher minimum wage. If one needs food and shelter just to survive – perhaps, but most unlikely – that could be accomplished with minimum-wage earnings. However, the person’s quality of life would be very low. Let’s do the right thing and urge our congressmen and senators to up the minimum wage to a minimum of $10 per hour with a built-in clause to raise it annually by half of the increase in the cost of living per year.

Craig S. Hutton

Ignacio

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