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Both parties should support paying living wage

Dec. 25, 2013 at 6:25 a.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

Why do I support raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation?

I think of myself as a fiscal conservative. I don't like what I see as a growing dependence on government benefits. I want people to take care of themselves. Paying people a living wage is a necessary first step.

Let's be real about it. If you force people to work for $7.25 an hour, you're basically guaranteeing them a salary below the poverty line. They will need a range of government help: food stamps, housing assistance, tax credits and so forth.

A living wage is particularly important for women, who make up more than 60 percent of those who would benefit from a cost of living minimum wage. Too many businesses make record profits from paying low wages, while forcing people to depend on the government to pick up the slack.

The standard objection is that raising the minimum wage will hurt small businesses, but most economists say these businesses will adjust - and that many will thrive, since more people will be able to afford their goods and services.

This is an issue both parties should support. Raising the minimum wage will help lift millions of workers out of poverty, stimulate the economy and help families across the country.

Can you even remember the last time the minimum wage was raised? Now is the time!

Jim Bluntzer, Goliad

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