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Letters to the Editor

March 5, 2014

In Your Opinion: Low wages are costing us all

Since the 1960s, the number of women in the workforce has increased by more than 50 percent. However, by age of 65, the average woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime because of an earning gap with male employees who do the same job.

Today, 49 million children depend on women’s salaries and two-thirds of those earning the minimum wage are women. Liberals understand that some people will earn more money than others; however, a majority of Americans also agree that no one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty.

In the developed world, only Mexico, Chile and Turkey have a higher rate of children living in poverty than America. Approximately 16 million of our children live in poverty, and half live with a single mother.

Very profitable companies that pay low wages are costing taxpayers billions in food stamps, because their employees don’t earn enough money to stay out of poverty.

Workers who come back after their jobs have been shipped overseas often come back at a significantly lower wage scale. I’ve always believed that opportunity and hard work go hand-and-hand, but good things don’t always happen to hardworking people, who are more vulnerable today, because of the global economy.

According to a Pew Research poll, 51 percent of Republicans think people are poor because of a lack of effort, and only 32 percent of Republicans think poverty is due to circumstances beyond a person’s control.

Although 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty, Congressman Chris Gibson voted to cut food stamps by $40 billion. He also voted not to raise the debt ceiling. Does that mean that it’s OK for us not to pay our school taxes? Will Gibson oppose increasing the minimum wage?

Jim O’Leary


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