Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

October 2, 2013

These working families need an increase in the minimum wage

The point being made by David Webb in his Sept. 27 letter (“It could actually hurt those people it was intended to help”) isn’t convincing because his basic premise is an apples vs. oranges argument that fails to differentiate between needs and wants.

Most Americans need to work in order to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves and their families. Not many, however, need a used yard sale waffle iron even if it’s something they want.

Mr. Webb’s letter does not mention the fact that the cost of items necessary to sustain life (groceries, utilities, and housing) have quietly and persistently increased to the point where $290 a week (40 hours at the current $7.25 per hour before tax deductions) simply does not cover the basics.

It’s much too late to shut the door on government regulation of the economy since the Federal Reserve already sets the prime interest rate, Congress has approved minimum tax rates, and various tariffs push the price of goods up or down, to list only a couple of government economic regulations.

The U.S. economy was a well-oiled mechanism when there was a large middle class, whose taxes on wages and discretionary spending for wants kept all the gears turning.

And while that may not happen again, it’s imperative that the minimum wage be raised so those of us fortunate enough to be employed can contribute to the sustenance of the many who are out of work through no fault of their own and so that every working family can meet its need for food and shelter.

Raise the minimum wage.

Sherry Dougherty

Ridgeley, W.Va.

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