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Your views: Hard-working Americans deserve decent wage

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February 28, 2014

Conservatives complain about people on welfare, but then they refuse to pay the working poor a living wage.
The 500,000 jobs that would supposedly be lost by a higher minimum wage—according to conservatives and media headlines—is only a compromise estimate, the New York Times reported Feb. 20. It oversimplifies what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said: There is a two-thirds chance that a $10.10 wage would result in anywhere from just above zero to 1 million job cuts. It really doesn't know, so it compromised at the halfway mark. Yet most arguments have settled at that made-up 500,000 figure.
And most of those low-paid workers are not teens: Ninety percent are 20 and older (with 56 percent women), with 53 percent working full time. The conservatives ignore the benefits of raising the minimum wage listed by the CBO: More than 16 million low-wage workers would make more money, plus another 8 million would probably get raises through a “ripple effect.”
That would add $31 billion to the paychecks of families ranging from poverty level to middle class, and it would all get spent, which would boost our nation's economy.
The conservatives' mantra—“We're focused on getting people back to work”—is of little value to those who don't get paid enough to support their families. Minimum-wage earners are among the “hard-working Americans” that politicians keep talking about. It's time—again—to pay them a decent wage for their work.
DEN ADLER
Janesville



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