All people should have a livable wage

Society also has a responsibility

I tried to read Mr. Randy Gray’s Dec. 6 letter regarding personal responsibility and the minimum wage lifestyle in the spirit it was intended. After all, someone who has several children by the age of 28 is probably not making the most sound economic choices. However, this has nothing to do with the buying power of the current minimum wage.

Do you remember those heady days of the 1990s when everyone was concerned about “welfare cheats” and people getting something for nothing? This is before we had to bail out the banks that screamed to be unfettered by government regulation and then promptly destroyed the economy.

Well, now it seems that people who work and want a fair wage, one they can actually live on, are the new beggars.

The economic reality is that even if this 28-year-old mentioned in Mr. Gray’s letter and the article Mr. Gray was referencing had one child or two children, which by the way is the norm, minimum wage would still be a struggle. Rents keeping going up, even when the area in which you live does not seem to merit it. Food certainly has not gotten cheaper.

I agree that personal responsibility is incredibly important. But society, to include all employers, also has a responsibility. If you cannot afford to live on a minimum wage, and I mean paying for rent, food and other basic expenses for yourself and one or two children, then basically society is telling workers that the gains made throughout the 20th century, and for which workers fought and even died, were meaningless.

Now, it seems the good old days of the company store and forced labor are making a comeback.

James Cimino


Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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