BY STATE REP. STEPHEN KINSEY/Â It is my duty as a lawmaker to work to raise the minimum wage.
In 1963, an hour of work at the minimum wage bought more than seven loaves of bread. Today it buys less than half that amount, and when you apply the same principle of inflation to other costs of living, many employees earning the minimum wage today work until the middle of next month to pay this monthâ€™s bills.
There are volumes of studies and numerous self-sufficiency calculators on the internet to support those claims â€“ just pick one and be honest with your idea of basic expenses. Youâ€™ll most likely find, as I have, that $7.25 per hour is not enough for anyone to stay afloat.
Furthermore, when studies show more than three out of four Americans support a raise in the minimum wage, itâ€™s my duty as a lawmaker to support their will just as I owe solutions to drivers when concrete falls from a bridge.
Itâ€™s perplexing to me that opponents of raising the minimum wage defend firms that want to pay low wages but dismiss the fact that 40% of fast-food employees nationwide, for example, rely on about $3.8 billion a year in public aid just to get by.
In other words, when those companies should be paying an employee enough to eat, have shelter and get to work â€“ regardless of age or household configuration â€“ they are actually subsidizing their labor costs and allowing taxpayers to pick up the tab.
Thatâ€™s using tax dollars for private profit â€“ something I am just as proud to oppose as I am to support the right to a livable wage.