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Queens Chronicle

Raise the wage

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Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

One of the biggest issues that America faces is the growing poverty rate. The average minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour, which implies that full-time minimum-wage workers make an annual salary of $15,000. This salary is considered to be less than the federal poverty line for a parent with one child. A full-time minimum-wage worker cannot cover the cost of basic necessities with his or her yearly income. The majority of minimum-wage workers are hardly getting by in America.

The minimum wage is far too low given that crucial expenses such as gas, housing and food have risen significantly since the minimum wage last rose in 2009. The law that created the minimum-wage was intended to improve the standard of living and decrease poverty. Raising the minimum wage gives every family the chance to survive and succeed in this country.

During periods of high unemployment, many workers are forced to take lower-paying jobs, such as those in fast food and retail, because there are no other options available to them. Employers do not pay more than minimum wage because they know that their employees do not have higher-wage job opportunities. The workers are stuck in jobs that pay nothing and continue to struggle to afford the basic necessities.

An increase in the minimum wage is long overdue. It would not only benefit workers but the country as well. Higher-income jobs would construct a stronger economy. The government would benefit, as with more people working, it would pay less for welfare programs.

An increase would improve the economy, lessen poverty and assist the working class in financially supporting their families. It would reduce the income gap between the rich and poor, increase the standard of living for low earners and maintain social stability. We need this raise so that workers in the lowest-paying jobs can afford what they need, and businesses have the customers they need.

The writer is a student at Baruch College and a part-time retail employee.

Jonathan Yagodayev
Rego Park

Welcome to the discussion.