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Letter: The $3 difference

I have a question. What is the difference between an unskilled, low-value, less-educated worker living in New Hampshire in 1968 compared to an unskilled, low-value, less-educated worker living here today? Try $3 an hour!

In 1968 the minimum wage worker was earning the equivalent of $10.56 per hour compared to the miserly minimum wage set today at $7.25 per hour. Translation: Today’s minimum-wage worker needs government support to pay basic bills (like food, shelter, heat, etc.). It sure sounds like we have created a scenario that allows low-wage employers to suck off the government teat expecting John Q. Taxpayer to keep “their employees” afloat.

Don’t you just hate freeloaders?



Legacy Comments24

As usual - as disingenuous as a liberal can possibly be. "for a family of four to live on the current minimum wage would produce a family income of about $15,000 a year. A family of four with an annual income of $15,000 would be eligible for food stamps amounting to $7,584 and an earned income tax credit of $5,372. That raises the family income to $27,911. The family would also be eligible for Medicaid, school lunch and breakfast programs, perhaps housing assistance and other forms of help." The overall federal tax system is more progressive today than it has been in the past 35 years ! Those are the policies that Arnie has fought for her entire she calls those citizens FREELOADERS

so, Sail, you think that all poor people should be kept penniless and in poverty, right?? Maybe you should propose a state, or even better, a national law change to have all poor people abort any pregnancy; thus keeping the number of poor low and get lower each year. You could require that any couple getting pregnant PROVE they have adequate income to provide food, health coverage and education for their unborn child. Thus, within a couple of generations, there will be no more poor people, so your federal tax system wouldn't have to provide for them, right?? And, that would be MUCH better than you paying any taxes to support those FREELOADERS !!

Wouldn't work. I remember hearing a right winger saying once let the gays marry, they can't have children so eventually they will die out. And then of course Reagan who seemed to think that aids would eventually kill them all, but we seem to have more gays than ever. Same with poor, next Republican pres will cause another recession and we will have more poor than ever, because they will have gotten rid of SS and gotten rid of obamacare and medicare., and let the churches take care of the poor.

Ahhh..I love the subject changing we went from poor people to gays is a mystery. But I suppose any subject change is good when you can bash Reagan. I think Reagan spent over $6 billion combating aids, no idea how much that is in todays money. Still no cure btw.

If he did, it must be because someone told him it wasn't only gays getting it. W to give him his due did the most to combat aids in Africa. His father refused to let the US distribute condoms because of his fear of the religious right.

Walter, I may be a little off topic here, connecting poverty to the minimum wage the letter was about, but your connecting the two got me thinking. Quite coincidentally, there was an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal, and the subtitle was “In families headed by married couples, the poverty level in 2012 was just 7.5%. Those with a single mother: 33.9%.” What if we began to teach our young women to get married and become financially responsible before having children? It appears that a choice to have children outside of marriage seems like a choice that condemns not only the woman, but also her children, to a life of poverty, and severely limits their ability to escape that fate. We are very comfortable teaching our children not to do other things that can have bad, life-long effects, such as drugs, smoking, drinking and driving, or texting while driving. Why not teach them to make a life enhancing decision, and not choose poverty?

Walter, a second thought on your connecting people stuck with minimum wage and poverty. In another post I suggested the apparent relationship between families with children led by single mothers and poverty. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of the current law is that if a high school girl has a child, the government will start sending her checks to support herself and her child. And, if there’s no father present, she gets more money. And, if she has more children, she gets even more money! It would seem like the government, while hoping to be compassionate, is actually incentivizing her to make choices that will condemn her and her children to a life of poverty. If I didn’t know better, I’d think these laws were written by someone who had an interest in encouraging more people to get stuck in poverty.

Makes one wonder why Republicans are so against birth control.

Nonsense: our current tax system is far less progressive than it use to be. And to be clear, you seem confused about who she's calling freeloaders--it isn't the workers. We are subsidizing low wage employers, who encourage their employees to apply for food stamps and other anti-poverty measures, rather than pay them a living wage. On progressivity: tax cuts and rate changes, along with other deliberate measures, have resulted in redistributing income and wealth upward dramatically over the last 35 years: "...the current U.S. tax system is less progressive than the tax systems of other industrialized countries, and considerably less progressive today than it was just a few decades ago."

I think you have it exactly backwards. It is the personal, life-long responsibility of every citizen to do something productive with their life, including economically. It is specifically NOT the responsibility of an employer, or any other person, to provide for someone else the lifestyle they would like. If one wants to work for an employer, and the employer offers a wage commensurate with the value added to the product, and one is willing to work for that wage, then do it! Otherwise, free to find something else to do. To the author, and every other politician who favors having a minimum wage, I suggest you take some initiative and participate in solving the problem. Instead of imposing your will on everyone else, why not just start a business, and pay your employees more than the current minimum wage? You’ll have solved the second biggest problem in business, by having a plethora of dependable, qualified people anxious to work for you. If they add an appropriate amount of value to your product, you’ll also be able to solve the first problem in business, making a profit. And, every other businessman will follow your example, effectively raising the minimum wage for everyone.

Thank you for that clear and correct explanation. Unfortunately, those who allow emotion to stand clearly in the way of common sense and intelligence will never understand or agree with what you wrote. But you are very correct. Great post.

It's the responsibility of employers to provide a living wage otherwise without Goverment subsidies all you would have is slaves not employees. Slave beholding to the company to purchase goods andservices by entering in to debt agreements with the company store to continue employment. This practice was ended years ago thanks to goverment and union intervention. Conservatives keep harping on reducing Goverment assistance to the poor but then object to paying a living wage. Sheesh!

show one quote where anyone says we want to reduce Govt assistance to the poor - Ya cant - it's liberal rhetoric

The writer has a selective memory. Before, during, and after the 2012 election, and until the issue of the minimum wage became the topic du jour, conservatives on here and elsewhere attacked the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as part of their war on the poor--trying to divide the nation into their notion of 'makers and takers'. The EITC has been a significant factor in lifting many above the poverty line; it was put into law during the Reagan years, with his enthusiastic backing, and is a variation of a concept championed by Milton Friedman. Those who qualify for the EITC may pay no federal income tax as a result, but certainly pay other taxes at both the state and federal level. But that didn't stop conservatives from demonizing those who qualified for the EITC as little better than parasites.

I never read anyone complaining about the EITC and honestly I believe it is a good thing for those lowe income people. But this has turned into a nation of "makers and takers". 'From those according to ability; to those according to their need". No one can deny that is the way things are going and have gone. It is a fact that if you let people keep more of their hard earned money, they will spend it creating prosperity for almost everyone and greater tax revenue for the government. The continued reliance on government redistribution from and to is ignorant, dangerous and nefarious.

You were one of several on here complaining repeatedly about how many low income Americans "paid no taxes." Qualifying for the EITC is the principal reason they pay little or no income tax. I pointed this out on several occasions before, during and after the election. Therefore, whether you bothered to realize it or not, you were "complaining about the EITC".

BS BC, never thought of repealing the EITC, My point is that you about how little the top pays and they pay 90% of the taxes. The bottom pays nearly nothing except social taxes which should be paid by everyone as they will get those back at retirement time. So BS BC.

Not quite…you pulled that 90% figure out of thin air. However you wish to spin it, the reason the wealthy pay so much in federal taxes is because they are making so much money. The top 10% pay about half of the total tax burden--not 90%. Counting all taxes--federal, state, and local, they pay an average of 30% of their income in local, state, and federal taxes, while taking home 45% of the nation's income, meaning the system is still modestly progressive.Those in the middle pay 25% of their income in taxes--not much different than the % the top 10% pay, and the reason people feel burdened by their taxes. Meanwhile, the income and wealth disparities between the rich and everyone else continue to grow larger, even as their hirelings in Congress press for further reductions in what they pay. BTW: "the bottom " are subject to most of the same taxes everyone pays, not just "social taxes"; .everything except the income tax if they make less than the minimum taxable amount. As a percentage of their income, I suspect the tax burden of the poor is nearly the same as that of the top 10%, if it isn't larger. Meanwhile, we're busy whittling their benefits down, in lieu of things like "repealing the EITC". It amounts to the same thing--taking from the poor and giving to the rich, since those cuts are to pay for the deficits created in large part by tax cuts.

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved sweeping reforms to the nation's food stamp program that would cut some $40 billion in nutrition aid over 10 years and deny benefits to millions starting in 2014.

NEWS FLASH for the liberals.......Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" programs that Democrats propose a $9 billion cut in the federal food stamp program known as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

What do you think would happen to the economy if everyone was able to aspire to a higher paying job and no one signed up to work those jobs that are currently minimum wage, or close to minumum wage? The fact is, corporations NEED people in those jobs, and as long as they are needed, they should be paid a decent wage - by the corporation, not by the government.

FoF - you've left me a little confused. If an employer had entry level jobs for which he was offering only minimum wage, and no one signed up to work those jobs, he would voluntarily raise the wages he was willing to pay to get the job done. Entry level workers would be paid more. Isn't that what we're trying for?

tbransco - it was a rhetorical questions, based on an unachievable theoretical. We can never test the hypothesis because there will always be people who apply for the minimum wage jobs. My point is that, just because there will always be a suppy of people to perform those necessary jobs, does not mean that corporations should be allowed to take advantage of them by paying them wages that they cannot live on.

i think your post flies in the facts on the history of the minimum wage. Nor does it jibe with the shared prosperity economic model that the other advanced democracies have managed to maintain, while our own nation has become less fair, and less democratic --the two go together. Our current system is the result of deliberate policies put in place over the last 30 years--not the result of invisible hands. No on can argue that person responsibility is not an important value, one to be encouraged. But wages have not kept pace with productivity for 3 decades in this country, while other nations have managed to maintain a strong industrial base, pay high wages, and maintain a functioning democracy. We seem to be doing less and less of all 3.

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