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Jarvill: $10.10 must be the standard

BY SAM JARVILL | JULY 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Johnson County raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. This is a step that is going to set course for our community to progress in the right direction — our country should also follow suit. The ability for this to happen nationwide is something more of a pressing issue.

It is our moral obligation as Americans to uphold the values that makes the foundation of this country. By not raising the minimum wage at this point, we would deny a large part of our nation equality as well as the ability to support themselves, while also pursuing happiness and self-liberties.

The American Dream, laid out in our Declaration of Independence, is something that people work for every day. This is the land of opportunity in many people’s eyes. In order for it to continue to be viewed in such a manner, we need to understand that everyone deserves a shot at making a decent living.

While people are working more than 50 hours per week at minimum wage, or having numerous jobs only to barely meet the poverty line, we are losing as a country. We know the people working these jobs: People depend on their goods and services, while they also depend on the others’ goods and services. It is a cyclical nature, necessary to the economic ecosystem. Nobody working a full-time job should have to raise a family in poverty, which more than 45 million Americans are living in currently.     Raising the minimum wage may also help certain people go out and look for employment compared to being unemployed or living on social programs. However, that being said, work productivity has gone up faster than minimum wages.

Using 1968 as a benchmark, if minimum wage went up at the same rate as worker productivity, the minimum wage would be $21.72. This shows that people are working harder without a similar reward. The average CEO should not make 933 times more than a full-time, minimum-wage worker.

While this issue remains stagnant in Congress, there are a number of state legislatures, governors, mayors, and business owners who have done the right thing and raised wages for their residents and employees. This is a heavily discussed political issue, but it is also a moral issue that affects the daily lives of people who work overtime just to get by.

There are numerous positive effects that would result from raising the minimum wage: Raise families out of poverty would also increase the middle class, which would also result in lowering income inequality, stimulating the economy, and reducing dependency on social programs such as welfare.

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in regards to the National Industrial Recovery Act. “By living wages, I mean more than a bare subsistence level. I mean the wages of a decent living.”

If it was clear to him when he was said that in 1933, then why is it not clear to Congress and many people today?


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