Fast Focus: 'What should determine the minimum wage?' Taxpayers subsidize low wages

June 15, 2014 

Most people are angry about government spending, but they don't seem to realize that we have been subsidizing businesses for decades. How? By keeping wages so low that at minimum wage, workers still qualify for state and federal aid. The billionaire CEOs and corporations are enjoying getting cheap labor at our cost. It's like giving them a kickback for hiring us.

The EIC (earned income credit) maximum for a single person is $14,300, for a married couple is $19,680, and $17,550 for a single parent with one child. If the minimum wage was set at $10 per hour, full-time, the income would be $20,800 a year. It would lift a lot of people off EIC, and billions of tax dollars would be made available for other things like paying down the deficit or fixing the nation's infrastructure. The most wonderful part would be that the businesses would be paying those dollars along with taxpayers. Welfare costs also would decrease because when bottom incomes increase, people will be able to afford housing, food and medical insurance. More people with more money to spend means demand will go up. More goods and services will be needed to meet that demand. I would rather pay an extra 25 to 50 cents for a cup of coffee than keep on subsidizing corporations whose CEOs make billions a year.

Yes, I do think they can afford it. Besides, everyone knows, they'll just pass the cost along to us, which is OK because they'll have to pay it, too.

-- MARY KNOX, Kennewick

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