Letter to the Editor: GA Rep Westmoreland: Minimum Wage

I hope during Representative Westmoreland’s Townhall on Monday that many people will remind him that it is time for a raise by encouraging him to support raising the minimum wage to $10.50/hr from the current $7.25.

He should support “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

That’s right: In 1968, the real value of minimum wage was $10.65. Ever since then, we’ve been losing ground.

It’s time for a raise, Rep. Westmoreland: support “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

Currently, those who work minimum wage fall well below the federal poverty level of $18,123. It bothers me that people can’t break even.

It’s time for a raise, Rep. Westmoreland: support “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

According to many leading economists in an open letter in support of the bill, “If a worker today is employed full time for a full 52-week year at a minimum wage job today, she or he is making $15,080. This is 19 percent below the official poverty line for a family of three.”

It’s time for a raise, Rep. Westmoreland: support

“The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

Like me, many people have always assumed that only young people make minimum wage; however, the economists write that “only 9.3 percent of the workers who would benefit from this minimum wage increase are teenagers; i.e., 90.7 percent are adults.”

It’s time for a raise, Rep. Westmoreland: support “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

According to the Thomaston Chamber of Commerce, that as of 20007 Wal-Mart is the area’s second largest employer. I didn’t know until recently that Wal-Mart’s CEO makes $11,000 an hour? The average Wal-Mart employee, however, makes $15,576 a year.

My Gosh!:

Wal-Mart’s CEO makes $11,000 an hour.

The average Wal-Mart employee makes $15,576 a year.

It’s time for a raise, Mr. Westmoreland: support

“The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

Now, Rep. Westmoreland will argue that raising the minimum to a living wage will kill jobs. In fact, he’ll reference the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), which says that the minimum kills jobs. However, this “think tank’s” own Website admits that it’s in the tank for big business. The NCPA has always resisted the bill.

Therefore, he responded to a letter I wrote him by telling me he doesn’t support this modest raise in the minimum wage now or anytime soon.

It’s time for a raise, Mr. Westmoreland: support “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

In fact, the economists who write in support of the bill argue that “the weight of evidence from the extensive professional literature has, for decades, consistently found that no significant effects on employment opportunities result when the minimum wage rises in reasonable increments. This is because the increases in overall business costs resulting from a minimum wage increase are modest.”

These economists, furthermore, argue that “on average, even fast-food restaurants, which employ a disproportionate share of minimum wage workers, are likely to see their overall business costs increase by only about 2.7 percent from a rise today to a $10.50 federal minimum wage. That means, for example, that McDonalds could cover fully half of the cost increase by raising the price of a Big Mac, on average, from $4.00 to $4.05. The remaining half of the adjustment could come through small productivity gains or a slightly more equal distribution of companies’ total revenues.”

It’s time for a raise, Mr. Westmoreland: support “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

It’s time for Wal-Mart—Upson County’s second largest employer—to pay its employees a living wage, one that doesn’t force its hard working employees on Medicaid and Food Stamps.

Henry Ford once said the following: “If you cut wages, you just cut the number of your own customers. If an employer does not share prosperity with those who make him prosperous, then pretty soon there will be no prosperity to share. That is why we think it is good business always to raise wages and never to lower them. We like to have plenty of customers.”

If you’d like more information on this subject, please visit timeforaraise.org

I hope all of you will go to the Townhall on Monday and tell Representative Westmoreland that It’s time for a raise: support “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.”

Sincerely,

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