This letter is in support of Tiffany Potter’s excellent January column calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage.
Yes, we have low unemployment, so people think our economy is doing well: it isn’t.
Even the very conservative The Washington Times noted in an article written by Bailey Vogt on Dec. 3, 2019, “Nearly half of Americans are working low-wage jobs despite unemployment numbers being at a record low, a new study released in late November found.” The new study is that of the (also very conservative) Brookings Institute which reported that 44% of US workers from ages 18 – 64 are in jobs that pay them the median annual wage of $18,000.
“There simply are not enough jobs paying decent wages for people without college degrees (who make up the majority of the labor force) to escape low-wage work,” the writers found that 53 million of low-wage jobs are held by people ages 25 – 54; they are not recent graduates.
And a recent Gallup survey showed that people felt that their job was mediocre to terrible, and 1 in 5 workers said their benefits have worsened over the last five years. “Nearly half of all workers earn wages that are not enough, on their own, to promote economic security,” reports the Washington Times.
None of this should be happening in the richest country in the world. And to their credit, all the Democratic presidential hopefuls support an increase in the minimum wage.
Yvonne M. Surette