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‘Welcome to the new poverty’

Dear editor:

Governor Wolf wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00. Minimum wage is minimum wage for a reason. Many people start out at the minimum wage to see if they will work out, if they show promise they receive pay increases. Many jobs are classified as minimum wage jobs because they are not worth more than that to the employer. How many people who work in department stores now make between $7.25 and $12? How many people in grocery stores now make between $7.25 and $12? The person who has been on the job for a few years and has worked up to $10 or $11 will now get a $1 raise to bring him or her up to the same pay as the person who just started or is doing a lesser job. That will certainly make for satisfied, happy employees. Where are the employers going to get the money for all of these increases? Do you think the stores are going to just absorb all of the pay increases? Did you say that this will help the minimum workers? How about all of the staffing cuts that the stores will make to bring the payroll back into a manageable range. Where are these people going to find another job? Do you think that the people that are let go will be the good employees? How about all of the employees that will now be put on part time, to lower the stores cost on benefits. Benefits are an expensive part of payroll, and part timers don’t have to get benefits, so they will make $12 with no benefits. Then again, the cost of that new shirt you wanted just skyrocketed. The cost of that pound of bologna just went through the roof. Will that help the person who just got laid off in order to balance the payroll? How about your grandma, and all of the retired people, who need Social Security as a big part of their living expense? Will Social Security be going up by 40%, or will our elderly population become the new poor? Mom or grandma now has to sell the house that she was trying to stay in, because with all of the cost increases, she won’t be able to afford it anymore. Move over, mom or grandma is moving in, with you. This only touches the surface of increasing the minimum wage by $5 an hour.

The above paragraph might lead you to think that I am against raising the minimum wage; nothing is farther from the truth. Where was the governor two, three, four years ago when they could have raised it by 50 cents an hour every year? They were asleep at the switch. Well, why not raise it to $8 this year and $8.75 next year and so on? Millionaire politicians do not live in, or even slightly understand, the world of the middle class and certainly have no concept of the world of the poor. The world looks a lot different when you are looking at in from an Ivory tower, through rose colored glasses. Come on down to our world, and then come up with some of your great plans.

Joe Skinner