Sheridan Neimark: Public benefits are not substitute for decent wages
CAROL LOLLIS Lisa Grant, left, and Robyn Spateholts, who work in the deli at State Street Fruit Store in Northampton, are two of thousands of employees in the state who would likely benefit from a proposal to increase the state's minimum raise from $8 to $11 over the next three years. Purchase photo reprints »
To the editor:
In a letter Nov. 28 stating that an increase in the minimum wage would be a “lame-brain idea,” the writer correctly states, in part, “An $11 an hour rate will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices ….”
But folks who believe in a low minimum wage or none at all are some of the same folks who believe in low taxes and user fees. In other words, the public in general should not have to pay taxes to support what they don’t use.
Yet these same folks don’t seem to mind that public programs, e.g. food stamps and public institutions, for which we all pay, are needed in many cases because people don’t earn enough to live on.
It’s not only moral and ethical to pay workers enough to live on, but it’s also right that people who buy goods and services from both large and small businesses not depend on public programs and institutions to make up for low wages. Higher prices as a result of increased worker wages should be looked on as user fees.
Silver Spring, Md.
Sheridan Neimark was visitng Northampton last week.