RTo the Editor:
I believe Ruth Johnson’s recent letter on raising the minimum wage includes some unrealistic generalizations, incomplete information and questionable predictions.
Even if you accept Johnson’s assertion that the minimum wage was never meant to support a family, the reality is that today many people are trying to support a family with a minimum-wage job (or jobs). She says that with experience, training or education workers can expect to qualify for full-time jobs and afford a house, car and family. In reality, for a variety of reasons, many individuals will never “qualify” for such jobs.
Additionally, Johnson asserts that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss. The Congressional Budget Office did report that gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 may result in a loss of 500,000 jobs, which is only a 0.3 percent decrease in employment. At the same time, the CBO forecast the increase would mean higher wages for 16.5 million workers and lift 900,000 out of poverty.
Workers earning the new minimum wage will pay additional income, Social Security and Medicare taxes and boost the economy by spending their additional income. The Economic Policy Institute found that the minimum wage increase would raise wages by $35 billion and boost GDP by $22 billion.
Johnson notes that if the minimum wage is raised, McDonald’s hamburgers will cost more. Perhaps, but another option for McDonald’s would be reducing executive compensation, including the $9 million annual compensation of CEO Don Thompson.
Lastly, I refer Johnson and others to the Jan. 8, 2014, letter sent on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA to U.S. senators noting that the current minimum wage falls short of the just wage standard outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
RTo the Editor: