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Letter: Hike the minimum wage

Minimum wage is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. This issue is particularly relevant to Franklin County and the Pioneer Valley, as many residents are currently living off of federal minimum wage.

The Massachusetts Senate made a statement by approving a bill that will raise hourly minimum wage from $8 to $11 by 2016. Raising the federal minimum wage as soon as possible provides multiple benefits for workers and citizens, including improved life for families, positive economic recovery and help people get out of debt.

According to research by economist James Galbraith, 28 million Americans will benefit from the minimum wage being raised. Women will particularly benefit, as they currently often work for less pay than men.

In order for the economy to return to full power, the wealth must be restored to middle-class Americans. A redistribution of wealth will not only create more equality among workers, but also close the gap between productivity and wages.

Finally, as the economy becomes constantly focused on Wall Street and stocks, the wealth travels to the top one percent. As this trend occurs, federal minimum wage remains frozen in time. The price of living increases, but the minimum wage does not, resulting in families plummeting into debt.

Raising the federal minimum wage will not only help families climb out of the government- inflicted debt, but also prevent this from happening again. Only time will tell whether the federal minimum wage will be raised, but the positive aspects overwhelmingly outweigh the negative aspects in this debate.

SAM DANFORD

FRED SMITH

ELI CHAMBERS

Turners Falls High School

I recently wrote an article about how an increase in the minimum wage rate increases unemployment. You can read it here: http://wp.me/p3N9zD-4e

I do not think raising the minimum wage is an answer. The jobs that pay at the bottom of the scale are meant for entry level employment. If you raise it the people who have more skill will want an increase and the employers will want to raise the cost of their products or services to pay for the increased wages. Then the cost of living will go up and one will be right were they started. A dollar taco stays at a dollar only if the price covers all costs and provides some profit. When the cost of labor is more than x automation will replace the order taker. Just look at a grocery stores. Checkers have been replaced. Education is the key. College education is not the answer. It is overpriced. Learn to repair the automated machines. I think service on a car is based on $95 an hour.

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