It has been well documented that low wage industries are subsidized by our government which costs taxpayers and takes away services and quality of life to help the poverty wage workers. In wine country, low wages have many families working 2-3 jobs to pay for unaffordable housing leaving little left for health needs and food. 96% of all food in Sonoma County is imported.
EDITOR: Martin J. Bennett’s Dec. 31 Close to Home column explained how much a living wage would be for Sonoma County (“What is a living wage for Sonoma County?”). Why do we need one?
Every conservative should favor a national living wage. Why? The essence of conservatism is individual responsibility. The present wage system allows corporations to pay low-wage workers less than a living wage. Then, to provide them with a modest standard of living, our government provides assistance for housing, food, health care, child care, etc. All of us pay for that.
Self-reliance would be well served if all workers received at least a living wage and were expected to make it on their own. Then government programs such as Section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. could be scrapped, saving citizens many billions of dollars per year and promoting individual responsibility. An additional benefit would be workers’ newfound sense of self-respect by doing without government assistance.
When employers don’t pay a living wage, the government does. Why should we citizens subsidize companies that pay less than a living wage in order to bolster their profits? Isn’t it time that employers who benefit from workers’ labor be forced to pay them a fair living wage?
GENE A. HOTTEL