J. Villarreal: Let economic justice prevail

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In 1970, the minimum wage was $1.60 for most workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Keeping up with inflation, that figure should be about $10 an hour in 2014. Instead, the minimum wage is $7.25.

Now that Congress has failed to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, the public cannot afford to let the gap between what workers are being paid and what they need to live go unaddressed.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act, setting the minimum wage at $10.10 per hour, could lift 5 million people out of poverty and millions more in the long term who would otherwise have to struggle for a decent standard of living on minimum wage.

Adjusting the minimum wage is also required to prevent the stagnation in wages while the cost of living skyrockets. That would solve the problem that produced the situation in the first place where, in most states, one minimum wage job is simply not enough to keep up with the costs of living.

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My parents have to work multiple jobs to pay rent, let alone help my siblings go to college in the future. The legislation would give families such as mine access to the right to have a stable home and educational opportunities without all the sacrifice.

The public should rally against punitive measures attacking the poor, and our representatives should support the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

We cannot let this die in the House. The United States deserves economic justice.

Jake Villarreal, Lewiston

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