Imagine a living wage that lifts people out of poverty and gives them the dignity and hope that all people deserve. When people have options and hope, crime goes down, drug abuse goes down, and our prison populations decrease. With a living wage, people can fend for themselves and not have to depend on public aid. Talk of raising the minimum wage is usually paired with negative claims about whom it would hurt. Real life examples of communities that have raised the minimum wage (read about Oregon) have demonstrated that these claims are misleading. What you rarely hear discussed are the many positive outcomes of a true living wage. In addition to giving people hope and dignity while decreasing crime and drug abuse, a living wage increases worker morale and health which improves worker productivity.

Historically, when the minimum wage is increased, the economy benefits. Why? Because instead of the 1% hoarding the wealth, the increased wages feed the economy. More buying power for millions of people means businesses thrive and add jobs, and new businesses are born to meet the new demands for goods and services.

The 1% feed us lies about a living wage in order to control us and to maintain their grip on continually increasing their wealth. It is time to imagine what our society could be and raise the minimum wage to a true living wage. No matter what job you do, a 40-hour work week deserves a living wage.

Keith Wolcott, Charleston

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