Raise the Minimum Wage

Dear Linda Sanchez,

In this letter I urge you to support H.R. 5901, a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour.

Justice demands that governments provide their people with a life worthy of human dignity. A person who is struggling just to survive in the supposedly “most powerful” nation in the world cannot be said to be living such a life.

The Census estimates that, on average, groceries make up 13% of living expenses. This means that a person earning a minimum wage has a budget of about $157 per month for food. However, according to the USDA, the cost of food per month for a male between the ages of 19-50 is about $181, and for a female of the same age range, $161.

This one fact alone is a sign that millions are struggling.

But perhaps it's not as bad as the numbers make it seem. Perhaps some are able to cut back on transportation to make up for the loss in food or perhaps some are able to cut back on heating. Maybe some even cut back on their children's education. Yes, it is true that we do not hear of many people in America dying of starvation so in a sense, it can't be that bad. But is that the standard? How hard do people have to struggle before we increase the minimum wage?

The demands of justice are indeed difficult to meet and if America were a developing country, it may be said that we could not do much about it. However, that is not the case. America, with all its wealth, can address this problem and therefore has a stronger duty to provide its people with a dignified life.

Jason Chen