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Feldsteins on Minimum Wage

April 26, 1988

I would like to respond to Martin and Kathleen Feldstein's article on the minimum-wage issue ("Sad Fallout From a Higher Minimum Wage," Op-Ed Page, April 13). Let the Feldsteins shuck their high-salaried jobs and higher educations to work for the minimum wage for one year.

They will find that they cannot afford two cars or insurance. They will barely be able to maintain a $350-a-month apartment (if they can find one). Their children will have to work after school to help pay bills. Their "American Dream" will be shattered because only 35% of Southern Californians can qualify for a home loan, and finally they may be forced out of their apartment if an unforeseen accident or illness occurs.

Yes the minimum-wage "fallout" is very "sad" indeed.

We must bring back the economic and job programs that the Reagan Administration has so viciously cut. Deep cuts in federal and state grants for higher education must be rescinded.

Without the "American Dream" for our young poor to grasp, they will continue to gravitate toward the street-corner society of ghetto life. By raising the minimum wage and bringing back the socioeconomic programs cut by the Reagan Administration, many of these people will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I keep asking myself where has the "trickle-down theory" gone that we all supported so fervently eight years ago? It is so blatantly obvious the theory does not work. When are we going to reverse this cycle? When the gangs and drug dealers move to Beverly Hills?

There has to be a way to raise the minimum wage without losing jobs. With all the brilliant economists in this country, not one can come up with an answer?

So I put the challenge to you, Mr. and Mrs. Feldstein, either live on the minimum wage for one year or work your tails off to find an equitable solution. People of your obvious talents should be up to the task. If not, the poor and homeless population will continue to grow as a blight on the American landscape.


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