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Scare tactic used in minimum-wage debate

April 13, 2006

Re " ... It's a major mistake," Opinion, April 11

State Sen. Tom McClintock's article is an example of the misinformation that permeates the minimum-wage debate. It's time to get the facts straight.

The vast majority (83%) of workers earning within a dollar of the state's minimum wage are adults, ages 20 to 64. More than half (56%) are adults who work full time.

Among California's families with minimum-wage workers, two in five (38%) rely on the minimum wage for all of their family earnings.

If California's minimum wage were raised by $1, 58% of the benefit would go to the poorest two-fifths of households. Raising the minimum wage is not a mistake; it's an opportunity to help California's working poor make ends meet.

JEAN ROSS

Executive Director

California Budget Project

Sacramento

*

McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) asserts that the working poor in California will lose out if the minimum wage is increased $1 an hour over the next two years. Baloney. Conservatives and fiscal penny pinchers like McClintock have been shouting this for years: Jobs will be lost, the working poor will not benefit because employers no longer can afford to hire them. It's nauseating how this scare tactic comes out every time a proposal to raise the minimum wage is introduced. California's low-income earners lag the rest of the country even with their higher minimum wage because the cost of living here is so high.

While McClintock uses fallacious and ridiculous arguments ($50 an hour minimum wage), he also illustrates how valuable his words are in his last sentence: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." He'd be better off sucking up to his corporate benefactors than trying to pretend to care about the working poor in California.

ERIC POTRUCH

Westchester

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