|Posted by communications on July 16, 2014 at 8:55 PM|
NEW FREEDOM (Jul 16, 2014) – Linda Small released the following statement:
“State Sen. Wagner is still blaming workers for low wages and completely missing some key points in comments on his campaign email linking to a video entitled “Land of the Freebies, Home of the Enslaved.” Following his remarks a few weeks ago stating that there are plenty of higher wage jobs in the economy but workers need to have alarm clocks and be able to pass drug tests to get them, it is clear that he magnifies and stereotypes the problems of a few workers over finding solutions for the vast majority of workers. On a positive note, he has raised his suggested minimum wage up from the $8.00 an hour that he suggested before the primary to $8.50 an hour.
According to the York Dispatch, rather than acknowledge that the video stated that people using programs like Pell grants, disability, unemployment and Medicare were getting freebies and thus being enslaved, Wagner’s stated that he has no problem helping people who need help but then quickly returned to a discussion of fraud and dependence.
The myth of widespread fraud distracts from the underlying reasons for higher numbers of people needing SNAP, Medicaid health insurance, and unemployment: low wages and lack of health care benefits for many low wage workers. Many are unemployed thanks to Gov. Corbett’s education funding cuts which led to over 20,000 teacher layoffs in the state and Pennsylvania’s ranking between 45th and 49th among the states in job creation. Sen. Wagner notes that there are higher paying jobs available. While true, it does not increase the wages of the people who are working hard at low paying jobs. Sen. Wagner’s $8.50 keeps a single worker well within the range of qualifying for SNAP.
I am calling for a $10.10 minimum wage, which lifts single workers above the SNAP threshold. Every day the minimum wage is debated instead of raised workers fall farther behind.
The minimum wage should allow workers to be able to afford basic housing, food and transportation to get to work. Our politicians have allowed the wage to fall well behind inflation. We would not expect businessmen to accept payment at less than the cost of doing business, and then tell them to use taxpayer funded food stamps to get by. Yet our elected officials ask our minimum wage workers to accept wages at less than the cost of doing the business of keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table. Elected officials need to stop blaming low wage workers and get to work and raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation right away."