Letter: Low wages threaten economy

Government benefits available to the working poor represent taxpayer assistance to those who work for low wages for corporations and other employers whose profits have never been higher. While wages have been stagnant or depressed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has broken the 16,000 mark, and it appears that federal subsidies to the workforce are one of the reasons for these record profits. In effect, the federal government now pays part of the wages that corporations should be paying their workers.

There is no minimum wage law in the state of Louisiana, so the minimum wage defaults to the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. This is an anachronistic wage, and taxpayers should not be subsidizing those corporations who use it as a basis to pay their workers. Instead, the federal minimum wage should be raised by a minimum of, say, $2 to force corporations to use part of their profits to improve the salaries of their minimum-wage workers. In this way, corporate profits would replace the taxpayer dollars that are now needed to assist the working poor.

Continuation of the current policy of low wages, high profits and escalating government subsidies could conceivably result in a monetary imbalance that could destabilize the economy and lead to social unrest. The minimum wage must be raised.

Carl Bernofsky

retired professor