Mr. Borris, owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering (Feb. 22 letter), should be ashamed of himself for paying his employees only $10 an hour. He calls this a "living wage," but it comes to only $22,000 per year, working full-time and without vacations. Who could possibly raise a family on that? This salary is below the poverty line and does not allow a person to adequately feed, clothe and house him or herself and family, especially in a place like Northbrook where his company is located.
He needs to pay his people at least $20 an hour if he wants to provide a "living wage." This would at least let someone get an apartment and maybe even a car, with enough left to buy moderately priced clothes and enough food to be healthy.
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But why stop there? Don't we want people who work hard to get ahead in life? Buy a house? Put the kids through college? Of course we do. That's why Illinois should raise the minimum wage to what I call The American Wage, $50 an hour. If enacted, it will add a much-needed boost to GDP of over $100 billion in the first year alone. That is money that could be spent at Jewel, Macy's or even for an expensive caterer at the kids' weddings. It would wipe out poverty. Highly motivated people would flock to our state to take jobs, wiping out unemployment. The state would save billions of dollars by not having to pay for unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.
I challenge our politicians to enact The American Wage. Send the message to business owners to share the wealth with the people who need it the most. After all, aren't the people who work there the people responsible for making all the money?