Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Letters to the Editor

March 2, 2014

LETTERS FOR MARCH 2, 2014: Congress should raise minimum wage

Debating the ideal way to help low-wage workers, as was done at a local forum Monday in Elkhart is useful long-term, but right now, the simplest step is to raise the minimum wage.

As one of the forum participants pointed out, most minimum wage workers aren’t carefree teenagers: with an average age of 35, they supply half their household income and many are raising kids. That’s harder and harder to do, since after factoring in inflation, the minimum wage today —which works out to only $15,000 a year, is lower than it was in 1968.

A bill in Congress would gradually raise the wage to $10.10 an hour and index it to inflation in order to keep up with rising prices. As a reliable supporter of working people, it would make sense for Sen. Joe Donnelly to join the one-third of the Senate that is already co-sponsoring this legislation.

Raising the minimum wage does not kill jobs. Rather, increasing the purchasing power of low-wage workers boosts local economies and leads to more hiring.

The head of the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce was reported as saying he couldn’t find any local employers who were paying the minimum wage, and yet also is quoted as claiming raising the wage would cost jobs. Even if you overlook that apparent contradiction, the reality is that most minimum-wage jobs are vital parts of a business — restaurant dishwasher, motel housekeeper — that won’t go away.

— Jeremy Bernstein


Our children aren’t educational lab rats

This year started with great optimism for thousands of concerned parents, grandparents and educators from around the state. Gov. Mike Pence spoke of his support for “Uncommonly high standards written by Hoosiers for Hoosiers;” The General Assembly was moving toward dropping the highly controversial and swiftly adopted Common Core Standards from 2010; The State Board of Education and Department of Education announced they would work cooperatively to produce a new set of standards that would be fair and exceed the requirements mandated in HEA1427.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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