Saturday, January 21, 2006

John Edwards Fights Poverty

Former senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards has a new job as the director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina. I listened to him on NPR's Talk Of The Nation and he made a lot of sense.

When questioned on the minimum wage increase and the negative effect it might have on small business, Edwards said that one of the toughest things small business have to overcome is the cost of healthcare for its employees. He said, at the same time that we raise the minimum wage, we can take some of the burden off the smaller companies by providing for their healthcare costs and they would be more than able to pay minimum wage. He also said that by increasing minimum wage the working poor would have more money in their pocket and not need to rely on government programs as much, not to mention the extra tax revenue the government would take in.

Even Wal-Mart wants the minimum wage increased, not so much to help their employees but to put more money in the pockets of their customers.

"Today, more than 37 million Americans are living in poverty; one in five children in our nation is born poor; their families aren’t just being squeezed by the cost of housing, food, and healthcare; they’re being crushed by them. And again, the issue isn’t that they don’t work. Over 63 percent of U.S. families living below the federal poverty line have one or more workers."

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