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Your Views: Money for war is endless, but not to ease poverty

POSTED: May 17, 2014 1:00 a.m.

There is a cruel and simplistic mentality among some politicians that poor people desire to be poor, or they simply don’t work hard enough. What they don’t realize is a lot of poor people work multiple jobs, but still can’t make ends meet.

A lot of that has to do with conservative politicians refusing to raise the minimum wage so these workers can actually make ends meet. Also, because of the current slow economy, there are simply not enough jobs for all those seeking work.

A simple piece of legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour would immediately lift more than 4 million families out of poverty. According to Forbes, the bottom 10 percent of wage-earners would receive an average raise of $1,700 per year. That would boost consumer spending, which in turn would create jobs; 70 percent of our economy is driven by consumer spending.

Additionally, a fair and living wage would increase employee loyalty, which in turn reduces turnover and improves quality of work and customer service. One example: Germany manufactures twice as many cars as the U.S. while paying its auto workers twice as much as the U.S. Like everyone else, businesses ultimately get what they pay for.

Honestly, why is it such a problem for us to help feed poor Americans, but not a problem to spend trillions on war? Iraq and Afghanistan were put on the war credit card to the tune of $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Many are advocating for boots on the ground in the Ukraine, Syria and Nigeria and other places that would no doubt cost us trillions more.

Yet these same politicians, who continue to spend $100 billion per year on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, complain about spending $75 billion per year (the cost of SNAP) to feed fellow Americans and fellow human beings.

“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

Alan Shope

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