To The Reader's Forum:
In response to "Reed Makes Progress" (February 22):
Contrary to popular belief, history has shown that in hard times increasing the minimum wage actually lowers the unemployment rate. When low wage earners receive a higher salary, they don't save the money, they spend it. It gets back into the economy quickly, creating the demand for new jobs.
Minimum wage earners use to be high school students entering the working world for the first time. They would be developing life time working skills. In today's reality the newly unemployed are taking those "minimum jobs" and getting paid well below a living wage. It is difficult to raise a family on $8/hr-$320/week before taxes-if the job is full time.
Generally the long-term unemployed are older workers who were victims of the recession. As the jobs are slowly returning; employers are latching onto younger technological savvy workers. Using Rep. Reed's tough love stance of denying the long termed unemployed benefits will not create opportunities for the unemployed. Calling them lazy, is an over simplification of a complex situation. But I understand the attitude. It is politically better to blame the victims, not the system.
Speaker of the House Boehner's war cry use to be "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" Where are his jobs? The role of congress use to be:discuss and propose laws, then debate, compromise, and past them. That rarely happens since Tom Reed and the Tea Party took over the House in 2010.
You can play the numbers game all you want, but the facts show those who qualify for SNAP benefits are increasing, and the amount earmarked for them is being drastically reduced. Reed recently bragged about the $205 million increase for Food Pantries in the Budget, but didn't mention the $8 Billion reduction in SNAP benefits. The SNAP recipients in Cattaraugus County increased over 18% since Rep. Reed took office in 2010. SNAP funding decreased by $34 per month for a family of four in November, in January it was reduced by another $90 per month for the same family. Try reducing your family budget by $124/month.
Does anyone see a pattern? These programs are shifting the burden of the budget to the poor. The only progress Rep. Reed is making is destroying the middle class, widening the income gap and demonizing the needy.