To the editor:
On Feb. 12, 2013, in the State of the Union speech, President Obama asked Congress to raise the minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $9 per hour. The current rate contributes to many families falling below the U.S. poverty line ($15,510 annual income for two people).
Bringing this hardship into focus, the number of people in Lee County who fall below the poverty line is 83,154 people - 13.5 percent of the 615,000 total population of Lee County. Who are these working poor people paid the $7.25 minimum wage/$290 a week/$15,080 a year?
Most service employees, he people who prepare our food and watch our children, those who tend our shops - many of them single mothers, or fathers struggling to support families.
The safety nets under these groups are food stamps, Medicaid and school lunches. Republicans are prepared to cut these benefits to reduce budget deficits. They will do it if they have enough votes. This alone is a reason to call our two Lee County U.S. House members (Trey Radel and Tom Rooney). Tell them that it is not acceptable to balance the budget on the backs of the already overburdened, underpaid poor. President Obama cannot allow this to happen.