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Opinion

Readers React: Why the $15 minimum wage still isn’t enough for L.A.

Minimum wage

Labor groups rally for an increase in the minimum wage in L.A. County to $15 by 2020 outside the county hall of administration in downtown Los Angeles on July 21. 

(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Some politicians in Los Angeles County are patting themselves on the back, acting like they are bestowing a fortune on workers by raising the minimum wage in unincorporated areas to $15 per hour by 2021. (“L.A. County supervisors agree to boost minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020,” July 21)

Let’s get real. A full-time worker who makes $15 an hour is paid about $2,400 per month, less deductions if any. His expenses such as food, clothing, gas, utilities, transportation and rent add up to at least $1,000 per month, and this would not cover a family of four. As a matter of fact, this worker would not be eligible for many government assistance programs because the boosted wage puts him over the poverty line.

To support a family, two salaries would be needed — but having a spouse who works means child-care costs and other expenses.

Irene Harris, Tarzana

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To the editor: What is government doing setting the minimum wage? Government has no business telling private enterprise how much it should pay its employees.

Jefferson C. Romney, Westlake Village

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To the editor: In addressing the minimum wage, Steve Lopez tells countless stories such as the family with their dad still in Mexico, sharing their home, sleeping on bunks in the kitchen, still barely able to make it with the help of food stamps. (“Maximizing the higher minimum wage,” July 22)

In another he tells of a woman on food stamps suffering hard times, going to the pet store to get something for her cat.

Lopez should interview unsung heroes who are struggling to provide for their families, not turning on the heater in the winter or the air conditioner in the summer, always budgeting to be able to pay our taxes that fund those “in need” while, cognizant of the cost of a pet, denying their children that pleasure.

I am a member of that group, which never gets celebrated.

Lopez should stick to writing about the foibles of public servants and public utilities. That is a service to readers.

Kathleen Robertson, Orinda, Calif.

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