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THURSDAY, JULY 20, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Wage hike makes sense to some Republican voters

Some of their constituents back home think the Republican-controlled Congress is wrong because it won't pass an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Many of them are supporting a hike in the $5.15 hourly wage for philosophical reasons. And they are right. They understand that taxpayers are being taken in on this issue.

A person making the minimum wage and working full time makes $10,712 a year. That is only slightly above the federal poverty level, but far below the level for a four-person family. That makes most of these workers eligible for public, or taxpayer, assistance.

These Republican voters think they shouldn't be subsidizing employers who pay wages so low that their workers are eligible for public assistance.

Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio said many Republican voters "feel no one should be able to get more from public assistance than from a job."

Several state legislatures already passed higher minimum wages and six states have ballot initiatives ready for a vote in November.

The success of these state- level efforts to boost the minimum wage suggests that Congress and the Bush administration are way out of step with their constituents on the issue.

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