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Letter: Don't let low-paying jobs become the new American standard

To the editor,

Our jobs are going overseas because corporations have pulled one over on us. They sell us cheap products and send our jobs to workers in other countries that work for beans, and in poor conditions.

Our goods are shipped back and forth overseas to be manufactured, then sent back to us and shipped all over the country. Do you think this contributes to higher gas prices? Then we go to a big box store, where people work for minimum wage, for maybe 30 hours a week so they don't get benefits. Those people, in turn, may not be able to afford health insurance and may need public assistance to make ends meet.

I heard recently that in Minneapolis, the minimum wage needed to scrape by would be about $12.50 an hour with a 40 hour work week. When these workers can't make ends meet, we pay for food stamps, which people often turn around and spend at the cheap big box store that lobbies our government to keep minimum wages down because its the cheapest place to buy food.

And when these people get a long term illness, they have to go on Medicaid. So, our big box store gets to pay crappy wages, then turns around and takes money from our government food stamp program. They don't have to contribute to their employee's health insurance plans and we the taxpayers fill in the gaps, unless those poor people just have no insurance, no food and no healthcare -- which is unacceptable. Not to mention, many corporations don't pay taxes because they hide their money in offshore accounts.

The one way we can vote against this behavior is with our wallets. Buy American, support workers who are fighting for a minimum wage increase (in some places right now, Walmart, Taco Bell and Burger King workers are taking one-day community supported walkouts). And spread the word. If you don't, then expect a lot of crappy jobs, with low wages and no benefits in our future. Don't let that be the new American standard.

--Debbie Jahnke