To the Catholic Sentinel:

Elizabeth Hovde’s Oregonian article claiming Seattle’s increased minimum wage fight is bad policy ignores America’s highest wealth disparity among industrialized nations.  While wealth and income disparity increase, wages erode.

While a majority of the working poor pay no federal income taxes, they pay Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, state taxes, property taxes as part of their rent, and user fee taxes.  While Oregon is an exception, sales taxes run as high as 10 percent when state and local taxes are combined. Because sales taxes are regressive, a poor family may pay 3 percent of their total income, while a wealthy family is likely to pay 1 percent or less. Claiming the working poor are not paying taxes is not true.

Giving the working poor a higher minimum wage is good policy, based on good ethics, as they are often the hardest working.

Gordon Dickey