To the editor:

Yup, Americans don't want to work, are just lazy and are happy to get a government handout. But consider if you’re a young parent and your 40-hour a week wage isn’t enough to buy the groceries, pay for health insurance, childcare, transportation and rent. It’s easy for those of us with these luxuries to be critical of the poor. Without sick leave, you must go to work even if you are sick. Daycare can be hard to find and very expensive. There is no state with a minimum wage that is adequate for a full-time worker to pay all the bills.

Imagine if minimum wages (exceptions for small businesses) including healthcare, childcare, sick leave and vacation were set based on the cost of living in an area so everyone can work and live a decent life. The owners, executives and investors might not be able to live quite the excessively lavish lifestyles. But hey! We have a good economy, if you have enough money to invest in the stock market.

What if wages were determined by what our people needed to survive, by the cost of living? Realistically we know that employers are not all going to be able to provide healthcare and childcare. The VA healthcare services that my husband gets is a good example of how it can be done. The VA is able to negotiate better pharmaceutical and medical prices, doesn't need the expenses of advertising and profits and is able to provide all the healthcare my husband needs without excess. The VA is operated by our federal government. Who will spend millions to convince us this is bad? The pharmaceutical, medical and insurance industries.

“If you paid Americans a living wage, they would be able to pay for products made by Americans in America.” -- Henry Rollins

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“We all do better when we all do better.” -- Paul Wellstone

Sherry Kutter

Grey Eagle, MN