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The Daily Tar Heel

North Carolina should listen to Obama

	Sierra Wingate-Bey is a senior journalism major from Durham.

Sierra Wingate-Bey is a senior journalism major from Durham.

When a person works a full-time job for the minimum wage, but does not have enough money to properly feed, house and clothe a family without being considered impoverished, there is a glaring flaw in our society.

North Carolina’s legislators should listen to President Barack Obama’s call to action and take steps to raise the minimum wage.

Low-wage jobs are necessary. We can’t all be doctors and consultants — society will always require low-skilled workers to keep everything moving smoothly. There is nothing undignified about being a janitor or cashier, but there is an indignity in paying individuals so little they cannot provide for themselves.

The current minimum wage is not enough income for a family of two to live above the poverty line. The most important reason to raise the minimum wage in North Carolina is to improve living standards enough that the nation’s 15 percent poverty rate is diminished.

Welfare programs should function as a security net for individuals when they fall on hard times rather than as an obligatory supplement for low-wage jobs. No one should have to rely on food stamps when they already have a full-time job.

Detractors will say that raising the minimum wage will give employers incentive to move their operations abroad where labor is cheaper. While that argument has some merit, it is easy to overlook certain low-skilled professions that cannot leave, such as the food service industry or sales associate positions. These jobs will not go anywhere, and the people working them deserve the security of having their wages raised to the point where they can take care of themselves and their families.

Read the opposing viewpoint here.

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