When I moved to Maine in 2000, I was shocked when people told me that $8 per hour at Hannaford is a good job. In a recent article about the shortage of jail staffing it was stated that wages of $14 to $15 per hour are “not bad,” which I have to respectfully disagree with.

The people of Maine need to rethink the messages they receive from their employers. Fifteen dollars per hour only equates to $30,000 per year before taxes. Typically, housing costs are $10,000 annually. Add vehicle expenses, utilities, food, health care, unexpected expenses, child care, other necessary expenses, and there is nothing left over. We still have to forgo many things and there is no saving for retirement.

Twenty-two dollars per hour equates to $44,000 annually. This might pay for living expenses, buy a decent vehicle, and raise a family — depending upon where you live and if no children are in college.

So why would someone take a high-stress jail position for a just-over-broke wage? Because employers pay as little as possible and they may be hoping two incomes can pay the bills. That has been proven a false hope by the book “The Two-Income Trap” by Elizabeth Warren and daughter Amelia Tyagi, which shows that it creates added financial and health costs and a lower quality of life. Generally, children raised in these homes do not prosper as well as in two-parent, single-income homes.

Those that claim to be defenders of the family yet oppose raising the minimum wage either haven’t thought this through or simply don’t want to share in their prosperity, such as the members of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Groups such as the Maine People’s Alliance and the Mid-Maine Progressive Forum do care about the family and deserve your support.

Brad Sherwood


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.