In the last decade, arguments have come forward in support of living wages versus minimum wages. In unprecedented economic growth, wage earners are not realizing personal economic growth as they should. Many things contribute to this, including government subsidies, global competition, and foreign-trade policies, to name only a few of the things that cause the equation to become unbalanced.

The inequity of the growing gap of wealth has caused Americans to reevaluate their priorities in an effort to create a more productive labor force. For example, when wages are too low for families to participate in insurance programs, that cost is passed through to those who are more able to pay because their wages are higher. However, if this cycle continues, premiums will rise to accommodate the number of uninsured, making the same insurance programs eventually unaffordable to a growing number of workers, which in turn causes the premiums to rise further, and so the downward spiral goes.

Currently, Wal-Mart is proposing that it relocate to a new store, where 250-plus more jobs are promised. According to the Davenport Wal-Mart's manager, starting base pay at Wal-Mart is $6.25 per hour. Full-time is measured as 28 hours or more. For a 40-hour workweek, a beginning employee can only expect to make $13,000 annually. If they participate in the company's insurance program for full coverage and a deductible of $200 to $500, they can expect to pay 20% of their income toward health insurance, leaving only $10,400 to live on for the year. This is not enough for a single person to survive on, let alone a family. Most "associates" at Wal-Mart do not work anywhere close to 40 hours per week, either. So a job at Wal-Mart can be considered supplementary at best. In fact, Wal-Mart's manager stated that most of the store's associates are not the primary breadwinners of their families. But does that excuse the low wage base? Certainly Wal-Mart should not be singled out for this condition. Wal-Mart is competitive in the retail industry. The solutions are not simple, and supply and demand does not always work on a global level. The nation's "new economy" needs to adjust for the inequities and inconsistencies that are new to the playing field.

During the next council cycle (Thursday March 15th through Wednesday March 21st) the Quad Cities Coalition for a Living Wage (QCCLW) will make a presentation to the Davenport City Council to encourage them to support a resolution for an ordinance that would require a living wage be paid to all city workers and employees on all contracts the city signs. Below is the position statement of the QCCLW and the resolution they wish to see passed.

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