Make hard work pay—again

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(NNPA)—One of our country’s most cherished values is the idea that if you work hard you can get ahead, be part of the middle class, raise a family comfortably, and ensure your children will do better than you did. But this is a hollow promise to countless families today. The sad truth is you can work full time in America and not be able to meet your family’s basic needs. A parent working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour earns $15,080 a year before taxes. That’s $4,700 below the poverty level for a parent with two children. Two-thirds of the 16.1 million poor children in America live with an adult who works, and 30 percent live with an adult who works full time year-round.

As CDF’s recently released “The State of America’s Children 2014” report highlights, in no state can a parent working full time at the minimum wage afford a fair-market rent two-bedroom apartment and have enough left over to pay for food, utilities, and other necessities. Child care costs alone can eat up more than half of a parent’s paycheck: the average cost of center-based child care for an infant is $9,500 a year. Most experts agree that families need to earn twice the poverty level to be able to begin to provide adequately for their children.

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