As Labor Day approaches, think about income inequality in our country. It is the highest it has been since just before the Great Depression.
In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, the top 1 percent in Pennsylvania (with an average income of $882,574) made 20 times more than the bottom 99 percent ($43,399).
We know we cannot sustain ourselves this way indefinitely. So what’s the answer in rural areas like ours?
Raise the minimum wage. Since 1952, Sheetz has grown from a small dairy/deli in Altoona to more than 437 locations across six states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina — and more than 14,500 employees. At least 20 are in the 5th Congressional District. Last January they raised the minimum wage and tied it to inflation. There is no reason why someone working in this great land of ours should not be able to support themselves.
Invest in our infrastructure. For example only 17 of the 59 bridges in Cameron County have a sufficiency rating greater than 90. Bridges and highways in the 5th need repair and maintenance.
Finally, invest in our young people by supporting quality education. Making sure our school buildings are safe and suitable, that our teachers earn sufficient salaries, and that affordable opportunities exist in vocational and higher educational institutions will go a long way in improving life for everyone in the 5th Congressional District.
Kerith Strano Taylor, Brookville
The writer is a Democratic candidate for the 5th Congressional District seat.