THERE ARE many compelling arguments for and against raising the minimum wage.

Those against say that it's a job-killer and will raise prices.

Those for raising the wage say that a higher wage would lift many people over the poverty line, and that studies show no effective negative impact on job creation. Besides, the wage has long been stagnant; the minimum wage in 1968 would be $9.04 in today's dollars.

For us, the most compelling argument for the impact of low wages is summed up in five words: Walmart workers on food stamps.

The low-price retail behemoth has been the subject of economic scrutiny in the past few years, stoked by a 2013 report by the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce that examined the public impact of the low wages paid to its workers. By measuring some data on Medicaid enrollment and other government benefits data of Walmart workers in Wisconsin, the committee estimated that a single Walmart Supercenter store in Wisconsin costs taxpayers close to $1 million a year in public benefits. Walmart employs more than 2 million workers. The average hourly wage of a sales associate, according to IBISWorld, is $8.81.

Another study found that about 15 percent of Ohio Walmart workers are on food stamps.

In 2012, Walmart earned $17 billion in profits.

The bottom line: We all pay for low wages one way or another. That's why we support the ballot measure appearing in voting booths next week that would raise the wages of subcontractors who work for contractors who do business with the city.

It would require the wages to be a minimum of 150 percent of the minimum wage, from $7.25 an hour to $10.88. It would have a large impact on airport workers.

Mayor Nutter signed an executive order last week that would raise wages for those working for contractors doing business with the city. The ballot measure would be a more permanent change.

As we have pointed out all this week in our special report, "Tapped Out," poverty is a huge problem in Philadelphia, not just for the people struggling to survive, but for all of us. The city as a whole struggles when its citizens can't eat, can't find jobs or housing, and have limited opportunities.

Low-wage workers are becoming more vocal about how hard it is to live on minimum wages. Today, in fact, workers are scheduled to walk off their jobs at many fast-food restaurants in Philadelphia to protest low wages.

The equation, to us, is pretty clear. We can pay a few cents more for a hamburger or cat litter, or a lot more subsidizing high-profit businesses who don't pay their workers enough to live.

A summary of the ballot question: Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to confirm Council's power to . . . implement a Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance, including, but not limited to, provisions mandating that minimum wage and benefits requirements be passed along to subcontractors on City contracts and subrecipients of City financial assistance?

Vote: Yes