As the debate on the minimum wage unfolds across the country and in the states, a key point to keep in mind is that low wages impose a high cost on everyone. Not only do those workers have less money to buy necessities from local businesses, which then drags down the economy, they often have to rely on safety net programs like SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) to get by. In fact, according to one study , the low wages in the fast food industry alone cost taxpayers approximately $7 billion per year in the form of additional outlays in Medicaid, the Childen's Health Insurance Program, SNAP, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. On the other hand, raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would lift 900,000 Americans  out of poverty and lower the need for SNAP by $46 billion  over 10 years.
If members of the American public were not aware of this information, it'd be hard to blame them. It certainly doesn't help that they're not getting it during their nightly news shows. According to research  conducted by Media Matters For America, the broadcast evening news rarely mention the impact of low wages on anti-poverty programs:
Source: Media Matters For America 
In response, last week a national coalition of organizations sent a letter to the broadcast channels raising these issues and calling for improved coverage of the minimum wage. Progressive States Network was proud to join this letter; the full text is shown below.
March 14, 2014
David Rhodes Ben Sherwood
President, CBS News President, ABC News
524 West 57th Street 47 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10019 New York, NY 10023
Deborah Turness Paula Kerger
President, NBC News CEO, PBS
30 Rockefeller Plaza 2100 Crystal Drive
New York, NY 10112 Arlington, VA 22202
Dear Mr. Rhodes, Mr. Sherwood, Ms. Turness, and Ms. Kerger:
We are writing to express our deep concern regarding your networks’ coverage of the impact of low minimum wages on hard-working Americans, their families, and our country. As evidence mounts showing that low wages cost taxpayers and our economy billions annually and keep millions of workers in poverty, the push for better, more livable wages is growing nationwide. At this critical juncture, your viewers deserve to know what’s at stake if we fail to address the status quo.
According to a report published this week by Media Matters for America, World News with Diane Sawyer, CBS Evening News , Nightly News with Brian Williams, andPBS NewsHour only mentioned the public cost of low minimum wages eight times in the last year – including how they burden taxpayers and force workers to rely on government programs, such as SNAP, TANF, housing vouchers, or other anti-poverty programs. The majority of mentions were on PBS NewsHour, which provided six of the eight total mentions. The other two were made on Nightly News with Brian Williams.
When it comes to growing our economy and improving the livelihoods of workers, it’s increasingly imperative that your evening news programs cover the cost of inaction. Because of low wages, many workers in the fast food industry alone -- many of whom make wages at or just above the current minimum wage -- are forced to rely on government assistance to the tune of almost $7 billion annually. Additionally, a recent analysis found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would reduce necessary spending on food stamps by $4.6 billion annually.
Your evening news programs reach millions of Americans every night and frequently set the tone for how this issue is debated at the kitchen table, state legislatures, and the Halls of Congress. We urge you to correct this oversight and hope you will take greater action in the future to ensure that these programs tell the full story. We are happy to meet with you to discuss ways to make your minimum wage coverage more informative.
American Family Voices
Americans United for Change
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
Campaign for America’s Future
Coalition on Human Needs
Communications Workers of America
Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center on Economic and Policy Research
Disciples Justice Action Network
Main Street Alliance
National Employment Law Project
Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Progressive States Network
Smart Capitalists for American Prosperity
The Agenda Project
United Auto Workers