A minimum wage hike is being met with both heated criticism and support by the U.S. public and government officials this week. Mention of a federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $10.10 has come to light in recent months, with such a change no doubt having a major effect on the country and its economy, especially during the holiday seasons. While many congressional Republicans are against such a hike, Democrats have been particularly vocal in the raise as “good politics.” MPR News explains this thinking this Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.
The minimum wage hike would bring many laborers and workers at cash registers to building cleaners from various lower hourly rates to a much more impressive $10.10 an hour, and President Obama — along with the Democratic party — are said to be major supporters of this increase in the federal minimum wage well ahead of the upcoming 2014 election time. Our U.S. President cited the issue of the nation’s wide income gap among its citizens as “the defining challenge of our time,” and such a raise might work to set things in a new direction.
This January, political lawmakers within the currently Democratic-led U.S. Senate are drafting a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10, then index it to anticipated inflation so that it will rise with the increased cost of living nationally. Washington, D.C. in particular has been the host of serious contention this month already, after the city council passed a bill that would increase the local minimum wage to an even higher $11.50, leading to widespread support and criticism alike.
“Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, one of the most liberal Democrats in Congress, has campaigned on this issue for months. He's appeared alongside striking fast-food workers seeking a $15 an hour minimum wage from their employers. He's even pitched the idea to conservatives that a wage hike would cut the cost of government programs for the nation's very poorest.”
"The American taxpayer has to supplement their income so that they can make a living," said Ellison, who's also asked the president to order a wage hike for some 2 million minimum-wage workers employed by federal contractors. "I think if we paid people more money, they would pay their own bills … This important issue will at least help frame Democrats' message as they campaign during midterm elections,” he noted. "Even if we don't pass it, I think that we should do that because I think the American people need to know who stands where."
Hopes for an economic boost within the U.S. finances is also hoped for by Sen. Al Franken, who believes that the minimum wage hike will benefit everyone in due time.
"When people at the bottom have more to spend, it helps the economy," said Franken, a co-sponsor of the Senate wage hike bill. "They will spend every dollar, practically, that you give them because they need to, whereas people at the top don't."
With a fear of indexed inflation and potential layoffs however, increasing the minimum wage (even up to $10.10 an hour) is something that will take quite a bit of heated effort to accomplish this 2014, and as cited by other economists, could do more harm than good. The deliberation is ongoing.