President Barack Obama took it upon himself to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour by signing an executive order on Wednesday. Obama’s required minimum wage will take effect in 2015. The president also encouraged business owners and all of the nation’s employers to follow suit and increase wages throughout the country, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday.
The action taken by Obama on Wednesday is something that he asserted last month when he gave his State of the Union address. He said, during that speech, that he would be taking executive action to increase the pay of federal contract employees.
The pay increase applies to replacements of expiring contracts as well as new contracts, and it is to begin January 1 of next year.
Obama said the he would ask any business leader, any governor, any mayor, and any local leader to do what he or she can to raise employees’ wages. Obama asserts that it will boost the economy rather than depress the economy.
Opponents argue that Obama doesn’t realize the effects of a raised minimum wage, including the need for business owners to reduce the number of people in their work force in order to pay elevated wages to workers. It also brings up the age-old complaint that the president has never owned a business and never had to meet a payroll, and therefore – many assert – he should not be dictating how much business owners, who are trying to make it in these challenging economic times, should pay their employers.