By Daniel DeMarco |Asst. Features Editor|
President Barack Obama said Congress should finish the job he started by raising the minimum wage from the current federal minimum wage $7.25 to $10.10.
“I make minimum wage and even $8 sucks, $7.25 would just be ridiculous. A nice raise would really help me out and I know I’m not the only one,” said student Ken Mitchell.
Obama said that Americans deserve to know where the officials they elect stand, and if they oppose the wage increase then Americans should ask for reasons.
“Obama is right. They need to let us know why they can’t agree on anything because this congress hasn’t done s*** for us,” said student Faye Davis.
Not everyone agrees though.
“If Obama can do it, then he should just do it. No more games,” said student Donald Stevens.
Opponents to wage raises have had the same arguments for years and are always proved wrong, according to Obama.
Recently, Obama raised the wages of all federal contractor jobs using his executive order, but this wage does not apply to other workers.
“Our economy has been growing for four years. Our businesses have created eight and a half million new jobs. But while those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged,” said Obama.
Since the beginning of 2013 when Obama started bringing the minimum wage issue to Congress, only six states have officially passed laws that will raise their minimum wages, including California.
The current federal minimum wage is worth 20 percent less in comparison to the minimum wage during the presidency of Ronald Reagan when inflation is considered, according to Obama.
The average age of low-wage workers who would benefit from the wage increases is 35-years-old, according to Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
EPI also reports that 88 percent of the workers are 20 years and older, and that over half of the workers are considered full-time.
Gallup polls have reached as high as 76 percent supporting national minimum wage increases.
“It makes sense to me. When people make more money, they spend more money. Spending money helps the economy,” said student Kenny Morris.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently conducted a report on the effects that a minimum wage increase would have on the country.
The report concluded that a gradual increase of the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016 would allow 900,000 people to get above the poverty level out of the 45 million people currently living at or below it.
The report also found that the amount of national jobs would decrease by 0.3 percent, and higher costs for businesses as well as higher prices for consumers would ensue.
The report “is an outlier that flies in the face of overwhelming empirical evidence,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, a group that has advocated for a higher minimum wage.
“The effect of raising the minimum wage is one of the most thoroughly studied topics in modern economics, and the vast majority of the more than 1,000 estimates contained in studies dating back to 1972 show no significant adverse effects on employment,” said Owens.
The analysts who conducted the report said the estimate of job losses was approximate and the actual impact could range from a very slight reduction to a loss of one million workers.