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Minimum Wage

Increase In
America
BY: JESSE WRIGHT

This past February the minimum
wage bill was making its way
through Washington as the debates
heated up on this hot topic. To seem a little closer to home the Virginia Senate had also
voted on the bill with the final vote ended up in a 20-20 tie, but was broken by Gov.
Ralph Northam’s deciding vote to pass the bill. In response to the bill getting passed the
minimum wage will now increase from $7.25, the current wage, to $8.25 in 2014 and to
$9.25 in 2015.

“It sounds good in the beginning because you will earn more money per hour, but
it might hurt us as well,” says Bridgette Floyd who as been previously employed under
minimum wage. This is the same debate that is going on in Washington as the White
House’s Council of Economic Advisors and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
argue on how much good the wage increase will really do.

First the Council of Economic Advisors released a briefing that claimed the
minimum wage could increase by almost 40% (from $7.35 to $10.10) with no affect to
job loss. “This step is a smart business decision for the government because it will make
Federal procurement more economical and efficient,” says The Council of Economic
Advisors. As it states in their briefing they believe the wage increase will be a great thing
for the lower-income workers. “An extensive body of research suggests that giving a
raise to lower-income workers reduces turnover and raises morale, and can thus lower
costs and improve productivity” says The Council of Economic Advisors.

Those who are for the bill are trying to get it passed because of the impact it will
have on those in poverty. The poverty line right now is said to be less than $11,670 for a
single person and $23,850 for a family of 4, according to the Assistant Secretary for
Planning and Evaluation. The CBO estimated that the bill would lift over 900,000 people
out of poverty, Their average age is 35; most work full time; more than one-fourth are
parents; and, on average, they earn half of their families’ total income, according to the
Sunday Review.

The CBO countered though by releasing its own nonpartisan report that proposed
minimum wage increase would result in 500,000 fewer jobs. They also had this to say,
“jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers
who became jobless would fall substantially” as stated in their counter report. According
to the Huffington Post House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, isn't expected to bring the
bill to a vote in the House."When you raise the price of employment, guess what
happens?" Boehner said. "You get less of it.”

According to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll most American Citizens seem to
support the bill. It showed that 55 percent of Americans are for the bill with only 21
percent who oppose it and 23 percent who are neutral on the issue. Though there are still
some who are against it, local restaurant owner Marty Williams had this to say,
“Employees might see it as a good thing, but unless they are working for a corporation,
small business won’t be able to pay the new increase so they will have to start letting
people go.”

This topic has caused tensions between parties already, but it seems it is on its
way to getting passed. If it does end up making it through the ruthless debates it will
hopefully live up to the great aspects that it is promised to do.