President Obama has come out in favor of raising the minimum wage on federal service contracts to $10.10 per hour. According to the White House’s web site, the move would benefit 28 million workers, and directly boost wages to 19 million people.
The move is necessary because the actual value of the minimum wage has dropped by almost a third since its 1968 valuation peak. According to the White House, the actual value of minimum wage would put a family of three below the poverty line every year since approximately that time.
The President praises some employers for paying their employees a wage higher than minimum wage. He also says raising minimum wage will increase earnings for workers, and boost business bottom lines. It’s hard to argue that people shouldn’t have to work full time and still live below the poverty line. The question is, will businesses fire people if they have to pay their lowest wage workers more?
In any case, at least some states are raising the minimums on their own, or at least thinking about it. Since the beginning of the year, five states and the District of Columbia have raised their minimum wage rates – Connecticut to $10.10, Delaware to $8.25, Maryland to $10.10, Minnesota to $9.25, West Virginia to $8.75 and the District of Columbia to $11.50, according to USA Today. But a total of 34 states have raised or considered raising, minimum wage in the last year.