Should Congress Raise the Nation's Minimum Wage?
A bill has been introduced in the United States Senate that would raise the federal minimum wage to $9.88 an hour. Good or bad idea?
A U.S. Senator from Iowa had introduced legislation in Congress that would raise the national minimum wage by more than $2.
Now, the national minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour. U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, wants that minimum wage workers making $9.88 an hour.
NPR reports that, according to the Economic Policy Institute, if Harkin has his way and the minimum wage was actually raised to $9.88 an hour, it would increase wages for 30 million Americans — 10 percent of the country.
Harkin, in the NPR report, argues that most people making the minimum wage spend just about all their money because they don't have much left. Giving them a raise, he says, woudl mean more for the nation's gross domestic product.
From the report:
Harkin estimates that his minimum wage increase would mean about $25 billion more for GDP, 100,000 more jobs and 28 million Americans would get a raise.
To those that say raising the minimum wage would actually increase unemployment, Harkin says there's simply no proof of that. He says they've found that when minimum wages were increased, employment actually went up.
Opponents say raising the minimum wage would have a reverse affect—creating higher unemployment rates than the ones plauging the country today.
According to NPR, 18 states have set minimum wage rates slightly higher than the national level, while four states actually have exemptions and even lower minimums. Missouri's minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage.
What do you think? Should Congress act on such legislation and raise the nation's minimum wage to just less than $10 an hour? Or do you think raising the minimum wage will create more burden on small business owners already struggling to survive?