Minimum Wage Raise

By Lesley Rozycki 3-20-14

 Photo by Justin Saglio//BU News Service, Flickr
President Barack H. Obama
Photo by Justin Saglio//BU News Service, Flickr

President Barack Obama took his campaign for a higher federal minimum wage to Connecticut.

The President met with four New England governors: Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. All four governors have pushed to raise the minimum wage in their states. 

The proposed hike would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

Last month, Mr. Obama raised the minimum wage for federal workers on new contracts to $10.10. Congressional action is required to raise the overall minimum wage, but in an election year with a Republican-controlled House, it is unlikely to happen.

Republicans argue that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would hurt the economy and point to a report from the Congressional Budget Office predicting a loss of 500,000 jobs.

The White House disputes the report, saying that a higher wage would help the middle class and create more jobs by giving people extra spending money.

Currently, only 5 percent of the country’s workforce earns the minimum hourly wage. Increasing it would affect about 22 percent of workers, because all of those who earn between $7.25 and $10.10 would see a larger paycheck.