President Obama Addresses Minimum Wage Debate in SOTU Speech

Fast Casual reported on the need to increase the minimum wage and the solution to income inequality, addressed in President Obama’s State of the Union address this past Tuesday. The idea is that people who work full time should not have to support themselves and their families in poverty. President Obama noted that in the coming weeks, he will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees “at least $10.10 and hour.” Currently, the federal rate is $7.25. That being said, President Obama acknowledged, “Americans understand that some people will earn more money than others and we don’t resent those who achieve incredible success.”

Some, however, argue that the minimum wage hike would actually hurt, not help.

The National Retail Federation’s CEO, Matthew Shay, said a minimum wage hike would create “minimum opportunities.”

“We welcome the president’s focus on the economy and jobs, but a minimum wage hike runs counter to that goal. Raising the minimum wage would place a new burden on employers at a time when national policy should be focused on removing barriers to job creation, not creating new regulations or mandates. It’s simple math — if the cost of hiring goes up, hiring goes down,” Shay explains.

He continues, “Fewer than 5 percent of hourly workers are paid the minimum wage. It’s really a starting wage that allows teen-agers or others with little job experience to enter the workforce. A mandated hike in labor costs would negatively impact businesses that employ people in entry-level jobs and ultimately hurt the people it is intended to help.”


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