Happy New Year! On Jan. 1, nearly a million U.S. workers will get a fatter paycheck when 10 states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state — officially raise their minimum wage by 10 to 35 cents an hour, according to a recent Fox News report.
In an ongoing national debate, unions and labor activists argue that raising minimum wage is good for the economy, but business owners disagree.
Economists weighed in on Fox News:
Michael Saltsman, a research fellow from the Employment Policies Institute, said raising the wage does not actually reduce poverty, and businesses looking to avoid the higher cost of untrained workers may begin hiring fewer people to work fewer hours.
Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Advisors, cautioned that any time a state raises the minimum wage, it runs the risk of allowing another state to be more competitive.
“Let’s just say we have two states that share a border and one state raises the cost of labor by raising the minimum wage. What will happen is businesses in the state that does not raise the minimum wage will now have an advantage,” he said. “They can sell their product for less because … they have a lower cost of production.”
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, disagrees and has introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 over the next two years, according to Fox News.
“It is long past time to establish a fair minimum wage in our country,” said Harkin, according to the cable news station. “It is good for families, good for business and good for our economy, and, most importantly, it is the right thing to do. People who work hard for a living should not have to live in poverty.”
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