According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted by Langer Research Associates, two-thirds of the United States populace supports an increase in minimum wage. Many claim that basic livelihood necessities cannot be met with the current payment structure in place. In fact, 48 percent of those polled are “strongly” supportive of an increase while only 20 percent are “strongly” against an increase in minimum wage.
For example, Pennsylvania Representative Mark Cohen (D) has been vocal about supporting an increase in minimum wage within his state. “The employer community would prefer tax cuts, but we’ve already had massive business tax cuts in Pennsylvania. That’s one reason we’re in such poor financial shape. We can’t afford all the subsidies, starting with Medicaid, that go to low-income workers. If we raise the minimum wage, we encourage spending among low-income people. That creates jobs and reduces welfare spending.” Cohen said before adding, “Obviously, at some point there’s an increase in prices, but there’s also an increase in purchases. A store can’t unilaterally announce it’s raising salaries, but if all the other stores have to do it,” collective pressure would change the ending result to increased spending from a higher-paid workforce.
However, there are critiques to raising minimum wage. One argument asserts that businesses will be forced to make significant layoffs in order to remain financially healthy. By increasing the amount each employee will receive the total amount of employees will decrease in order to maintain the bottom line. Still this mentality appears to be the minority as evidenced by results from the recent poll where 64 percent claimed that present policies support the wealthy.
The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 and has been since July 24, 2009. Some states have already opted to offer higher minimum wages. There are 24 states that currently operate under the federal minimum wage guidelines. These states are as follows: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
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