The president has asked Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current paltry level of $7.25, though chances of that happening appear slim to none. Congress passed the current minimum in 2009. Adjusted for inflation, the current minimum is effectively lower than the minimum wage of 1968.
Some states and localities across the nation have set the floor higher ($7.50 in Missouri, $15 in Seattle), and the movement for higher wages is spreading. Michigan’s minimum wage goes up to $8.15 on Labor Day on the way to $9.25 in 2018.
Proponents argue that pay raises will help improve many lives on the lower rungs of the economic ladder and create benefits for the overall economy. Opponents argue that higher wages will squeeze businesses and force job reductions.
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