Benefits and Drawbacks of Raising the Minimum Wage to $9 per Hour

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

BRIDGEWATER -- Corey Brown was just making minimum wage for the last couple years at his job on campus at James Madison University. He said for college students who don't have families to take care of, it's not so bad, but for others it's a different story.

"As a single parent, you can't make it work. It's almost impossible," said Brown.

In his State of the Union Address last night, President Obama said he wanted to raise minimum wage from a little more than $7 to $9 per hour.

"Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty," said President Obama in Tuesday's State of the Union Address.

Bridgewater College Professor Stephen Longenecker said this proposal is symbolic.

"So it's a great moral issue for some people and other people are concerned about increased costs for business," said Longenecker.

He said critics believe raising minimum wage would hurt businesses by causing more layoffs and less hiring, but Longenecker said there could be some economic benefits.

"Because it puts more purchasing power in the pockets of poor people. They're just going to take their wage increase and go out and spend it and that's stimulative, and that might actually result in a net increase in jobs."

Longenecker said it's still unclear how this change would impact the economy in the long term. Brown agreed and said he can see pros and cons to both sides.

"It could probably prevent people from hiring, however ones who are in current positions, it will benefit them if it actually goes through," said Brown.

Longenecker said both progressive and economic motives are involved in this decision. He said President Obama is progressive in that he wants to help the poor for moral reasons, not just stimulate the economy.

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