A lot of retail stores have been raising their minimum wages to $9 an hour, in response to this, the White House has again asked Congress to raise the national minimum wage. The man behind the push is U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who believes an increase in the minimum wage will help the economy, and be a very good way to show confidence in the direction of the country.
Lew believes that because a lot of businesses are choosing to make this decision without being asked, that it’s something every business should be capable of doing, noting that the businesses are still able to be competitive with higher minimum wages. The most notable businesses that have increased their minimum wages including Walmart and Target, and Lew is using these companies to make a case for all companies throughout the United States, saying if they are capable then so are other companies.
Target has over 366,000 employees throughout the United States and will begin $9 an hour wages beginning in April, whereas Walmart will also move to $9 an hour in April, but Walmart will increase wages to $10 an hour by 2016. The federal minimum wage cannot change however just because Lew believes it would be a positive thing for the economy and for businesses, because the wages can only be changed through Congress. Congress has not really been very impressed with Lew’s comments and hasn’t really seemed interested in making $9 an hour a federal minimum wage, with the current wage being $7.25 an hour. The White House would love to see the minimum wage go up to $10.10 an hour, but many Congressional lawmakers believe nearly a $3 an hour jump would devastate the economy, noting that not all businesses are Target or Walmart, and that this would significantly impact small businesses that simply can’t afford such a hike.
Lew said that something needs to be done because people earning under $10 an hour are living paycheck to paycheck, and the extra money earned with the increase would be put back into the economy, which is how it would wind up helping the United States financially. Over 20 states have already lifted the minimum wage, so there is a trend of more lawmakers feeling like making mandatory increases will help both businesses and individuals. Lew also said that increasing the wages will help people with their personal finances, because it’s money they can use to pay down bills and credit card debt which might have been accumulating since the 2008 financial collapse. For now, Lew is talking but no one is really hearing him at this time, especially with a still fragile economy and business sector.