U.S. Dept. of Labor
Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris was in Milwaukee today, pushing for a national hike in the minimum wage. He says a higher base wage will help the economy.
Harris hosted a roundtable made up of people who earn the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Harris says 60 percent of minimum wage earners are women.
Harris says adults who work for minimum wage often have more than one job and rely on programs like Food Stamps - which is now known Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
"The rest of us taxpayers are subsidizing the very low wages that many of these employers are paying. Now, this increase may not have the effect of bumping people entirely off of Medicaid, or off of government assistance--they may still need some help--but it will reduce the amount of help they need in order to life themselves out of poverty."
Harris and the Obama administration want to lift the current minimum wage of $7.25 to $9 per hour. Many employers argue against mandatory hikes, saying the increased wages will force them to lay off workers or raise prices.
That is why, Harris argues, there should be an across-the-board federal minimum wage increase.
"Now it might result in us having to pay a few pennies more here and there for some consumer products. In most cases I have to say it won't. Let me say, the overwhelming majority of low wage workers work for very large wealthy profitable organizations."
Legislation to increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour has been introduced in Congress.