Speaking at a trucks parts plant in Asheville, North Carolina earlier this week, President Obama repeated a call he made in his State of the Union address to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour by 2015. "I believe we reward effort and determination with wages that allow working families to raise their kids and get ahead," he said.
The president's proposal also involves linking the minimum wage rate to the cost of living to make future increases kick-in automatically. That plan, however, has been met with opposition. Republican John Boehner asked: "At a time when the American people are still asking the question, 'where are the jobs?' why would we want to make it harder to hire people?"
Doug Pettigrew is owner of the Michigan-based Electronic Brain Solutions, a small business that offers computer support in Detroit. He says that while he's sympathetic to the struggles of working families, it won't be easy for him to increase wages for all of his workers.
Arin Dube, assistant professor in economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, researches the minimum wage. He says it's simply not true that raising the minimum wage increases the unemployment rate.