Report: Minimum wage hike would bring 900,000 out of poverty - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Report: Minimum wage hike would bring 900,000 out of poverty, could cut jobs


The Congressional Budget Office's long-awaited report on the effects of President Obama's proposed minimum wage hike was released Tuesday, and it presented a myriad of possibilities - both good and bad.

The report, found here, says approximately 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty if the federal minimum wage was raised to $10.10 an hour, while 16.5 million people overall would see wage increases because of the hike.

But the report also proved cautionary, with the CBO reporting the possibility of job losses "in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1 million workers."

Congress has the power to raise the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor and Standards Act of 1938, or FLSA. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, which took effect in 2009 after a graduated increase that began in 2007. 

Obama has continuously called on Congress to raise the minimum wage and, in his 2014 State of the Union Address, he announced plans to issue an executive order which would raise the hourly rate of federal contractors to at least $10.10.

Last Wednesday, he officially signed the executive order. 

A vast majority of Americans favor a minimum wage increase, with nearly eight out of every 10 saying the rate should be higher than $7.25, according to a December Washington Post/ABC poll. It's one of the few times where a majority of both Republicans (65 percent) and Democrats (90 percent) polled agree on an issue.

The CBO report also pushed back on the notion, popular amongst those against raising the minimum wage, that most workers making around $7.25 are in their teenage years, working part time, and from middle-class families. 

According to the report, "Of the 5.5 million workers who earned within 25 cents of the minimum wage in 2013, three-quarters were at least 20 years old and two-fifths worked full time. Their median family income was about $30,000." 

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