The President wants to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. Wyoming’s congressional delegation quickly opposed the idea, saying it will force Wyoming’s small business community to hire and retain fewer workers. But the U-S Labor Department’s Seth Harris says his office has studied minimum wage hikes extensively and he says such an increase would help the economy, not hurt it.
“When you have a moderate increase of that type it doesn’t cost jobs. It doesn’t cause people to lose their jobs…it doesn’t cause small businesses to fail to employ people. And the reason for that is that it raises the wage floor for everyone. The folks who are competing with one and other are all having to pay a higher wage.” Harris said that the increase is needed to help full-time workers deal with the rising cost of living. “People who are having to make very, very, difficult choices between buying food and buying prescription drugs. Trying to choose which bill they are not going to pay in a particular month, because they can’t afford to pay them all. Whether to fix the heat in their house or to fix their car so they can get to work.” He says raising the minimum wage would benefit over 15 million U-S workers.