AirTalk for January 28, 2014

President Obama to push up minimum wage for federal workers

President Obama Works In The Oval Office At The White House

Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama sits at his desk in the Oval Office January 27, 2014 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on the night of January 28.

During tonight's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama will announce an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federally contracted workers, according to a White House statement.

Economists at the leftist Economic Policy Institute estimate "1 in 5 employees working for private firms for the benefit of the federal government are likely working for poverty wages."   The move comes as the president has continued to push Congress to raise the minimum wage for all workers, which has met resistance from Republican leaders.  

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News Sunday, "The minimum wage is mostly an entry level wage for young people.... We have a crisis in employment among young people right now, and generation 18 to 30, people that got out of college, are finding there are no jobs for them. The last thing we want to do is have even fewer jobs for younger people."

How could this executive action affect the debate in Congress? What will be the economic impact of the policy?

Guests: 

Ross Eisenbrey, Vice President, Economic Policy Institute (a think tank focused on low- and middle-income workers);  former commissioner of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission; former staff attorney and legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and committee counsel in the U.S. Senate.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute (a think tank focused on free-market principles) and former chief economist of the US Department of Labor; Economist for Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

 


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