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Minimum Wage Is Hot Topic In California And Nation

By Jake Reiner, Reporter, JakeReiner@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Jan 04 2014 08:48:17 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 06 2014 01:40:28 PM CST

The national minimum wage bill may have just been introduced in the Senate last year, but it's been a part of American rhetoric as old as time.

"When workers have more they're going to spend more," says Assemblyman Luis Alejo.

"It's better to be employed at $7.25 an hour than to be unemployed at $10.10 an hour," says David Henderson, an economics professor.

Two sides to a story that paint two very different futures for America's low-income people.

A new study from economist Arindrajit Dube says raising the nation's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour will push 4.6 million Americans out of poverty, which would reduce the poverty rate by 1.7 percent.

Henderson says if you raise the wage, you raise store prices, which he describes as the "law of demand."

"At a higher price, you will demand less," Henderson said. "Some of them will lose their jobs because employers won't find it worthwhile to hire them."

Alejo authored and passed a bill that will raise California's minimum wage from $8 to $10 dollars an hour by 2016.

"There has been no studies shown that there's been an adverse impact to jobs or employers," Alejo said.

Putting economics aside, crisis specialist Devon Corpus says financial stress can make families suicidal.

"We're seeing teenagers come into the emergency room that talk about the fact that their parents are burdened with financial stress," Corpus said.

In California, the next hike in minimum wage will be July 1 to $9 an hour.