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Obama Signs Controversial Order Raising Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

Peter Souza

Alberto González - published on 02/13/14 - updated on 06/08/17

While the raise amounts to a 38 percent increase, many voices have raised concerns about the true impact of such a raise at a national level.

President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday that will raise the minimum wage for federal contract employees from $7.25 to $10.10. The measure will only apply to new contracts – a few hundred thousand of the 2 million contractors in the federal government’s employ.

Obama has also called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for all Americans to $10.10, a request that has been well received by Democrats in Congress. The raise is one of many elements that the President had outlined in his legislative agenda during the 2014 State of the Union address.

Republican lawmakers have argued that increases in the minimum wage adversely impact low-wage employees, as jobs in this income category would be expected to decrease as a result. The measure could also curtail entrepreneurial growth, as higher wages would likely stymie the establishment of new businesses.

The raising of the minimum wage has been received in different ways throughout the country. According to Michael Hicks, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University in Indiana, federal minimum wage increases from 2007 to 2009 cost the state of Indiana 550,000 part-time jobs.

When California Governor Jerry Brown raised the state’s minimum wage by $2n per hour, however, many voices hailed the move, which translated to a salary bump of $4,000 for full-time employees. One California business owner, Gary Gerber of Berkeley’s Sun Light & Power, said, “A higher minimum wage will mean much-needed money in the pockets of millions of workers in the state, and that's good news for businesses throughout California.”

Alberto González is the Associate Editor of Aleteia’s English edition. His prior endeavors have included working in political campaigns and in the United States Senate. He also maintains an active schedule as a liturgical vocalist and organist.

A native of California, Alberto graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 with a B.A. in Music and Political Science. He currently lives in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

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