During his State of the Union Address, President Obama proposed increasing the Federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00 an hour. The President claims the increase would boost pay enough to bring millions of Americans out of poverty.
But the increase is met with opposition from many business owners.
Any increase in someone's wage is great news. But what if businesses can only afford that increase for some of their employees, and as a result, must let others go?
President Obama's push for an increase in the Federal minimum wage has been met with mixed reviews.
Executive Director for the Alger Marquetter Community Action Board, Earl Hawn, said, "As a business person, it has to concern you because your costs will increase in order to do business."
Sam M. Cohodas Professor at Northern Michigan University, Tawni Ferrarini, said, "On one hand, yes, you've helped a certain group of people. But then on the other hand, what happens is teenagers or minorities, the people with relatively low skills and hardly any experience, they are the ones that find it harder and more difficult to find jobs."
Professor Ferrarini says it's important to remember the people who are behind the increase are well intended, with the intention being to help the people living on minimum wage bump up their income. But she says it's historically proven that unemployment increases when the minimum wage increases.
There are varying opinions on the proposal, with both sides having different views.
Northern Michigan University student Jenna Peplinski said, "While it's a good idea to think about, the money's going to have to come from somewhere, and it's probably going to end up in an increase in prices and other things that we need."
NMU student Frank Lombard said, "Realistically, when you think about it, if people have to pay for, you know, medical insurance and all other types of things, the cost of living is going up, so I don't personally think nine dollars an hour is enough."
NMU student James Shefchik said, "One of the big questions that I would have is does this also affect wait staff. Wait staff makes less than minimum wage. And also a big question, with an increase going up to nine dollars an hour, are we going to see a trickle up in wages? Are everyone's wages going to go up?"
NMU student Alyssa Younk said, "Nine dollars an hour is still not enough if you're single, living on your own, 'cause there's so much expenses, but it is a step forward, so I think it's a good thing."
While the average citizen is rejoicing at the thought of being able to afford the cost of living, there is still a concern that business owners may have to increase their prices as a result.