Can You Feel the Minimum Wage Momentum?

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On Wednesday, Gap Inc., which operates clothing retailers The Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy, announced that it would set an entry level wage of $9 per hour this year and raise it to $10 per hour next year. Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times gives you the run down:

Also on Wednesday, Bloomberg’s Renee Dudley reported that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is weighing whether to endorse a minimum wage increase. Joshua Holland takes a closer look at what Wal-Mart is up to:

It is a very good sign that prominent low-wage employers are talking in a positive way about raising wages for their workers. What to look for in the coming months is whether politicians normally opposed to a minimum wage increase begin shifting their stance. Here is what I wrote on the topic for The Reading Eagle in December:

In Pennsylvania, the minimum wage stands at $7.25. Legislators in Harrisburg recently introduced two different bills calling for increases. Gov. Tom Corbett responded by saying he won't push legislators to make an increase happen. The governor might change his mind about that, especially since polling has shown minimum wage increases to be popular with voters of all stripes. It's not hard to imagine a flagging re-election campaign a few months from now seeing support for a minimum wage increase as a way to both warm up a candidate's icy image and take an issue away from the Democratic opposition.

Finally, as you may have heard, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its evaluation of the impact of raising the federal minimum wage. John Schmitt at the Center for Economic Policy and Research should be your first stop for understanding what's in the CBO's analysis:


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