Obama administration touts Washington's higher minimum wage measure
Voters in Washington state are mulling Initiative 1433, which would raise the state's minimum wage to $13.50 over several years.
Today the Obama administration asked voters to vote yes on the initiative.
Labor Secretary Tom Perez is the one who did the asking.
Perez: “The reason we support it is simple: No one who works a full-time job should have to live in poverty.”
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, unchanged during the Obama administration. Perez said deadlock in Congress is to blame.
Perez: “President Obama, notwithstanding his best efforts, is poised to become only the third president since FDR to fail to sign an increase in the minimum wage.”
So that burden falls on individual states, like Washington, that have led the way in the past.
Of course, there's disagreement about this movement to a higher minimum wage.
Mark Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.: “If you set a single uniform minimum wage then it’s one size fits all, which really translates into one size fits none.”
He said what may be good for Seattle might not be good for other places in the state.
Perry: “Because maybe $13.50 or $15 an hour makes sense for Seattle, Washington where the economy is booming, but it may not make sense for Longview, Washington where the economy is not booming and they have an unemployment rate that’s 7.1 percent.”
The cost of living is lower in Longview too.
Economists have been battling over the true economic price of higher and lower minimum wages for a long time. Soon voters in Washington will weigh in.