In his annual State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made it clear that he wants America to get a raise.
“In the coming weeks I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour," he said.
The order would not take effect until 2015 at the earliest and it would only apply to workers covered by new federal contracts.
Workers in the fast-food and retail industry would not see their wages increase, but supporters of the president’s move are hoping state legislatures follow his lead.
“With (gas and food) prices going up and jobs being scarce the way they are, I think it’s a good idea d to raise the minimum wage,” said Rudy Ortiz.
“I actually have friends and family who are in the fast-food business as well as home health (industry who are only being paid $7.25 an hour,” said Dasmine Jones. "They have like four kids and they need to feed them, so the $10.10 would definitely help.”
University of the Incarnate Word economics professor Michael McGuire said the president has the numbers on his side.
“The poverty line for a family of four is $23,500. The current minimum wage is approximately 64-percent of that poverty line,” McGuire said. “The president’s increase is modest. ($10.10) would take (that family) to approximately 89 percent of the federal poverty line.”
Critics argue that raising the minimum wage will raise the cost of consumer products and hurt small businesses.
“It doesn’t benefit anybody if eventually the prices of everything else goes up,” said Roger Valdez. “People who are in business to make money don’t want to lose money, and places like McDonalds and Jack in The Box, pretty soon the value menu is going to be a thing of the past.”