Raise the Minimum Wage, Kerry Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. John F. Kerry, the Democrat who hopes to be president, will visit Alexandria, Va., Friday, where he plans to discuss "how we can open doors and expand opportunity by increasing the minimum wage."

A campaign press release said Kerry also will release a report showing how a minimum-wage hike would affect American workers.

Kerry is in the middle of a campaign swing that focuses on "building a stronger economy for America's families." He's discussing the middle-class squeeze -- families struggling to "keep up.""

Both Kerry and his fellow Massachusetts liberal, Sen. Ted Kennedy, have co-sponsored legislation that would raise the current minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $5.85 -- and then to $6.45 by 2005 and finally to $7.00 by 2006 -- which amount to a 36 percent increase over two years.

While Kerry and other supporters believe the higher wage would help unskilled workers, critics say a higher minimum wage would cost many workers their jobs - because companies could no longer afford to pay them.

In January 2001, then President-Elect Bush pushed a "state-flex approach," where Congress could raise the federal minimum wage -- but the states would have the flexibility to set different, lower thresholds, depending on economic conditions.

See Earlier Story:
Bush Wants State Flex Approach On Minimum Wage (9 Jan. 2001)

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