The federal minimum wage will get a 70-cent boost tomorrow to $6.55 an hour, reports the Baltimore Sun, but it's not good news for everyone. The bump will help workers chip away at rising food, gas, and health care costs, raising the annual payoff of a 40-hour work week to $13,624, about $3,000 over the federal poverty level. Small businesses, facing customer declines, "fully understand" their plight, says one shop owner, "but Ma and Pa stores can't afford to keep having to raise our wages."
"The way I look at it is, who is better able to take the hit? Business owners, or children?" says Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. But the wage boost could mean bad news for young workers as well. "Wherever you do this, there's an immediate, direct effect on student unemployment," says one general manager.