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By Chris Opfer
Oct. 13 — Advisers for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated the potential impact of raising the federal minimum wage, a discussion that mirrored the larger partisan divide over the issue.
Increasing the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour or more is a “terrible idea” that will “price out” younger workers who need job experience, Trump adviser Stephen Moore said at an Oct. 13 debate hosted by the National Association for Business Economics. Gene Sperling, who is advising the Clinton presidential campaign on economic issues, argued phased-in wage floor hikes will help bring some workers back into the labor force.
Trump has said at different points in his White House bid that the minimum wage should be abolished, frozen and raised from its current level of $7.25 an hour. Clinton supports increasing the pay floor to $12 at the federal level and has backed additional increases in certain cities and states.
Similar disagreements have stymied efforts to raise the federal minimum wage in Congress in recent years.
Roughly 3 percent of all hourly workers are paid the federal minimum wage or less, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although about half of those workers are 24 years old or younger, worker advocates say a pay-floor increase would also raise pay rates for employees earning just above the minimum rate.
Moore said Trump will look to spur hiring if elected by cutting taxes and shredding regulatory red tape that’s had a “stranglehold on businesses.”
Sperling, on the other hand, touted a Clinton jobs proposal that includes $275 billion in new spending on federal infrastructure projects.
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