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Do Americans need a raise?
February 20th, 2014
04:46 PM ET

Do Americans need a raise?

Tonight on Crossfire, is it time Americans got a raise? The President and other Democrats say so, but will employers be able to afford it, or will it cost jobs?

At 6:30pm ET, economist Stephen Moore of Heritage and former Presidential candidate Ralph Nader join Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to debate.

promo split 2.20

We want you to weigh in: Do you think the minimum wage should be raised to $10.10 an hour?

Vote by tweeting Yes or No using #Crossfire or comment on our Facebook post. View results below or through our Poptip results page.


Filed under: economy • Fireback • In the Crossfire • Income gap • Middle Class • Minimum wage • Newt Gingrich • Ralph Nader • Stephen Moore • Unemployment • Van Jones
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. marilyn58

    It is a lie when you believe that unemployment would increase, these greedy employers just want you to believe that but it is a big lie, they would adjust and we can finally can stop making ends meet with government handouts.

    March 1, 2014 at 2:27 am | Reply
  2. Amazed

    So the question is: Should the 1 percenters OR the vote run this demogratic society? In Utopia, where there are NO biases, and you can trust in the individual decisions to be fare and merit based, this might work. Come on people! America – Utopia.

    February 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Reply
    • Amazed

      I'm amazed at my self!! DEMOCRATIC society

      February 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  3. Amazed

    So the question is: Should the 1 percenters OR the vote run this demogratic society? In Utopia, where there are NO biases, and you can trust in the individual decisions to be fare and merrit based, this might work. Come on people! America – Utopia.

    February 24, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  4. Rembrant

    When people are not being paid a living wage, they are forced to do one of two things: depend on Government handouts or get a second job. Getting a second job takes an available job off the market, contributing to unemployment numbers. An employer who does not pay a living wage to employees is actually depending on the Government to build the business. Let's get real folks... paying a living wage to employees is essential to a healthy and true capitalist system.

    February 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  5. Reconstitution

    Yes. But raising the minimum wage; even doubling it alone is not enough. We need to have heavier regulation on these oligopolies; and force them to start paying more back into the system. Sorry but if you want to be a part of this country then your bound to the same social contract that we're all liable for. No more bail outs, no more free cash hand me outs, no more loop-holes. You don't need to sit on billions/trillions to expand your markets. It's excess at its finest form of the definition; time to pay it forward friends.

    February 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  6. davecu

    Help people train for the jobs.
    They earn the raises themselves.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  7. Ryan

    Does minimum wage need to be raised? Is that even a question? Of course it does! NO ONE making minimum wage can steadily support themself with money to spare for maybe that new tv or a better car or have a good shopping day for new clothes. It;s a no brainer minimum wage needs to be raised.

    February 24, 2014 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • davecu

      Consider this: If the government didn't print so much money there by diminishing the value of the dollar, the purchasing power would have stayed where it was 10 years back.
      I have no right to a new car. It took me working for 50 years to afford my first house.
      Why must my hard work line someone else's pocket?

      Give a man a fish and he'll have one meal.
      Teach him how to fish and he will dine for his lifetime.

      February 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  8. physics1200

    Has anyone watched the Ameritrade commercial?

    February 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  9. Spencer

    Does it really matter who decides or how much? The problem won't be solved until the minimum wage and the living wage can be used interchangably. How do we continue to allow politicians to argue over technicalities and little details while completely losing sight of the real issue? Our nation's bottom rung is starving and all they can manage to discuss is just how poor those people should be.

    February 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  10. Bubba

    According to the GOP, America does NOT need a raise, but need a Tax Cut on the Minimum Wages they earn.

    February 21, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  11. FPSC

    The average wage for legal residents of the U.S. would easily increase if the illegals were deported. Stop flooding the market for all jobs with legal and illegal immigration and average wages will go up while unemployment goes down. Even businesses that normally pay only minimum wage will have to offer more in order to get workers, once you take away their "undocumented" reserve force.

    February 21, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • ProtectAmericanJobs

      That's true – We STILL need to Stop ILLEGAL immigration! They're not just doing jobs that Americans don't want. (And I'm not talking about migrant workers, which is obviously not the problem) Do they pay state and federal income taxes? Don't get me wrong most of these people work hard, but are a drain on the system if they don't pay income taxes, have healthcare coverage, learn the language or get paid wages that are in line with their American counterparts. We all know that the health care provided to uninsured illegals here in the states is being averaged into our hospital costs and our insurance premiums, which have PROPORTIONATELY increased along with illegal immigration over the last 20 years? These costs are also being passed along to Medicaid and Medicare, which means that not only are they increasing our insurance premiums, but that we're paying for them again with our tax dollars. Our tax dollars and insurance premiums should not be used to recoup the cost of healthcare given to illegal aliens, who shouldn't even be here in our country in the first place.

      Just look around and you'll see who's doing 90% of the residential renovations, construction and property maintenance jobs. That's certainly what we're seeing in the northeast. These are not just jobs that Americans don't want.

      The hiring of cheap illegal labor causes a chain reaction. The contractors who hire cheap, uninsured, non-income-taxpaying, ILLEGAL aliens undercut the contractors who hire US Citizens or Legal immigrants. Even if the contractor wants to continue to employ US Citizens or Legal tax-paying immigrants, they end up replacing their Legal employees with illegals just to be able to get the work. Unfortunately unions and the old "that's not my job" union attitudes here in the USA have also contributed to this problem.

      Also when these Non-income-tax-paying illegal Aliens take American Citizens jobs they also are taking away the income tax revenue that those working American Citizens would be providing to our government. In addition, the American Citizens who have their jobs taken away by these Illegal Aliens then have to be paid unemployment and usually have no healthcare insurance either because they can't afford COBRA, which adds even more to our deficit and further increases our healthcare costs.

      Let's face it – Over the last 2-3 decades, both parties have been selling out the bulk of the American citizens, who they're supposed to represent, by allowing the incursion of illegal aliens (cheap labor) and the "out-sourcing" floodgates to open wider and wider without taking any sensible measures to stem the tide.

      I run a business that does it the right way and employs 20 US Citizens and 1 Legal Immigrant and I believe that the use of Workplace Raids is a perfectly realistic way to put a stop to this BS. Plus we should publish the results of these workplace raids and fines to the public, so American Citizens and customers could see which companies are employing illegals.

      Let's get the good productive illegal immigrants into the system and paying federal and state income tax or get them out and NOT Let Any More Come In unless they come in as Legal Immigrants. Make them apply for legal visas and or U.S. citizenship and if they don't, then get them out. If they get rejected get them out or give them one quick appeal and if they still get rejected, then get them out. And let's send the bad ILLEGAL Aliens back to where they came in and let's STOP ANYMORE ILLEGAL ALIENS from getting in.

      I also think we should start using our military to Start Keeping ILLEGAL Aliens Out.

      How About Hiring some of our Unemployed Veterans as Additional Border Patrol Officers, ICE and INS agents?

      ps: Most illegal aliens are paid off the books and if they're employer says that they're deducting income tax they're lying. And the few that are being paid on the books, using fake IDs, claim a huge number of dependents, etc................ And could you or I get away with not filling income tax returns? And what about the ballsy ones that do file and claim a ridiculous amount of deductions to get big refunds. There are even sleazy accounts that specialize in helping them game the system.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • davecu

      Perhaps we should stop printing worthless money.
      The cost of living is directly linked to our worthless money.
      Stop spending what we don't have. What a concept.

      February 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Reply
      • lerotz

        True raising the value of the dollar is a great way to inject money into the economy, but it is not a immediate solution to a major problem. It is something that would have to be worked on over time. It is the long term goal, but a more effective way to tackle this problem is to clean the tax code such that corporations and others cannot take advantage of tax loopholes that lower the American competitiveness and send jobs overseas. Raise the revenue so we can pay for the services that the government provides us, and then we can argue what needs to be cleaned along with it. Clinton had a high tax policy that injected money into the economy and made it flow because people were getting the services they needed and it created a surplus that was paying the debt down. You cannot just simply eliminate essential services.

        February 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  12. pjoe

    Yes ... duh. I asked my boss for a 35% raise. He laughed. Someone in the government needs to force him to pay me more (I don't make minimum wage).

    February 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  13. Hector Slagg

    Well,
    You should be able to make as much as the Market will bear. We are still (I Think) are on the Free Enterprise system. You work hard, play your cards right, and you will be successful. But there are no Gurantees. Ralph Kramden drove a City Bus in Brooklyn for 55 dollars a week all his life. May you be so lucky.

    February 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  14. ProtectAmericanJobs

    The ONLY REAL FIX for our great country is to RAISE REVENUE, by Bringing Back Businesses and Jobs to TAX-PAYING AMERICAN CITIZENS.

    This is the only way that Americans are going to be able to "Get a Raise" and sustain it. The more jobs and businesses that we bring back to tax-paying Americans citizens, the healthier our real economy will be and the more likely it will be for the American people to keep up and possibly even start to move forward again.

    Unfortunately most of our politicians are a joke – Only it's not so funny, because over the past several decades, all they've been doing is screwing the American people, by stalling, spending, removing protections and allowing illegal aliens to continue to pour in and American jobs and industry to pour out, and all while collecting their American tax-payer funded pay checks, benefits and whatever else they get on the side from their various lobbyist friends.

    It seems to me that over the last 2-3 decades that both parties were always able to distract and polarize voters with insignificant peripheral social issues like gay marriage and abortion, which got most voters so caught up in the BS that they'd always lose sight of the bigger picture.

    We'd really all be better off by just cutting through the BS and all the my team vs your team name calling nonsense and really focus on America and improving the future of the American people.

    Once they're elected, our leaders should be working together for the good of the our country and our citizens by using combinations of the best ideas from both sides versus just trying to make the other side look bad so they lose the next election. – How's that been working?

    All the nonsense just allows the puppet-masters to continue to do what's best for them at the expense of the American people while we're polarized and distracted.

    But, let's face it – Neither party is actually running our country – Powerful puppet-masters play both sides to make sure that they get what they want. Unfortunately what they want is not usually in the best interest of the majority of the American people. (American citizens)

    Foreign Lobbyists here in the US promote sending US jobs to countries like China, where they work for slave wages, no benefits, no OSHA safety standards or no real environment regulations. It also doesn't help us compete when these company's factories are subsidized by China's communist government. Just check out the current Chinese extreme pollution issues – We all live in the same world, but not every country plays by the same rules.

    The so called "Global Market Place" is not a level playing field. Companies may have made higher profits by "out sourcing", but they've been putting middle class Americans who are a good part of the world's customer base out of work.

    The American people need American leaders who will start putting some sensible measures in place to stem the tide or this is going to continue to have a devastating effect on the United States of America and the American people.

    Aren't there at least a handful of these powerful puppet-masters that are fellow Americans with enough of a conscience, guts and loyalty to America and their fellow Americans to start trying to turn this trend around?

    If there aren't any, we're screwed.

    The bottom line is that "Our Government" has to protect domestic industry and the jobs that those industries provide. If they do that, the rest will take care of itself.

    Bringing manufacturing back to the US not only gives jobs to the US citizens who would be working in those manufacturing facilities, but to the people that would be working in the businesses that would spring up all around them. This should also include the safe harvesting, production and distribution of our own natural energy here in the USA, rather than paying for fuel from countries where they hate us. Let's keep that money and those jobs here in the US.

    The lack of businesses and good jobs in the USA is what's really going to rob us, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the potential of a prosperous or even decent future.

    It's all happened because, over the last 25-years, our government has allowed our country's industries to get sucked out to China, India, Mexico, etc and allowed illegal aliens and H-1B foreigners to come into our country and take away tax-paying Americans jobs and drive down domestic prices and wages.

    That's where our government leaders have to step up and put some sensible measures and incentives in place to keep jobs here in the USA or the real economy and infrastructure of the country we love will be destroyed along with the future of the American people.

    Nowadays it's obviously not about being either lazy or uneducated as many try to profess, but about wages, expenses and regulations that are not even remotely close to the wages, expenses and regulations in our country.

    Regardless of what the Free-Traitors keep trying to sell us, we can see what's real. The American People need to just trust their own instincts, common sense and what they've seen actually going on all around them versus all of the nonsense that the free-traitors are still trying to sell us.

    The American people will need good jobs with health-care benefits in order to be able to pay for the services of those educated doctors, lawyers, college professors, etc. – It can't all be chiefs and no Indians. There is an equally important place for both of them in America.

    The ONLY REAL FIX for our great country is to RAISE REVENUE, by Bringing Back Businesses and Jobs to TAX-PAYING AMERICAN CITIZENS.

    The American People need Our Leaders to start remembering that they are elected by the Citizens of the United States of America to represent the interests of those citizens and the country itself.

    They are NOT elected by or to represent the Global Market Place, Lobbyist or Foreign citizens!

    February 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Joshua

      Sir, I want to applaud you for being a fiscal Conservative with a actual logical argument. While I also think that the minimum wage needs to at least be temporary increased to inject money into the economy, I will also agree that you have the right idea about special interest groups owning our government.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:44 am | Reply
      • ProtectAmericanJobs

        Thanks – Some of this stuff is just common sense – We need to keep spreading the word.

        February 25, 2014 at 8:33 am |
  15. jboh

    Ralph Nader and S Moore. Talk about 2 extremist hacks.

    February 21, 2014 at 10:06 am | Reply
  16. jeepn72

    Raising minimum wage to $10.10 and hour, not $12.50 as eluded to by another poster, would be another one of the many mistakes that this non understanding of economics administration can conjure up. Businesses are a business to make money... if they are forced to pay a higher minimum wage it would be reflected in the cost of their goods or services which will lead to increasing the inflation rate and the consumer price index. Thus, by trying to bring minimum wage workers out of poverty by increasing minimum wage will only bury them deeper into poverty while reducing the middle to the poverty level, only to make the rich richer... common sense!

    February 21, 2014 at 3:00 am | Reply
    • kurt

      Some points.

      1. The cost of goods would go up for businesses that employ a lot of minimum wage labor directly, less so for those with some minimum wage labor in their supply chain, and almost not at all for businesses who don't. An example is that analysis showed that if McDonalds paid all of their employees 15 dollars an hour (double the minimum wage), the cost of items on their menu would go up 10-20%. While this will cause some inflation, the level would be fairly small for the bulk of the economy.

      2. Because of the numbers above, it's never worse for those working at minimum wage for the wage to be lifted in terms of their money being worth less. The level of price inflation would be WELL below their salary inflation. The impact would be felt by those OUTSIDE of the top end of the hike. The guy making 12 dollars an hour gets no personal benefit from the minimum wage going up to 10 dollars an hour, but he does get hit with the slightly higher inflation.

      3. Our recent level of inflation has been so low that economists are concerned about deflation. Deflation is a problem because it blunts spending of all kinds... because the longer you wait to spend the more you get. This makes spending less attractive and blunts growth.

      In reality, it makes the most sense to index the minimum wage at a point in the past where we think it was appropriate, and just set it to that with an automatic cost of living index.

      For example... if we think the 1 dollar minimum wage in 1956 was a good number and we index that to the CPI... it should be 8.56 today. If we liked 1.25 in 1965... then it would be 9.24 today. If we think the 2 dollar 1975 minimum wage was correct... 8.66 today. If we liked the 3.35 minimum wage in 1981... then it would be 8.59 today.

      We just need to pick a number... 8, 10, 12, 15... whatever. Then we index it to something like the CPI and never worry about it as an issue again.

      February 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • ProtectAmericanJobs

      True – We can't just raise the minimum wage unless we start improving the overall business environment and employment picture. Especially not to the $11, $12, or $15 per hour that some of these people are talking about.

      We Have To Fix The Root Of The Problem First, which is that over the past several decades, all our leaders have been doing is screwing the American people, by stalling, spending, removing protections and allowing illegal aliens to continue to pour in and American jobs and industry to pour out, and all while collecting their American tax-payer funded pay checks, benefits and whatever else they get on the side from their various lobbyist friends.

      I've been running a business where we haven't been able to our raise prices or wages for several years, because of what our leaders have allowed to happen to our country. Most small to medium size businesses are just struggling to survive.

      Our real economic problems happened because, over the last 25-years, our government has allowed our country's industries to get sucked out to China, India, Mexico, etc and allowed illegal aliens and H-1B foreigners to come into our country and take away tax-paying Americans jobs and drive down prices and wages.

      I run a business with 20 employees, all of whom earn well more than minimum wage, but it isn't so easy. It's hard enough to stay in business and make any profit nowadays and take care of our hard working conscientious employees. I believe that our cross-trained employees are our company's most important asset.

      We have every little turn over in our company. But if I advertise one job opening (all of which are well over the minimum wage), I'd have dozens upon dozens of qualified people and some over qualified people clamoring for the job and almost all of them would be happy to come in for less than they were making, just to have a steady job. But these people and myself are just struggling to keep up with our mortgages, kids student loans, health-care coverage............etc..............

      The American people need our leaders to wake up and start putting some sensible measures in place to stem the tide or this is going to continue to have a devastating effect on the United States of America and the American people.

      We'd really all be better off by just cutting through the all the my team vs your team name calling nonsense and really focus on America and improving the future of the American people.

      February 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  17. Scott

    Raising minimum wage would be a huge mistake! As the CBO reports, the minimum amount of jobs that that would be killed is around 500,000, but realistically will be more like 1 MILLION. And if they do raise minimum wage, how are these companies going to adjust their spreadsheets to cover the increase? Think they will cut costs somewhere?1? I DOUBT IT!... More likely they will raise cost of their goods or services to their patrons which will drive up the consumer price index and inflation leaving these minimum wage workers that they are trying to bring out of poverty, deeper into poverty. HOWEVER.... If I thought it would help to get my order right at someplace like McD's or better customer service from checkout clerks I would be all for it... BUT thats not economics... praise good employees with raises and pay minimum wage to those that want to do minimum work!!

    February 21, 2014 at 12:02 am | Reply
  18. Bob Smitley

    This is so frustrating. Why do pundits let the right keep saying that the CBO says that the ACA will cost 2,000,000 jobs. That is a flat out lie. It says that current workers will work less, to the equivalent of 2,000,000 jobs. The work still needs done,that means 2,000,000 more people will have t go to work to make up those hours. It CREATES 2,000,000 jobs.

    February 20, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      The problem is that the EQUIVALENT of 200,000 jobs WILL BE LOST IS a result of the hours companies will CUT to avoid the number of full time employees. If these companies choose to have less full time employees to avoid costly OBAMACARE costs, that does not open up the EQUIVALENT of 200,00 jobs. They are just gone, no longer there, do not apply, go collect your government cheese. Wake up! People like you are going to make us end up like the Ukraine.

      February 21, 2014 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • jeepn72

      The CBO states that an equivalent of 200,000 jobs will be lost. To save money, companies will reduce the amount of full time workers to the minimum part time to avoid the HIGH costs of OBAMACARE. Economics 101. Its all about their bottom line as it should be as we are capitalists, not charities, Secondly, these hours that are Equivalent to 200,000 jobs are being reduced by employers, therefore they will not be available to anyone else wishing to take up the slack and WILL NOT CREATE another 200,000 openings anywhere else. Wake up.

      February 21, 2014 at 2:45 am | Reply
  19. Daniel Smith

    I support a $12.50 minimum wage. The problem you will have with that is that it will lift too many people out of poverty and off of food stamps that the Democrats will lose some of their voting base.

    That's the sad part. Both parties don't want it raised out of pure political reasons.

    February 20, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      $12.50? What story are you reading?

      February 21, 2014 at 12:04 am | Reply
    • jeepn72

      $12.50 minimum wage? Are you trying to up what they are actually proposing or just misinformed?

      February 21, 2014 at 2:39 am | Reply
  20. Cherie Meci

    I enjoy listening to opposing views, usually, but Steve Moore is obnoxious and interrupts too much. Any guest who can't listen for part of the show should not be invited back.

    February 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  21. kunle

    I am not in support of the raise because it will increase unemployment rate. Up to 500,000 people may be out of job.why should we put people out of job when the economy is still growing? I think the Obama administration is misplacing it's priorities.

    February 20, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Reply
    • Joshua

      Regardless of raising unemployment it is needed because not making enough income to sustain one's self without corporate welfare is just as bad as being unemployed. Plus you are reading the CBO's report wrong it is to eliminate the amount of job between a irrelevant amount and one million, but it is more likely to be a irrelevant amount because the money that the poverty and middle class gets from minimum wage going up will get put back into the economy because when you are poor and you get more money you spend it. It gets people off of welfare and food stamps and makes corporations give a respectable amount of pay to the workers that it has for the work that they do.

      Also if you want to argue that the work that these lower class workers do isn't worth the extra money then who would fill those jobs? If a job is essential enough for someone to put 40 hours a week into doing that job then that job is essential enough to warrant that person getting the compensation for their living.

      February 24, 2014 at 11:37 am | Reply
  22. chuckrenfroe

    Crossfire is BACK !
    Whatever your opinion, this is a terrific forum for sharing and debating ideas. The best show on CNN.

    thank you

    February 20, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Reply
    • christinamanduleycnnCNN

      Thanks so much! Glad you are enjoying it.

      February 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Reply

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