WASHINGTON -- If Congress hikes the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and ties it to inflation, it could reduce federal spending on food stamp benefits by $46 billion over 10 years, according to a new report released Wednesday by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
Echoing a common liberal argument, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that by putting more income in low-wage workers' pockets, the higher minimum wage would cut back their reliance on public assistance, to the tune of $4.6 billion annually. That amounts to roughly 6 percent of current food stamp spending, or about a tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget.
Progressives said Wednesday that the CAP report shows why a minimum wage raise should be supported by many of the Republicans who currently oppose it, since those same lawmakers have called for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
"Detractors of SNAP and the minimum wage increase can't have it both ways,"
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said on a call with reporters hosted by CAP. While they decry a "culture of dependency," Brown went on, "these same elected officials oppose efforts to make sure hard work is rewarded with fair pay."
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