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TALLAHASSEE, FL - President Obama proposed an increase in the federal minimum wage last month, which some are saying could help improve income inequality.  
During his State of the Union address, he discussed how this adjustment could lead to higher incomes for millions of families.
“Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty,” said Obama during his speech. 
Associated Press/Chuck Burton
Tim Scott, a staff accountant at Starace Accounting Firm in Tallahassee, said he doesn’t see anything wrong with increasing minimum wage.  He thinks the money will make its way back into the economy.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Scott “I think it ends up coming back.” Tallahassee Resident DeMarrio Bryant also thinks the increase is beneficial. 
“I think raising minimum wage is a great thing to do. There are several families in this nation who are living before the poverty level,” said Bryant, a Florida A&M police officer. “Any step towards changing this is a great step.” 

Obama’s proposed change would raise minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour.
While this could help low-income workers, some say this increase could actually hurt the economy. Some Businesses that hire low-wage workers are opposed to the idea of raising the federal minimum wage and economists argue that this could increase unemployment. 
Christine Owens, however, said this effort is an important step toward improving the economy. She said this is one of the best ways to get the economy “back on track.” 
“The president said he was putting jobs and the economy front and center tonight, and that’s exactly what he did by calling for a minimum wage increase,” said Owens. “A higher minimum wage is key to getting the economy back on track for working people and the middle class.”

Although these changes won’t occur immediately, proponents agree that this is a start to changing income inequality and helping improve the lives of millions.

By Angie Meus
With contributions by The New York Times, USA Today
Photo, Associated Press
Video, feeseminars


TALLAHASSEE, FL - After employing thousands of workers last month, American companies have already started to slow down their hiring. However, the reason for the decline is unknown.  
Employers added nearly 88,000 jobs to payrolls. However, a Department of Labor report shows that this number pales in comparison to February, the New York Times reported. 
In February, 268,000 jobs were added, which is still a slow speed compared to last June, according to their report.
Joshua Shapiro, Chief Economist at MFR Inc, said although people believed the economy was changing, the numbers reported differently.  
 “People were starting to believe the economy was picking up steam, and desperately wanted this report to be better,” said Shapiro. “But that didn’t happen.”
Stephen Caldwell, an employee at the UPS store in Tallahassee, said there is a chance that the unemployment rate will decrease, but that it starts with Congress.
“There is a possibility,” said Caldwell. “Congress would have to come into an agreement; everything starts with the head.”
                                                                    Associated Press/Keith Srakocic

While some economists said this is less than what they expected, others are taking a look at the overall changes. Sarah Bloom Raskin, a member of the Federal Reserve Board, said that looking at these factors and their impact is vital.
“It’s important to look at the types of jobs that are being created because those jobs will directly affect   the fortunes and challenges of households and neighborhoods as well as the course of the recovery,” said Raskin.

Chief Economist Diane Swonk said temporary employment is rapidly increasing, which could mean less job security for employees.  
Although some are doubtful of whether the increase in jobs is actually helping, others see a bigger problem ahead. The increase in unemployment could mean potential poverty for retired workers who have used their savings as a means of surviving the economy.

By Angie Meus
With contributions by The New York Times
Photo, Associated Press
Video, mjmfoodie


TALLAHASSEE, FL - Higher prices for prescription medication could cost some Americans their healthcare in the near future.
The IMS Health reported that last year, the number of people purchasing prescription drugs declined by one percent.
IMS Health, a research firm, has been following these numbers since 1957 and this is the first time a drop like this has been recorded, according to their report.  These skyrocketing prices not only raise concerns for pharmacists, but for people like Connie Jones as well.
Jones, a Florida resident, is on heart medication.  She says she cannot afford the $86 brand of the medicine that regulates her heartbeat. Instead, she settles for a Wal-Mart brand that costs her $15 a month.
Jones recently wrote a letter to Florida governor, Rick Scott, expressing her inability to afford her prescription drugs in hopes of helping change Medicaid laws.
For Jones, being able to watch her kids grow up is a primary concern.
“They don’t have any other family besides me and their siblings,” said Jones.
                                                                Associated Press/Mark Lennihan

Some may deem this a trag edy, but Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, argues that there is a bigger problem at hand.
 “This is a charmed era that won’t last forever,” said Ginsburg. “When you talk to benefits managers at large employers or insurers, the trend of specialty pharma is very, very prominent. You might even say they regard it as their biggest problem.”

While some say that prices for these drugs will eventually lower, the same can’t be said for specialty drugs, according to Michael Kleinrock, director of research at IMS Health.
 “For the vast majority of patients, their share of costs and their out-of-pocket for costs may go down,” said Kleinrock.
 Despite the reported decrease in spending, IMS has already predicted that in 2014, people can expect to see a boost in sales. The research firm is predicting a four percent increase in drug sales.

By Angie Meus
With contributions by The New York Times
Photo, Associated Press
Video, FOX2now 


TALLAHASSEE, FL - Every year, high school graduates across the country prepare to enter college. However, many are faced with the burden of figuring out how they will fund their education.

Choosing a top university may seem like the easiest answer, but some say families should take a closer look. Sarah Lynn, author of “The College Solution,” said families should realize the level of commitment.

“Families really need to look realistically at what they can afford,” said Lynn. “Sometimes, they’ll look at a package and say, ‘It’s not enough, but we can sacrifice and send our children to the school they really want to go to.’ They have to realize this a four- to five-year commitment.”

                                                                    Associated Press

 While there are perks to attending elite universities, the cost tends to be much higher. As a result, students may end up borrowing a substantial amount of money, according to The New York Times report. 

However, despite the financial differences among the schools, economists researched and found that spending the money could be both an advantage and a disadvantage.

“The difference between going to Swarthmore and Penn State is greater today than it was in 1976 because there are higher returns to all upper-end skills and connections,” said Lawrence Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard University. “By contrast, a larger, private, expensive nonelite university was not necessarily better than “the flagship campus of a top-notch state university.”

Chivone Smith, a Gates Millennium Scholar had the option to attend any university at no cost. However, she chose to further her education at Clark Atlanta University, a historically black university.

While some may question her decision, she said she has no regrets.

“I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world, said Smith in an editorial piece to The Famuan.  “I am more aware of myself and the world I live in.”

James Montague, director of guidance and support services at Boston Latin School, recommended applying to one state school that would offer merit and subsidized loans, which are loans that do not accrue interest while the student is in school. 

“Our students are reasonable about this,” said Montague. “Our students are very resilient. They’re going to make it work.”

By Angie N. Meus
With contributions by The New York Times
Photo, Associated Press
Video, ABCNews


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