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President-elect Joe Biden is set to deliver a Thanksgiving address Wednesday afternoon from Wilmington, Delaware.
The former vice president plans to “discuss the shared sacrifices Americans are making this holiday season and say that we can and will get through the current crisis together,” Biden’s transition team said in a press release Wednesday.
The remarks come as coronavirus deaths and cases rise across the country. The national seven-day average of daily new cases stood at 174,225 as of Tuesday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Epidemiologists and health officials worry that holiday travel and indoor gatherings for Thanksgiving will exacerbate an already severe nationwide outbreak.
The surging Covid-19 pandemic also intensifies economic challenges. Weekly jobless claims were higher than expected, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Nearly 14 million workers face losing unemployment benefits at the end of December, as Congress has yet to pass a new coronavirus relief package.
President Donald Trump’s administration officially initiated the transition to Biden on Tuesday after weeks of delay. The president-elect’s transition team began receiving the classified presidential daily briefings and briefings on America’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic Tuesday.
Biden began naming picks for his Cabinet and national security team this week, including secretary of State, Homeland Security chief, director of national intelligence and Treasury secretary.
This year, instead of the traditional turkey, Nicole Beckler’s Thanksgiving table will feature two Cornish hens: the perfect sized birds for a dinner for two.
Beckler, a travel agent based in Florida, downsized her dinner after deciding against flying to New Jersey to celebrate the holiday with her family.
“Since New Jersey is kind of locking down again, I thought it best to stay here,” she said.
Like Beckler, many Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving differently this year. Health experts have warned against traveling home or gathering in large groups as the number of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. explodes. But celebrating Thanksgiving — even in a different way — could also lift spirits after a stressful year.
“Showing gratitude in even small ways can reduce stress and provide hope for the future,” said Barbara Fiese, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois.
Kroger’s internal data science and analytics firm found that 43% of shoppers are planning on spending the holiday only with their immediate family. Retailers, like Walmart-owned Sam’s Club, have responded by stocking smaller turkeys and shrinking their packages of yeast rolls.
Struggling restaurants see the break with tradition as a possible opportunity to attract customers who don’t want to labor over turkey, stuffing and all of the side dishes for a much smaller party.
Bayan Ko, a Chicago restaurant that fuses Cuban and Filipino cuisine, is among the restaurants selling Thanksgiving feasts for the first time. For $195, customers will receive the restaurant’s take on the holiday meal, which includes three types of meat, four side dishes and flan for dessert.
Thanksgiving meals prepared by restaurants don’t come cheap, especially when compared with the average cost of preparing the meal at home. This year, according to estimates from the American Farm Bureau Federation, a Thanksgiving dinner for ten people costs an average of $46.90 when the ingredients are bought at the grocery store. But customers are looking to offload the stress of cooking the turkey, as well as supporting local businesses.
“We’re having fun, so it’s livening up our spirits as well,” said Bayan Ko co-owner Raquel Quadreny.
The restaurant sold out of its Thanksgiving packages, with many going to regular customers, according to Quadreny.
“What we made in one day is more than we’ve been making every week since Covid cases got worse in Illinois,” she said.
As Covid cases in Chicago have surged in recent weeks, Quadreny estimates that its sales have been cut in half. City officials outlawed indoor dining once again at the end of October, with the state following suit shortly after. Bayan Ko never reopened its indoor dining room in the summer or fall, choosing instead to draw customers to its outdoor patio.
Summit House in Summit, New Jersey has also been exercising caution in light of the recent surge in cases. Thanksgiving arrives a week after the restaurant opted to suspend in-person dining, both indoor and outdoor. Instead, it’s focusing on its grab and go business, which includes preordered meal packages for the holidays.
The restaurant’s holiday packages started with its Mother’s Day bundle this year and will continue with meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Owner Dylan Baker said that about 200 Thanksgiving dinners will be prepared by Summit House.
And for the restaurants that have been selling Thanksgiving dinners for years, slow kitchens mean that they can take on more orders than usual.
Black-Eyed Sally’s in Hartford, Connecticut has been offering Cajun-fried turkey dinners for more than 15 years. This year, the eatery also cut its turkeys in halves or in thirds in response to consumers looking for smaller meals. Varano said that they cut off their orders this year at 150, 50% higher than its usual number.
“Since business has been so terrible, it’s nice to know at least this week we’re going to get some sales into the register with the holiday takeout,” said James Varano, owner of Black-Eyed Sally’s.
And restaurants are continuing to look ahead to the next holiday for another boost to sales. Black-Eyed Sally’s and Summit House will be making Christmas dinners. Summit House will also offer a prime rib package throughout December. Bayan Ko is planning on creating a bundle for New Year’s and weighing another one for Christmas.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a daily briefing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan in New York City, New York, July 13, 2020.
Mike Segar | Reuters
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday urged the federal government to provide funding to distribute a coronavirus vaccine, saying states currently don’t have the money.
“The states are broke,” Cuomo said during a press briefing in Rochester, New York. “Washington never approved the state and local funding. They estimate that the cost to the states to distribute a vaccine … $8 billion. So far, the government provided $200 million.”
He said distributing a vaccine is going to be much harder than anticipated, citing the early difficulties states had administering Covid tests.
“A Covid test is relatively simple, right? Nasal swab to the nose, that’s a Covid test,” he said. “With everyone doing everything they can in nine months the nation administered 180 million Covid tests nationwide. … To do vaccinations, you have to do 330 million vaccinations and you have to do them twice. Twice.”
Cuomo’s comments come as states prepare to distribute a vaccine as early as next month. Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech applied for an emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration for their vaccine. The FDA’s review process is expected to take a few weeks. It’s scheduled an advisory committee meeting in early December to review the vaccine.
Every state has submitted a plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how they intend to inoculate some 331 million Americans against Covid-19 once that vaccine is approved. The CDC has allocated $200 million to jurisdictions for vaccine preparedness, though much of that funding hasn’t trickled down to the local level.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told CNBC that the agency is working to “secure and distribute additional funding to jurisdictions for calendar year 2021 and beyond.”
Associations representing state and local public health departments have called for more than $8 billion to fund the plans. That money would help ramp up their health-care staff, improve their data systems, pay for the ultra-cold freezers needed to store some of the vaccines and prepare educational material to ease people’s potential safety concerns, they say.
Cuomo said he is scheduled to meet with President-elect Joe Biden‘s coronavirus advisory team later Wednesday to discuss what states need to distribute a vaccine.
Biden’s plan calls for $25 billion for vaccine development and distribution, guaranteeing that “it gets to every American, cost-free.”
This isn’t the first time Cuomo has asked for more funding.
As chairman of the bipartisan National Governors Association, he sent a letter from the group to the Trump administration last month with a series of questions about funding, such as how long the vaccine will be provided to states at no cost and whether the federal government will help pay for “boots on the ground.”
Cuomo has repeatedly said it would take “months and months” to vaccinate enough people before Covid “is no longer a problem.”
New York is currently fighting off a new influx in Covid-19 cases. On Monday, Cuomo announced that the state would reopen a temporary field hospital on Staten Island to help treat an influx of coronavirus patients. The 100-bed field hospital was one of many New York opened in the spring as it fought back a wave of Covid infections that overwhelmed its hospital system and killed roughly 800 people every day.
A lawyer for President Donald Trump’s campaign on Wednesday revealed that the campaign could be relying on pulling off a complicated — and possibly unprecedented — legal and legislative trick shot to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania and possibly in other states.
That far-fetched strategy would require a federal court to invalidate Pennsylvania’s certification of its election results, and then get the state’s General Assembly to agree to send Trump electors to the Electoral College.
The idea is buried in a footnote in a three-page letter that campaign attorney Marc Scaringi wrote to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
The Trump campaign is asking that appeals court to hear its bid to block the effect of Tuesday’s certification of a win for Biden in Pennsylvania.
That state has 20 votes in the Electoral College. Barring any court or legislative intervention, Biden will get those votes, which, along with several other states, have given him 36 more electoral votes than he would need to win the presidency. The Electoral College is set to vote on Dec. 14.
Scaringi’s letter says U.S. courts can decertify the certification of Pennsylvania’s election, and thus invalidate the ascertainment of those results, which he wrote was “allegedly issued” by Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday.
There is nothing alleged about Wolf’s ascertainment of the certified election results, which the governor announced in a tweet that day.
Scaringi’s footnote went on to say, “Moreover, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has the power to appoint the Commonwealth’s presidential electors.”
“A decision by the District Court that President Trump won the legal votes may have significant impact on the General Assembly,” the lawyer wrote.
Scaringi’s letter explicitly details the strategy that the Trump campaign has hinted around for weeks, ever since Biden was projected as the winner of the national election.
That strategy is to cobble together enough successful legal challenges to Biden’s victory in enough states to undo that victory, or, if necessary, get enough Republican-controlled state legislatures to overrule the popular vote wins for Biden and send Trump electors to the Electoral College.
As part of that strategy, Trump campaign lawyers have repeatedly made allegations of widespread voting fraud. But they have not provided any evidence of such fraud.
And the campaign and its allies have repeatedly lost or withdrawn court cases that would achieve that goal via lawsuits.
Last week, the GOP leaders of Michigan’s legislature, after a meeting at the White House with Trump, pointedly said that they would not overturn their state’s certification of its vote results.
Days later, Michigan certified that Biden had won that state, which has 16 electoral votes.
Despite that, the Trump campaign has said it has hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court, which has three Trump-appointed justices, ultimately will hear its claims.
The appeal in Pennsylvania was filed after the Trump campaign suffered a major loss in U.S. District Court in the state.
Federal Judge Matthew Brann on Saturday rejected the campaign’s efforts to block Pennsylvania’s certification of millions of voters.
Brann, in a searing opinion, called the campaign’s claims “without merit,” and said that Trump’s legal team, led by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, failed to present “compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption” in the state’s mail-in ballots.
In their appeal, the Trump campaign did not request that Brann’s ruling be reversed.
Instead, the campaign asked the 3rd Circuit to allow the campaign to file an amended version of its legal complaint, to “restore claims which were inadvertently deleted” from a previous version.
Brann’s ruling effectively denied the request to add back in numerous claims that the Trump campaign previously cut from its own lawsuit.
Those included the claim that Pennsylvania elections officials had obstructed Trump’s supporters from observing the counting of mail-in ballots.
“Over 70 million Americans voted for President Donald J. Trump,” Scaringi’s letter said. “The Campaign’s claims should be heard on the merits, and not dismissed for perceived procedural irregularities.”
Scaringi’s letter Wednesday also asked the 3rd Circuit to allow Giuliani to make oral arguments in the appeal.
Giuliani is not currently admitted to argue in that court, and “has not been able to obtain the necessary certifications due to Covid-19 complications with government entities in New York,” Scaringi wrote.
Lawyers for the Democratic National Committee, one of the many parties who have joined the appeal case in opposition to the Trump campaign, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment on Scaringi’s letter.
But Biden’s campaign on Tuesday scoffed at the Trump campaign’s refusal to acknowledge that the president lost.
“It’s readily apparent to everyone besides Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and [campaign senior legal advisor] Jenna Ellis that this election is over and that Joe Biden won resoundingly,” said Bob Bauer, the Biden campaign’s senior legal advisor.
“Trump did everything he could to disenfranchise voters and stop the results from being certified in Pennsylvania, including filing over 15 unsuccessful lawsuits — most recently producing one of the more embarrassing courtroom performances of all time, with the judge in the case ruling that their arguments were ‘without merit’ and ‘unsupported by evidence,'” Bauer said.
“Trump did not succeed in Pennsylvania and he will not succeed anywhere else. Trump’s lawsuits will continue to fail, as they have in over 30 cases since election day, states will continue to certify their results, and Joe Biden will be sworn in as President on January 20, 2021.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering shortening it’s recommended two-week quarantine period for people who have come in contact with people who have it — a change welcomed by some medical experts who say the relaxed guidelines would be easier for people to follow.
Current CDC guidelines recommend that anyone exposed to a person with the coronavirus to quarantine at home for 14 days, even if they test negative for the virus. Scientists say that helps prevent further spread of the disease before they start showing symptoms or from those who don’t develop any symptoms.
However, CDC Director Robert Redfield said in late October that those guidelines were made when diagnostic testing wasn’t as readily available as it is today. At the time, Redfield said the agency was trying to determine whether a quarantine period could be shortened to as little as seven days with a negative Covid-19 test.
“It’s data driven, it’s under evaluation, obviously we don’t want people to be quarantined for 14 days unnecessarily,” Redfield said during an Oct. 21 press briefing at the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta.
Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s incident manager for Covid-19 response, said the agency is now finalizing those new guidelines to recommend a quarantine period for seven to 10 days with a negative Covid-19 test, according to the Wall Street Journal. Agency officials are still determining the exact length of the quarantine and what type of test would be needed to end it, the Journal reported on Tuesday.
“CDC is always reviewing its guidance and recommendations in the light of new understandings of the virus that causes COVID-19, and will announce such changes when appropriate,” CDC spokesperson Belsie González told CNBC on Wednesday.
Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who leads the federal government’s testing efforts as part of the White House coronavirus task force, said during a press call on Tuesday that there’s beginning to be “a preponderance of evidence that a shorter quarantine complemented by a test might be able to shorten that quarantine period from 14 days” to a shorter period.
“We are actively working on that type of guidance right now, reviewing the evidence, but we want to make absolutely sure,” Giroir told reporters. “These kind of recommendations aren’t willy nilly. They’re worked on with a variety of of of experts.”
‘Should have done this sooner’
The shorter quarantine period could make it easier for people to follow the CDC’s recommendations since most people were likely shortening the two-week period on their own, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Commissioner, said on Wednesday.
For people who have Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, meaning they never develop symptoms, chances are they will no longer be that contagious after seven to 10 days, Gottlieb said. The number of people who will contract the infection two weeks after their exposure is also “very small,” he said.
“I mean, frankly we probably should have done this sooner,” Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “Asking people to quarantine for a full two weeks, to self-isolate for a full two weeks because of an exposure is just going to drive people not to comply with the rules. We’re better off doing something that’s practical.”
Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, who served under President Barack Obama, told NBC News that the U.S. “needs to optimize quarantine” and that the biggest risk is from four to seven days and then drops off after that.
Dr. Carlos del Rio, an Emory University professor of medicine, told CNBC that the move “makes sense” and recommended that people get tested immediately after being exposed to Covid-19, quarantine for at least seven days and then get tested again to ensure they’re negative.
“We’ve been talking to CDC and others about how do we incorporate testing into a way out of quarantine,” he told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell.
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that a two-week quarantine makes people reluctant to get tested for Covid-19 because a positive result could put them out of work.
“They don’t want to say, ‘Well, I’m tested, and now I have to stay out of work, I may lose money, I’m not getting subsidized, and I might even lose my job,” Fauci said. “So, it might be that the balance — the better part of this equation — would be to encourage people more to get tested so that they’re not out of whatever it is that they need to be, their job, their employment, their source of income. That’s the real reason for it.”
— CNBC’s Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this report.
Trump Campaign Senior Legal Advisor Jenna Ellis speaks as Trump campaign advisor Boris Epshteyn whispers to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to President Donald Trump, during a news conference about the 2020 U.S. presidential election results at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, November 19, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
A top advisor to President Donald Trump‘s campaign said Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, six days after attending a controversial press conference led by Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The disclosure of the Covid-19 diagnosis by Boris Epshteyn came as Giuliani, the Trump lawyer who led that press conference, headed to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for what was being called a hearing by the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee on the state’s election.
Giuliani’s son Andrew, who also attended his father’s press conference Thursday at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, revealed last Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Andrew Giuliani is a White House special assistant to Trump.
The Gettysburg hearing comes a day after Pennsylvania certified its election results showing a win there for President-elect Joe Biden, the former Democratic vice president.
Epshteyn in a tweet said, “I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including quarantining and contact tracing.”
Jenna Ellis, a senior legal advisor to the campaign, who also was at the press conference, tweeted about a half hour before Epsteyn’s tweet that she was “Headed to Gettysburg, PA with @RudyGiuliani.”
The campaign has said that the hearing, called by Republican state senators, will hear testimony from people who have submitted affidavits claiming they were aware of election fraud.
Epshteyn, a former special assistant to Trump, was physically very close to both Giuliani and Ellis during the press conference, where those two lawyers and then-campaign lawyer Sidney Powell made broad claims of election fraud for which they have offered no evidence.
During that press conference, Rudy Giuliani was sweating heavily, so much so that what appeared to be hair dye ran down both of his cheeks.
Giuliani is leading legal efforts by the Trump campaign to challenge the outcomes of voting results in multiple states, in a long-shot bid to reverse Biden’s projected victory in the Electoral College.
Legal experts given those efforts little chance of succeeding.
On Saturday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania, who is a former Republican official, brutally dismissed Giuliani’s arguments in a lawsuit seeking to block certification of the state’s voting tally, saying that they were “without merit.”
The Trump campaign and its allies have lost or withdrawn about 36 legal challenges to ballots and voting processes around the country.
Biden currently is projected to win 306 electoral votes, 36 more than needed to secure a White House victory.
Gettysburg is the site of the most famous battle in the U.S. Civil War. Over three days in July 1863, Union forces defeated traitorous Confederate forces led by Robert E. Lee, thwarting their bid to invade the North.
Four months later, the President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, delivered the famed Gettysburg Address at the battle site, urging his listeners to act so that “these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
A pilot talks on a mobile device near a Delta Air Lines gate at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Delta Air Lines pilots voted in favor of pay cuts that would avoid furloughs until 2022 as the industry reels from the coronavirus pandemic, their labor union said Wednesday.
The deal would allow the company to lower pilots’ guaranteed hours by as much 5%. The more than 1,700 pilots that would have been furloughed by the Atlanta-based airline at the end of the month will get partial pay of 30 hours a month and will not have to fly.
U.S. airlines have shed more than 70,000 jobs this year — more than 30,000 involuntary cuts at American and United — and tens of thousands of voluntary departures. The country’s carriers have lost more than $20 billion in the last two quarters and have scrambled to cut costs as the virus keeps many potential customers from flying.
Delta has avoided involuntary furloughs thanks to the deal and the thousands of employees that accepted buyouts and voluntary leaves of absence. Delta has also cut ground workers’ hours by 25%.
Southwest Airlines is negotiating with several of its unions on cost-cutting and other measures that it has said could prevent its first involuntary furloughs in its nearly 50 years of flying.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is holding a press briefing Wednesday as the state works to fight off an increase in Covid-19 cases.
On Monday, Cuomo announced that the state would reopen a temporary field hospital on Staten Island to help treat an influx of coronavirus patients. The 100-bed field hospital was one of many New York opened in the spring as it fought back a wave of Covid infections that overwhelmed its hospital system and killed roughly 800 people every day.
Earlier this month, the governor ordered restaurants and bars licensed by the State Liquor Authority to close at 10 p.m. He has also banned gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence.
–CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report.
CNBC’s “College Voices 2020” is a series written by CNBC fall interns from universities across the country about coming of age, getting their college education and launching their careers during these extraordinary times. Hannah Miao is a senior at Duke University studying public policy. The series is edited by Cindy Perman.
Sade Andrews was one of more than 6 million Floridians who voted in favor of a historic ballot initiative that will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
For the 19-year-old Tampa native and fast food worker at McDonald’s, the vote was a personal one.
In March, as the coronavirus pandemic spread through the country, Andrews’ sister lost her job at amusement park Busch Gardens. Andrews had been taking time off from her studies at Hillsborough Community College to help her mother pay bills. Making $9.50 an hour, Andrews was now one of two primary breadwinners in her household, forcing her to postpone her return to school.
Source: The Fight for $15 and a Union
She joined a coalition called Fight for $15 and a union that campaigned for Amendment 2, the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage.
The referendum passed with 60.8% of the vote, just over the 60% threshold required for approval.
The measure will increase the state’s current $8.56 minimum wage to $10 next year. For every year after that, the pay floor will rise by $1 an hour until it hits $15 in 2026.
“With Amendment 2 being passed, this will really help me out,” Andrews said. “I’ll still be able to help my mom and be able to pay for my classes.”
Andrews plans to resume her schooling in the next year or so and study communications or psychology.
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In Florida and across the country, college students say a $15 minimum wage could be a game changer for financing their education and managing the balance between work and school.
Florida is the eighth state to approve a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and the second-most populous to do so, joining a growing list of states and municipalities adopting the measure.
A 2019 bill from the U.S. House of Representatives called the Raise the Minimum Wage Act, which would lift the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, has a greater chance than ever before to become law, as President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to raise the rate to $15.
The current federal pay floor has remained at $7.25 per hour for over a decade.
Close to 70% of all college students in the U.S. work, a 2018 Georgetown University study found. But a stagnant minimum wage and the skyrocketing cost of secondary education means that money doesn’t go as far as it used to for most college students.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a student working part time during the school year and full time during the summer at the minimum wage could pay for tuition and fees and most of the room and board cost at an average public four-year university, according to the Urban Institute. Now, the same amount of work at the minimum wage would cover only 57% college tuition and fees and 27% of room and board and other expenses.
Source: Nina Schubert
Nina Schubert is a 21-year-old student at Kent State University. Throughout college she’s worked five different jobs to cover rent, car payments, paying back her mother for tuition and other spending.
Most of Schubert’s jobs have started around Ohio’s minimum wage, which is currently set at $8.70 per hour. Even when she worked her way up to a manager position at retailer Aerie, she was paid just $10 an hour.
“I was working 30, 40 hours a week at my last two jobs. It was just really tough and I needed to work that much to afford what I needed and bills,” Schubert said.
Finally this fall, Schubert received a $15-per-hour sales associate position at Best Buy.
“There’s a lot less stress for me knowing I’m making $15 an hour,” Schubert said. “I can work 15 to 20 [hours a week] and I can still do my schoolwork. I can still have time for myself.”
Schubert believes a $15 minimum wage should be implemented in Ohio. “People can’t afford everyday life at $8.70 an hour,” she said.
Source: Samantha Morales
Samantha Morales, 22, graduated from Duke University in May and is now pursuing a master’s degree at Georgetown University. Throughout college, she juggled a variety of jobs, from the campus bookstore to a pediatrics lab to a teaching assistant position. The hourly rate hovered around $10 per hour for most of her roles, even those that required technical skills.
“The jobs I had didn’t really pay enough, so I had to get multiple, which was definitely pretty stressful because being at Duke is hard enough already,” Morales said. “It definitely did get really stressful when I did actually have a bill or something that I needed to pay.”
As a Miami native, Morales was excited to see the passage of Amendment 2.
“I feel like you only ever see the middle class or upper middle class that’s in Miami, especially on TV or in movies, but there’s so many people living below the poverty level throughout Miami and throughout Florida as a whole,” Morales said. “I definitely think that raising the minimum wage would help a lot of people that are struggling with just making ends meet. It would help take some of that stress off.”
Christina Pugliese is a 20-year-old student at the University of Florida and the vice president of UF College Democrats. She said that most students she spoke to on campus were excited about Amendment 2, regardless of political affiliation.
“We’re the ones that take a lot of these minimum wage jobs, especially in our own communities,” Pugliese said. “I live in a college town and the minimum wage jobs here are taken by college students.”
She hopes that the movement for a $15 minimum wage will also help students pursuing internships to set themselves up for success after graduation. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, interns who qualify as paid employees are entitled to earning the minimum wage.
A higher minimum wage could also help some college students enter the workforce. Sydney Harper, 20, is a junior at Vanderbilt University. She wanted to take a tutoring job off-campus this semester to help pay for extracurricular expenses, but without a car, working the $9-an-hour job didn’t make sense financially.
“I’d have to Uber there and back, and the money spent on Ubers just didn’t make the three hours working worth it,” Harper said.
Source: Sydney Harper
A $15 minimum wage would help college students and other workers who don’t have cars. “I think if you can make more money, it can assist with transportation and other things,” she said.
While the Pew Research Center found that two-thirds of Americans favor raising the federal minimum wage, some business owners say a higher pay floor could affect jobs.
“[W]e are extremely worried about the job losses and business closures that will accompany this mandate,” Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said in a statement regarding the passage of Amendment 2.
However, many economists and labor advocates say a $15 minimum wage could boost the economy by reducing poverty and putting more money into the pockets of Americans who will, in turn, spend more. They say women and people color, who are overrepresented in low-wage jobs, will especially benefit from a higher minimum wage.
“The benefits of the policy far outweigh the potential costs,” Ben Zipperer, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning research group, told CNBC.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.