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White House lauds Wal-Mart wage hike

White House press secretary Josh Earnest praised Wal-Mart for raising worker wages, pointing to the company as proof that a minimum wage hike doesn’t harm business.
 
“Executives at Wal-Mart certainly have a strong track record of understanding the kinds of strong business decisions that they can take to enhance their bottom line,” he said.
 
“What these executives concluded was that offering more flexible scheduling policies to their workers and raising their wages was good for their bottom line and good for business.”
 

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Earnest added that Wal-Mart’s decision counters the view of many Republicans who oppose a minimum wage hike. Those opponents have warned that raising minimum wages could stifle growth and cause employers to cut back on hiring, especially for small businesses.
 
“There are a number of small businesses that we’ve held up as employers that are doing the right thing,” he said. “I’m confident that as business owners, they are not motivated solely by charity, they are motivated by profit.”
 
Wal-Mart, which is America’s largest private employer, announced on Thursday that it would raise wages for 500,000 full- and part-time employees to $9 an hour and at least $10 an hour after training by February 2016, according to USA Today. Those rates are above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
 
"We want associates that care about the company and are highly engaged in our business and are leaning in," CEO Doug McMillon said, according to the paper.
 
"Those feelings generate a customer experience that drives growth."
 
Many Democrats, including President Obama, have called for Congress to increase the federal minimum wage. But that’s been a non-starter with Republicans, who argue those hikes would do more harm than good.