What raising minimum wage could do Prospects for an increase in the federal minimum wage brightened Tuesday when Barack Obama endorsed the idea for the first time since he became president, but it still faces a tough road in Congress. With unemployment stubbornly high and employers apprehensive about their health care costs when major parts of Obamacare take effect in 2014, critics say now is not the time to be raising the minimum wage. [...] if the goal is reducing poverty, raising the minimum wage is a "poorly targeted" way to do it, says Michael Saltsman, research director with the Employment Policies Institute. Compared with 24 other developed countries with minimum wage laws, the United States ranked 11th in 2011, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Arguments againstResearchers at Cornell and American universities studied 28 states that raised their minimum wage above the federal level between 2003 and 2007 and found no associated drop in state poverty rates. Saltsman says a better approach would be increasing the earned income tax credit, which can reduce a low-income worker's income tax below zero and result in a net payment from the government. While he supports the earned income tax credit, raising it to fight poverty "is subsidizing companies with public dollars for not paying their employees enough," he says. Cooper adds that "some of the best research shows that when states raise minimum wages there is no negative effect on job creation and some evidence that it can have a positive effect," such as reducing turnover and increasing productivity.