More than 3 million Americans just got a raise.
When Jan. 1 arrived, numerous states increased their minimum wage. The pay hikes in each state range from Florida's 12 cent cost-of-living increase, to South Dakota's $1.25 hourly wage hike. Still, there's a wide gulf between those who think wage policies will help the economy, and those who think it will hurt workers.
In an interview with CNBC, Jared Bernstein, former economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, said the higher minimum wage gives a boost to lower-paid workers.
"While the economy has been expanding and growing, very little of that growth has reached workers in bottom half of the pay scale," the progressive economist said.
Others see the opposite impact. Dan Mitchell of the libertarian Cato Institute told CNBC the result of higher minimum wages means some people are going to be thrown out of work. Conservative economists have long argued that raising the minimum wage puts a strain on small businesses, and may price entry-level workers out of the job market.
"It's a simple reality. If a low-skill employee doesn't have the work skills that justify a (minimum) wage at 'x,' they're not going to be hired," Mitchell said.
"They're going to be let go."