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Raising the Minimum Wage for Working Men and Women in California and the Rest of America

Make Work Pay More

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“It is time to give America a raise,” President Obama proclaimed in support of his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 in 2016.

Many Republicans in Washington oppose the Democrats’ proposed wage hike of nearly 40 percent. Former Republican candidate for governor Ron Unz, however, thinks D.C. Republicans should give the proposal serious consideration.

Unz is working to get a measure on the ballot to raise California’s minimum wage to $12. Unz told me the smart move for Washington Republicans would be to support Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage but oppose the president’s plan to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Unz has a consistent theme: Conservatives should support laws that make work pay and pay more than welfare.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a $10.10 minimum wage would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs, but it also would increase the take-home pay of 16.5 million workers and lift 900,000 above the poverty level. “The savings in government social welfare payments would be enormous,” quoth Unz.

Republicans have used the CBO prediction of half a million lost jobs to hammer Democrats. There is no free lunch. Some low-wage workers won’t find jobs, and the cost of goods will increase to pay for higher wages.

Unz is very aware of how government mandates can hinder job creation. He sees Obamacare, for example, as a “disaster” that has driven up the cost of hiring people. The cost of Obamacare, he told me, doesn’t go into workers’ pockets, whereas “the benefit of raising the minimum wage is that the dollars go to the workers.”

• Category: Campaign, National, Notable • Tags: Debra J. Saunders