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

The Intra-Conservative Minimum Wage Debate

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Robert Costa and Karen Tumulty report on the growing number of Republicans who favor an increase in the federal hourly minimum wage. Several former Republican presidential candidates, including Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney, have endorsed a minimum wage hike, as have a number of current GOP candidates for the House and Senate. As a general rule, these Republicans don’t offer substantive arguments for raising the federal minimum wage, and let’s be clear that state governments are free, as they’ve been for some time, to set state minimum wages that exceed the federal minimum wage. Rather, they focus on appearances, as when Pawlenty, president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, an organization that lobbies on behalf of the financial services industry, frets that the GOP often looks like “the party of Scrooge.” I appreciate Pawlenty’s concern. And I actually do think that there is a political case for Republicans to accept a modest minimum wage increase and indexing the minimum wage to inflation, even though there is good reason to believe that a higher minimum wage would reduce net job growth.
• Category: National