Why the Right Should Support Boosting Minimum Wage, Too
by Clarence Page
I've heard a lot of goofy arguments against raising the federal minimum wage. The silliest goes like this: "You want to raise the minimum wage to
Of course, that's not a real argument. Yet I hear it a lot, which means it probably originates somewhere in the nation's vast menagerie of conservative talk show hosts.
The answer, if this pseudo-argument deserves one, is that
For example, the liberal-leaning
That figure makes President
Yet at the other end of the political spectrum you have conservatives like Rep.
No minimum wage? It seems to me that America tried that before. It's called slavery.
But whether Barton's fellow Republicans share his extreme view or not, a minimum wage increase isn't likely to have any easier time in the current
That's a tragedy for millions of hard-working Americans who are having an increasingly tough time making ends meet -- even as stocks soar to record highs on
Does it sound like I'm talking class warfare? Americans didn't think so in the three decades after World War II, when the idea of wages keeping up with productivity had much more bipartisan support.
In the years from 1947 to 1969, the minimum wage actually did keep pace with productivity growth, according to the
Yet not all conservatives are opposed to raising the minimum wage. While
Now the former publisher of
His reasons? Strictly conservative, he points out. He sees it as an economic growth measure. It would put
More controversially, Unz hopes that raising the minimum wage would help slow the flow of illegal immigration. "In effect, a much higher minimum wage serves to remove the lowest rungs in the employment ladder," he wrote in the magazine he used to publish, "thus preventing newly arrived immigrants from gaining their initial foothold in the economy."
That may be asking too much, in my view. History shows that immigration, legal or illegal, rises or falls according to how well the U.S. economy is doing.
But there's no question that raising wages would make work in this country even more attractive, particularly to Americans who already toil in the bottom rungs of the income ladder. They deserve a raise.