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In the Headlines

25 January 2012

Growing Support for Minimum Wage Increase

Fortune magazine looks at the increasing support for raising the minimum wage among prominent Republicans, which represents an “unusual convergence of political views” on the issue. “When [Republican presidential candidate Mitt] Romney, [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg and [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie all favor this, it is making some headway,” Paul Sonn of the National Employment Law Project, a Ford grantee, told the magazine. Research by another grantee, the Economic Policy Institute, found that a $9.50 hourly minimum wage would generate about $60 billion for low-wage earners over a two-year period.

Published in Fortune

A New Day for the Minimum Wage?

January 24, 2012 By Elizabeth G. Olson

Debate over the minimum wage is an American political perennial but, this election season, some influential Republicans are straying from party orthodoxy and have said that they are open to raising the hourly rate.

Presidential contender Mitt Romney recently said he supported linking the minimum wage to inflation, reiterating a position he held earlier in his political career. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who is a registered Independent, but was elected to his first two mayoral terms as a Republican candidate) also urged a lift in the basic hourly pay for workers. Even New Jersey’s tough-on-labor Republican governor Chris Christie has indicated in past weeks that would not rule out a hike in his state.

In remarks on the campaign trail, Romney said that he favors allowing "the minimum wage to rise with the CPI (Consumer Price Index) or with another index so that it adjusts automatically over time." He is in rare agreement with President Obama, who supports a $9.50 minimum wage and tying it to the federal cost-of-living index.

This unusual convergence of political views has smoothed the edges of a long-running, and sometimes furious, debate over a policy that dates back to 1938 when Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, reacting to Depression-era economic turmoil, set a minimum wage to stabilize prices and wages.

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