The principal argument of business groups against minimum wage increase is the resulting effects on operating cost, which will inevitably lead to an eventual lack of competitiveness - primarily from product price increases to absorb the cost of labor. This in turn may lead to reduced market shares, and in some cases, bankruptcy. In either case, this contributes to lower hiring rate or retrenchment, which will burden the nation even more through unemployment and other ancillary social net mechanisms. A case can also be made that a national minimum wage structure is a precursor to socialistic statism.
Of course, on the flip side, advocates of a national minimum wage increase point out that too often businesses hide behind the profitability argument, ignoring the fact that people must be fairly compensated for their contributions to a company, and should not be expected to sacrifice for large enterprises. Asking workers to accept lower wages is akin to asking the average worker to bear the burden of subsidizing the operating costs of big businesses. There is also the fear that businesses may engage in cartel-like behaviors to set an 'appropriate' wage structure, instead of allowing market forces to naturally determine wages through economic forces.
Federal Minimum Wage
(Legislated under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007)
$7.25 w.e.f July 24, 2009
States With Minimum Wage Equal to the Federal Government ($7.25)
States, No Minimum Wages
Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee
States, Less Than Federal Minimum Wage
States, Higher Than Federal Minimum Wage
2012 Republican Presidential Nominee
Former Governor of Massachusetts
Romney appears to have had a 180 degree turn on the issue within the space of three months. At a campaign event in New Hampshire in January, Romney was supportive of increasing the minimum wage. However, in March, Romney seems to have had a change of heart during an appearance on The Kudlow Report .
“My view has been to allow the minimum wage to rise with the CPI or with another index so that it adjusts automatically over time.”
Question: So you’d support that as president?
Romney: I already indicated that when I was governor of Massachusetts and that’s my view.
Jan 7 2012: Romney answering a question during a campaign event before the New Hampshire primary
“Larry Kudlow: All right, last one. It's an economic question. A lot of conservatives, led by The Wall Street Journal editorial page, were horrified when you said you want to index the minimum wage for inflation. And they said, `Look, that's just going to raise the minimum wage. That's going to raise the unemployment rate, especially for young people, especially for minorities. It's sort of a little bit of unfinished business.' Why do you want to raise the minimum wage? Why do you want to index it for inflation?
Mitt Romney: Well, actually, when I was governor the legislature passed a law raising the minimum wage. I vetoed it… And I said, `Look, the way to deal with the minimum wage is this. On a regular basis,' I said in the proposal I made, `every two years we should look at the minimum wage, we should look at what's happened to inflation. We should also look at the jobs level throughout the country, unemployment rate, competitive rates in other states or, in this case, other nations.' So, certainly, the level of inflation is something you should look at and you should identify what's the right way to keep America competitive…
… Yeah, so that would tell you that right now there's probably not a need to raise the minimum wage. What I can tell you is had one indexed the minimum wage back to, let's say, 1990, the minimum wage would be lower now than it actually is. Democrats make big hay of this every few years, `Oh, we're going to raise the minimum wage', and get a lot of hoopla for it. Frankly, the right way to process it is to look at the minimum wage, look at how unemployment rates are, make adjustments as time goes on based upon our need to compete, the need of the job market, and, of course, what's happened to inflation.”
Paul is against the concept of a federal minimum wage, arguing that it is yet another form of government mandate.
“John Harris: Another question from a Politico reader. Do you advocate getting rid of the minimum wage, would that create more jobs?
Ron Paul: Absolutely. It would help the poor people who need jobs. Minimum wage is a mandate. We’re against mandates so why should we have it? It would be very beneficial…
… Mandates, that what the whole society is about, that’s what we do all the time. That’s what government is - mandate, mandate, mandate. We talk so much about the Obama mandate which is very important, but what about Medicare? Isn’t that a mandate? Everything we do is mandate. So, this is why you have to look at this, the cause of liberty. We don’t need the government running our lives.”
September 7, 2011, Ronald Reagan Library: Reagan Republican Presidential Debate
"Any time government interferes with business, the result is bad for business—therefore, bad for consumers, and ultimately, bad for the people the government was trying to help. America needs jobs badly. Minimum wage laws prevent business owners from creating job opportunities."
• Vern Wuensche believes that the minimum wage should be eliminated letting the free market set rates.
• Vern Wuensche believes that the minimum wage only serves to prevent the most disadvantaged members of our society from being hired, thereby preventing them from gaining the skills necessary to improve themselves.