Battling for a higher minimum wage would test the Republicans’ newfound love for the salt of the earth. Are they willing to embrace an idea endorsed by seven in 10 Americans? Or do they retreat to Romney’s rhetoric privileging “job creators” over workers?
Raising the minimum wage would also respond to a claim being put forward by opponents of immigration reform. “The last thing low-skilled native and immigrant workers already here should have to deal with is wage-depressing competition from newly arriving workers,” wrote William Kristol and Rich Lowry in a joint editorial this week signaling an enhanced level of opposition on the right to the Senate immigration bill.
It’s heartwarming to know that the editors of the Weekly Standard and National Review are now worried about depressed wages. In truth, granting immigrants who are here illegally basic labor rights would have a positive effect on wages for all workers. But if Kristol and Lowry are really worried about low-paid workers, let their next literary collaboration be an endorsement of a $9 or $10 hourly minimum wage.