Romney on minimum wage: 'We ought to raise it'
May 9th, 2014
10:05 AM ET
9 years ago

Romney on minimum wage: 'We ought to raise it'

Washington (CNN) - In a break with many in the Republican Party, Mitt Romney says he backs a move to raise the minimum wage.

"I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage," the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said Friday morning.

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"I think we ought to raise it, because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us," Romney added in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

These Republicans want to raise the minimum wage

Romney's comments come a week after a bill pushed by Senate Democrats to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass. Only one Senate Republican voted for the measure.

In recent days, two opponents of Romney during the last race for the GOP presidential nomination, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who's also considering another White House bid in 2016, both supported some kind of minimum wage increase.

Romney's growing influential role as Republican party elder

Democrats are using the issue of raising the minimum wage, and the opposition from most Republicans, as part of their income equality push as they campaign in this year's midterm elections.

Complete coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Obama: Democrats 'don't vote' in midterms

Romney was open to a minimum wage hike when he served as Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007 and when he first ran for president, in the 2008 campaign. In 2011 and early 2012, during his second White House run, Romney also supported a wage hike, but he changed his stance a few months later, saying in an interview on CNBC that "there's probably not a need to raise the minimum wage."

The most recent polls on the issue indicate a strong majority of Americans supporting raising the minimum wage, with Republicans mostly divided on the issue.

GOP lawmakers point to a recent Congressional Budget Office report that found the wage hike could lift 900,000 people out of poverty but also lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs. A recent poll from Bloomberg indicated that a majority of Americans found that trade-off unacceptable.

Not running again

Romney once again shot down any suggestions that he has a third run for the White House in the works.

"I’m not running for president in 2016," he clearly stated, adding with a smile that "I think our best prospects of getting back the White House are with someone who has not run twice before as I have."

Romney gave a similar answer during a CNN interview in February with the Situation Room's Wolf Blitzer.

Filed under: Minimum wage • Mitt Romney
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. asokh

    Won't help. You have to do something to combat inflation at the same time otherwise all that'll happen is money will be worth less.

    May 9, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. TruthandConsequence

    Have we all forgotten the simple fact that increased wages always mean increased prices to consumers? At $10 an hour, we will still only be buying a big mac as we did at $7 an hour and as we did for $5 when the minimum wage was $5 an hour. wage increases are inherently inflationary and decrease American competitiveness in the world market while doing little to improve our cost of living.

    May 9, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Truth

    Please wake up people, stop listening to the lies and mind games spit out by our corrupt politicians. Nothing will solve all of our nations economic issues until the control of the money supply is out of the Fed's hands and our people are no longer slaves to politicians and bankers.

    May 9, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Oh Lynda girl yes you are on a roll today!!!

    May 9, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. chris8

    Romney knows that people will spend more money if they have it, which will increase demand, and spur the economy – it's a point that's usually missed by money grubbers... think of it as profit sharing (profit goes to the workers instead of CEOs). HOWEVER – if fast food joints have to pay labor more, the price of burgers etc will also go up. And minimum wage is high enough for slackers who only show up for a work long enough to get a couple paychecks and then split... there should be a "probation period" before giving people a hike from $7.50 to $10/hr – it costs money to train people and too many either quit or can't do the job.

    May 9, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. loco motion

    Why replace wait staff, that prick successfully lobbied to have the customer pay their wages, yes we subsidies the food industry.

    May 9, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Ken

    TXsportsman2012 – All I can say is WOW to your vast political insights. So, because Romney doesn't agree with his party and has the balls to express his different views it means the entire party can't agree? I actually love the fact that as an individual he has the ability to think and openly express his beliefs to the nation. Unfortunately your party of Donkeys don't have that freedom and are spoon fed what they are to believe and what they are allowed to think.

    May 9, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. stupidity

    I'm with "truthandconsequence" on this. Your dollar menu McDouble will become the 1.29 McDouble. There cannot be an increases in wages without either an increase in prices or a decrease in profits, and I don't see companies willing taking a decrease in profits well so that leaves one course of action... and we wonder why the manufacturing jobs left America (PROFITS/LOWER COSTS)

    May 9, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Debbie D. Dallas

    "GOP lawmakers point to a recent Congressional Budget Office report that found the wage hike could lift 900,000 people out of poverty but also lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs."

    ..........How many of those 900,000 would STILL be getting at least some gov't. assistance? Looks like an additional 500,000 will need full welfare assistance that didn't before.

    May 9, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. asdrel

    " a bill pushed by Senate Democrats to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass."

    I think that our legislative system is broken if a minority of 41 can block passage of a bill. There are 100 Senators; it should only take 51 to pass any bill other than those that the Constitution specifically requires otherwise. The power of the filibuster has been repeatedly abused. Recently the Republican Senators have abused it but if they become the majority party than I have little doubt that the Democratic Senators will do the same. In both cases true representative democracy is not served by these strategies.

    May 9, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Scott

    I disagree with Mitt on this one and I'm Conservative. We have been raising the minimum wage in this country for over 50 years and it has never solved the problem of poverty. Eventually the cost of living goes up as every businesses raises their prices to meet with their profit margin cuts after a wage increase. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office Report has said, if minimum wage increases to $10.10 an hour, there will be job losses of 500,000 or more.

    May 9, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. truth hurts but reality bites

    Total government control of wages and prices is the answer right lefties? Just like healthcare? I mean after all, the current system has only produced the greatest country ever known to man. Why on earth would we want to continue that when government and a few politicians can do so much better?

    May 9, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Alex

    The Democrars are misrepresenting the Republican stance on this issue. Just because they blocked a bill to raise the minimum wage over 50% does not mean they don't support a gradual increase in the minimum wage. In fact, I'd say most republicans would support a minimum wage that would be indexed with inflation or one that would be increased gradually. That's what Romney and the Republicans are saying. Raising the minimum wage by almost 50% overnight is an arbitrary measure to please voters. This measure, in our stale economy, most certainly would have unintended consequences (500,000 jobs according to the CBO). Our country needs to be see through this political maneuver. It's a political ploy by the democrats. The minimum wage should not be decided by politicians. Four dollars an hour will not appear out of thin air because Congress says so!

    May 9, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. empathy4us

    Of course, the CBO report did not say raising the minimum wage would result in 500K job losses. What it did say is that it could lead to no losses or up to 1M losses. So, they took the mid-point with the understanding that there was just as much likelihood, statistically, that it would result in no job losses. Too bad CNN can't report the facts appropriately as it just adds to the misinformation. Shameful journalism and I hope we will see a correction to this story.

    May 9, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC


    What Romney has said doesn't make any sense at all. If he is serious and really mean that the minimum wage should be raised, he doesn't need to go to any Morning Shows and talk there. He needs to pick up the phone and talk directly to his fellow republicans. Convince them, and make sure that they are convinced. What is talking now has ended to the deep water or in the air and doesn't make any sense.
    Actually, what Mitt Romney said makes a whole LOT of sense, and is consistent with how Republicans operate, which is say one thing and do another. Because of his 2012 nomination, Romney is arguably the leader of the Republican Party, or at least the public face of it.

    Remember, Republicans are against raising the minimum wage. They all voted against it. So they put their public face out their to declare support for it, someone who has no future elections left to lose. The votes of Republicans in the Congress completely contradict what Romney says. I'm betting that you're not going to see anymore sound bites of elected Republicans speaking against the minimum wage, too. They know it is a loser, so they've changed course to a policy of "say one thing, but do another."

    Don't be fooled. Republican machinations have always had wheels spinning within wheels, frequently for many, many years.

    May 9, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. Kile

    Raising minimum wage will cost jobs, not create them. I always knew he was no Republican.

    May 9, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Nodack

    He agreed with Obama on a topic? He will never again be welcome to any Republican events.

    May 9, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Oh Lynda girl yes you are on a roll today!!!
    Today? She's been on a roll all week long.

    May 9, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Tony D

    It is far better to drag everybody down to a lower level. Why should some people have more than others? It is just not fair. It should be the role of government to enforce one living standard for all of us.

    May 9, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Say What

    The argument that raising the minimum wage won't necessarily have a positive net effect is somewhat reasonable but does nothing to address the problem that most of our wealth is in the hands of the few who don't want to share "their" wealth. Mitt Romney is one good example of the few. He is running for president; it would seem. It improves my opinion of him that he would express some empathy for the 47 percent of worthless losers who lost him the last election. But very little.

    May 9, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. john

    With inflation wages should be about 50 dollars an hour to make it. A living that is

    May 9, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. GNP

    Why mess around w/ $10.10/hr? Lets get it over with and make it $110.10hr! Then we all can be rich! No more welfare because 99% of the population will work for $110.10/ hr. It will also solve our drug problem....making minimum wage jobs much more attractive than running drugs and it will be legal.

    May 9, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Jerry

    Think about it if the minimum wage was raised and people earned more they would have more to spend. This would help out the economy and allow business to do better.

    May 9, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. jejedurango

    It is indefensible to hold minimum wage to 7,25 an hour in 2014... What kind of a heartless human being would fight it to keep it?

    May 9, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. NIckAnast

    "HOWEVER – if fast food joints have to pay labor more, the price of burgers etc will also go up. "

    That study has already been done. If McDonald's doubled the salaries of ALL of its employees - including executives - it would need to raise the price of a Big Mac by 63 cents to cover the added expense.

    May 9, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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