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. billmosby

    If raising the minimum wage kills jobs, why not reduce it to increase jobs. And if reducing the minimum wage increases jobs, how about reducing wages across the board. And if that works, keep at it until people are paid next to nothing. Just think of the roaring economy we will have then.


    May 9, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. JLR

    Henry Ford was famous for nearly doubling the wages of his workers, helping to create a middle class. He wanted to pay his workers so that, "they could afford the products that they were making". That was true then, and it's true now.

    May 9, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Boston Bob

    What when you and Bain bought out Staples,offered workers minimum wage.

    May 9, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Rico Tubbs

    In an era where automation, offshoring, and illegal immigration have decimated demand for no-skill minimum wage jobs, let's raise the cost of that labor.

    May 9, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. NIckAnast


    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.
    WHO is misrepresenting the other side's stance? The bill that the GOP filibustered would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour in THREE INCREMENTS of 95 cents - first to $8.20, then to $9.15, and finally to $10.10. So you are either misinformed (from listening to GOP talking points) or just don't know what you're talking about.

    May 9, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Name

    The Republicans dont support minimum wage increase,taxing the wealthy,immigration bill,spending on defense to protect us.They are going nowhere.

    May 9, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    " I mean after all, the current system has only produced the greatest country ever known to man. "

    The "current system" included minimum wages, child labor laws, union protections, anti-trust regulation, environmental standards to protect air and water quality, food stamps, SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and a whole host of other things you're angry about, are opposed to and mindlessly yammer GOP/Teatroll talking points about. Without those things, we'd already be the banana republic the GOP/Teatrolls' plutocrat puppetmasters dream of creating.

    May 9, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. J Anthony

    @Rev: i think its you and Thomas who have no idea what you're talking about. If you had a clue how the monetary-system and the creation of currency worked, you'd know raising wages is is not a problem. This is about a inherently corrupt system.

    May 9, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. radar8

    I'm with "truthandconsequence" on this. Your dollar menu McDouble will become the 1.29 McDouble.

    Your screen name is very accurate in your case.

    You math is wrong, and here's why. 25%, on average, of a restaurant's total spending is on minimum wages. If the minimum wage goes from $8 to $10 and hour, that's a 25% increase. In fast food restaurants, about half (50%) of the money spent on employees is at the minimum wage level. So let's do the math:

    25% (total wages) * 25% (min wage increase) * 50% (% of wages that are minimum) = 3% increase

    So in this case, a $1 McDouble will cost $1.03 . Oh, the horror. Three extra cents. It's put everyone out of business.

    The GOP talking points that raising the minimum wage will cost lots of jobs is totally bogus.

    May 9, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Shari Sullivan

    How about I just file Exempt all year...and not file taxes, Dear Governement am so tired of you ALL living rish off OUR hard working Americans.......WE need to start standing and taking our County Back.....WE DONT NEED GOVERNMENT... WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE.......TO CLOSE DOWN GOVERNMENT. u all NO the government system is a Big JOKE...

    May 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    " It should be the role of government to enforce one living standard for all of us."

    Nice straw man. Nobody's saying that, nobody has said that and nobody will say that. The entire and only point is creating a baseline bare-minimum standard such that people are able to work an honest week's work and hopefully support their families, not to force everything to be equal. Your slippery slope BS is bogus, irrational nonsense.

    May 9, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. rosethornne

    "Waffle" Romney flipping again.

    May 9, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. charles

    Pay all employees $2 so that companies can make a lot of profits , the CEO's buy new private jets. The Locals will default on their debts, ..... after all the government will pitch in by passing on the cost to the rest of the population. The government will handout more EBT cards . Welfare state , good capitalism.

    May 9, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. herb666

    Romney the RINO.

    May 9, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Kenny

    One thing that disgust me is the way minimum wage is being used as a political football. No one cares about us. It is just a show. Does this raise the minimum wage for farm workers? probably not. Does it eliminate the 60 hours before overtime pay rule for farm workers? Probably not. Why do we have different rules for different kinds of workers? Isn't work work?

    May 9, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. DRJJ

    I think we should all make the same amount-in the interest of fairness and equality? Just kiidn, you get my point. I do think we should raise the National min 10-20%. $15/hr is an absolute joke however and will do deep damage to jobs-the left coast will soon find out!

    May 9, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. jt

    Raising the min wage should be phased in over time – a big hike in one or two years would only backfire as prices would rise even farther to offset the costs to companies and retailers. And who gets hurt the most when milk goes up $0.50/gal? Min wage workers with not enough income to absorb price changes. Raising it to $15/hr as some Democrats proposed would make matters even worse for the same workers.

    It might look like the Democrats care when you see that wonderfully altruistic looking number and hear their blame game talking points in the media, and that's the point – to make us think they care about us, and no one else does. But min wage jobs are really supposed to be for high school students and starter jobs, not working families. It's working families that are really being hurt by the Democrats' "economic" policies, with no remorse in sight. Republicans opposed the min wage hike because they know it will just raise prices, and hurt the people getting the marginal pay increase. It doesn't solve anything. It's just a political ploy to try and make Republicans look bad through the midterms. The real problem is creating better middle wage jobs, but no need to worry about that as long as they can keep people focused on raising the min wage.

    The Democrats pound on this and other "rally the masses" issues, all while dismantling the middle class and economic foundations where most Americans should be able to be making a livable income. The small business start up rate is down almost 30% under this administration from where it has been the past 20 years. That's a huge drop in the core of our job-creation engine – small business (the place every large corporation, like Apple, Microsoft and WalMart started). The country's ability to create and sustain jobs through small business (the largest employer traditionally) is being undermined by this administration, not helped. Small businesses will be severely hurt by the ACA in 2015 – estimates are around 90 million will lose their health care plans under the ACA changes, and most employers will opt for part time/contract workers instead of full time to avoid the significantly higher costs the ACA imposes. Only large corporations can offset the costs to some degree (with higher prices, lower salaries), and many will start dropping health care plans in favor of sending employees to the exchanges, which means a large portion of the US workforce will see a huge increase in costs (and lower incomes) as a result. See the pattern here? More corporate and government control, less individual choice and influence, higher costs and lower incomes for most everyone, except the wealthy and powerful. This is Democrat economics. Saying we need more and better jobs, and higher incomes sounds nice in speeches, but it doesn't take much effort to see who actually doesn't understand how a healthy economy works.

    Regardless of political preference, we are all Americans, and we all need to start seeing the scam for what it is. Democrats aren't for the working people, or anyone but themselves. They only stand for greed, power, opposing anything Republicans say, and blaming everyone else for their own ineptness. I own a small business, and know many other business owners, and we have all seen the impacts from both parties first hand – every single one votes Republican when they figure out who really supports better incomes, for everyone. The Republicans aren't perfect, but it's really the Democrats that create irrational, counter-productive, politically motivated policies the propagate higher corporate profits, higher costs of living, wider income gaps, and a poorer poor and middle class. Don't buy into the media hyped, bait and switch version of economics the Democrats and the media are trying to sell us.

    May 9, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Bill from GA

    " Romney on minimum wage: 'we ought to raise it' "

    See. I told you all it was a bad idea.

    May 9, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. Tracy

    By raising the minimum wage all the government is doing is causing the companies to have to raise prices on the products and services that they provide. So will raising the minimum wage help, NO. It's just going to cause prices to go up. I think the government should be focusing on how to get this country out of debate and not worry about sticking their nose in to corporate america.

    May 9, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Old Italian Man

    I would agree raising the minimum wage from its present rate only by the percent of the cost of living index, while decreasing welfare to give people the incentive to go to work. Minimum wage jobs are not career-oriented jobs; they are part-time working your way through school jobs or a placeholder until better opportunity that requires higher skill level is achieved.

    May 9, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Mammo

    I support raising minimum wage because if some one is working full time, he.she should be able to meet hteir basic needs through their eraning. This is an issue needs a real genuine dialogue between employers and employees.

    May 9, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. ART

    It wont solve the problem of poverty but it could only help, every one deserves a living wage

    May 9, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. Mammo

    I support raising minimum wages because if someone is working full time, he/she should be able to meet their basic needs through their earning. This is an issue that needs a real genuine dialogue between employers and employees.

    May 9, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    WOW. There sure are a lot of people pushing the Republican "working for peanuts" talking points today. No doubt they've each got their own well paying ... well above minimum wage ... jobs to bolster their claims.

    Who needs electric blankets on blustery cold days when conservative compassion overflows thus?

    May 9, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Mike

    At least Romney is talking some sense for a change. As the cost of living has increased for nearly 2 decades wages remained the same and an artificially propped up housing market literally brought the World to it's knees... you would think corporations should be held accountable to pay their employees a living wage.

    May 9, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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