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. Woody's Hay

    Some guy on facebook was saying "Obamacare" caused his employer to cut his pay in half. I posted that, according to the anti-minimum wage crowd, that meant that he did really badly at his job (I was shocked he wasn't fired outright). If he was doing a great job, he would get a raise (well, according to the RWers) instead of a PAY CUT!

    He called me a rude name, rather than acknowledge that I was right.

    May 9, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. just asking

    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.

    or alternatively, they can reduce jobs to make up for the added cost of labor. increasing their product costs will lower demand for their product and sales. if they could have raised prices, don't you think they would have already?

    democrats are total fools to think this will not cost 500,000 – 1,000,000 million jobs, just as the cbo predicts. but just as with obmaacre, facts and numbers don't matter tto them. it is all about the ideology. it is the same ideology that has kept europe stagnant, and now they want to bring it here.

    May 9, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. PDXDave

    Good gosh, is he thinking about running again? Surely that's the only reason a GOP would advocate anything in favor of the working American?

    May 9, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Pat Henry

    Romney remains a RINO.

    May 9, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. mmmb

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

    Horribly flawed analysis. Where did you study economics? That 75% of the cost base that is not restaurant labor costs includes a lot of products and services which have embedded labor costs, at least some of it at minimum wage. That includes the folks who deliver supplies to the restaurant, the folks working in the meat factories producing the hamburger, the farm hands picking the tomatoes, etc.

    But we should still raise the minimum wage.

    May 9, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. AJ

    less then $10 is INSANE

    May 9, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Dale b

    Actually, there is an easy solution to the inevitable inflation attempt; as the executive branch has done before for fuel and food, issue an executive freeze on retail prices. Because the simple truth is that most of the claims of miniscule profit margins are, to put it politely, bogus. The numbers are twisted with nonsense and future purchases to mask the actual take. Make it impossible for retailers to legally raise their prices and see what happens. Most businesses are running with minimal staff these days; if they are so fragile, then good riddance to a disaster waiting to happen. However, I strongly suspect that there would be sudden appearances of magical amounts of funding to keep the businesses going, as those hoarded amounts -had- to be tapped. The powers that be may not really understand, but we have already blown through the wage and wealth drop that triggered the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. I don't believe in threesy's. The next time the economy actually tanks will likely be that last time.

    May 9, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Robert constant

    This from the guy who showed the venture capitalists how to ship good American jobs abroad!

    May 9, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    I disagree. Not that we need to do something but I think a better approach is via the EITC. Romney's kids, as an example, should have no problem with $7/hr being a 'living' wage. (Of course they're actually living on daddy's fortune.) My kids do have a problem living on that-but why raise all wages, which benefits Romney's kids, just to benefit my kids. Change the EITC & my kids can benefit while Romney's (presumably) don't.

    May 9, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Craig

    Given the track record of the House, it's hard to read Rmoney saying "our party is all about jobs." It's the most blatant lie since somebody first claimed the world was flat. The proof is in the doing, and the GOP has pointedly done NOTHING about jobs. In fact, they haven't even done their own jobs either, providing nothing of substance for the American People ever since "that Black Guy in the White House" was elected and re-elected. They've publicly made a point of doing nothing...and they're darn good at it.

    May 9, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Claude

    Even Mitt Romney can't be wrong ALL the time. After all, when he was governor of Massachusetts, he did invent the health care system now denigrated by the GOP as "Obamacare."

    May 9, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. okiejoe

    If raising the minimum wage causes prices to be increased what is the effect of all the regular wage raises all the other workers get. That is really an argument for freezing everybody's wages, is that what you want?

    May 9, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. rs


    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.
    Explain why in cities and counties that have established even higher minimum wages that what you're describing hasn't happened?

    May 9, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Sniffit


    Your psychological projection is ridiculous. The only reason the middle-class even came into existence and grew was because of labor laws like the minimum wage, child labor laws, overtime laws, OSHA and unionization to help employees negotiate and bargain with their employers on a more level playing field in terms of power. It's not deniable. The country didn't really even have a middle-class before those laws.

    May 9, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Bill from GA

    radar8 – " ...So in this case, a $1 McDouble will cost $1.03 . Oh, the horror. Three extra cents. "

    Not to single out one comment; many reflect the same simplicity.

    First, if the beginning, unskilled worker gets $10.10, the current worker making $10 will be getting $12 or $15. And on and on, up the ladder to the head office, where $100,000 is now $140,000.

    Second, the people creating the product sold, the building for selling product, the cop protecting the building, maintenance, insurance, accounting, etc., will all have similar increases in business costs. Truck drivers, utility workers, on and on.

    Your $.03 increase looks more like stupidity to me.

    May 9, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Kathy, AZ

    --- I usually don't agree with Romney on anything, but good for him for breaking from his party's line & speaking up in favor of raising the minimum wage.

    May 9, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Confused

    I have a serious concern about raising the minimum wage. Surely, it's unwarranted paranoia, but it's real, nonetheless. Can someone explain to me how raising the minimum wage has a positive effect on the middle class? Because, as I see it, I feel like it would have a negative effect on the middle class while not really effecting those 'minimum wage earners' hardly at all.

    May 9, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "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."

    Hey, genius, the bill raised the minimum wage incrementally to $10.10 over 3 years. It wasn't all at once. Your argument clearly highlights that you don't even know what you're talking about.

    May 9, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. anthony castillo

    How can 900,000 workers accept a pay raise, knowing it's going to cost 500,000 other workers their job??

    May 9, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Whereisthemiddle?

    I would say I'm surprised but I'm not. When not pandering to the extremes politicians often have opinions that make sense. A successful business man is a good choice for an opinion on the min wage. Too bad his comments will be treated with disdain, disappointment and disregard.

    May 9, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. Ramil

    I support minimum raise if I am in that job but If I am making above say 60000, I dont support minimum wage. I also support minimum wage sometimes, but if I am running for office and need to please some crazy folks then I dont support it. But I may actually support it after I win the office,. Or I may not support it – It actually depends.. Not very easy... Oh well.. We miss him

    May 9, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Bill from GA

    To be effective, a minimum wage of $10.10 would be meaningless in NYC, Boston, San Francisco, etc.

    However, $10.10 per hour in, say, Alma, Georgia or some other rural small town, would be backbreaking to business. Minimum wage jobs are not meant to support a family. Get some skills; be responsible.

    The Federal Government needs to leave it alone.

    May 9, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. imo

    Sure, I'd like to see higher wages, but what's going to stop the privately owned companies from doing a layoff if this goes through?

    May 9, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Gilbert_Montemayor

    It does not matter what the majority of Americans think. So long as the GOP is controlled by the coke brothers.

    May 9, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Kevin

    It wont matter in the long run. Even if the wage is increased, the cost of goods, and services will go up to cover the offset. In just a couple of years, we will be right back where we started...

    May 9, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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