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4 Surprising Supporters of a Minimum Wage Increase

4 Surprising Supporters of a Minimum Wage Increase

Although more than 75 percent of Americans currently support raising the federal minimum wage, the main obstacle preventing the idea from becoming a reality is the Republican stronghold on the House of Representatives. Unexpectedly, though, some notable conservatives have broken ranks to voice their support for paying America’s lowest paid laborers a fairer rate. Here are four of the surprises:


1. Mitt Romney

The former Republican presidential nominee and well-known rich man contradicted expectations Friday when he declared, “I part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it.”¯ For Romney, it’s not just about it helping average Americans, it’s a winning strategy for his party. He expressed that he hopes the GOP can win back black and Hispanic voters by showing that Republicans are “all about more jobs and better pay.”

Notably, Romney had previously expressed support for an augmented minimum wage… until 2012 when he faced other conservatives in the Republican primaries and caved to pressure to take the party line. His renewed endorsement for a raised minimum wage was accompanied by an announcement that he will not run for president again next term. Clearly it’s easier to say how you really feel when you’re not a politician running for the highest office.


2. Frank DeLuca

While most fast food heads are fighting a minimum wage increase tooth and nail, DeLuca, Subway’s cofounder and CEO, is unpredictably relaxed about the issue. As he explains, he’s already seen the minimum wage go up numerous times throughout his career, so he’s not fazed by it. He considers it acceptable from a business perspective, since the wage rate also applies to his competitors equally. Although you may want to take his words with a grain of salt, given Subway’s frequent wage theft.

“If I were in charge of the government, I would index the minimum wage to inflation so that way everybody knows what they can count on,” DeLuca said. “The employees know they’re going to get increases on a regular basis. The management knows that they’re going to have to pay a little bit more with inflation. It seems much more sensible and fair to me.”


3. Ron Unz

As rare as it is for a conservative to support a minimum wage increase, it’s perhaps even rarer still to see a libertarian endorse government regulation on the free market. Nonetheless, Unz, a software tycoon and prominent libertarian, has taken that unlikely stance, stating, “There are so many very low-wage workers, and we pay for huge social welfare programs for them. Doesn’t it make more sense for employers to pay their workers than the government?”

He also believes that an increase in minimum wage will help tackle illegal immigration, asserting that more Americans would take the jobs people cross the border to perform if they paid better. Unz supports the cause so fully that he even attempted to lead the charge to get a minimum wage increase on the California ballot this year.


4. Rick Santorum

Despite his party’s overwhelming rejection of a minimum wage increase, former presidential hopeful Santorum believes it is time to see a wage hike for the lowest paid workers. Santorum subscribes to the theory that 7 percent of American laborers should receive the minimum rate; currently, only 2 percent receive the lowest wage, leaving them substantially disadvantaged in the modern economy. As such, he feels hiking the minimum wage will make the system a bit more equitable.

“Let’s not make this argument that we’re for the blue-collar guy, but we are against any minimum wage increase ever. It makes no sense,”¯ Santorum said in a rare moment of clarity.

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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore and Facebook

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6:17AM PST on Jan 16, 2015

The only people supporting artificial minimum wage laws are those that do not understand economics. There are better ways to raise the standard of living.

"A Nonprofit Restaurant Falls to the Minimum Wage
Michigan’s jump to $8.15 an hour ended Tastes of Life—and the help it offered to those in need."

10:02AM PDT on May 31, 2014

Thanks for posting.

10:01AM PDT on May 31, 2014

Don't know the other two, but Little Ricky and Romney surprise me.

10:43AM PDT on May 22, 2014

Thanks for posting.

10:43AM PDT on May 22, 2014

Good article.

4:04PM PDT on May 16, 2014

I won't pretend that legislators honestly care about our nation's workers.
They are simply, smart enough to see the trees for the forest.

1:22PM PDT on May 14, 2014


12:37PM PDT on May 14, 2014

I'm not that surprised about any of these because none of them are going to stand in front of the Koch-suckers in the Republican/Tea Party base and ask for a vote ever or ever again. Romney seems to think he's Dick Nixon all over again and Rick Santorum thinks he's Potter Stewart.

11:55AM PDT on May 14, 2014

Thanks for sharing

10:41AM PDT on May 14, 2014

Businesses don't really care how workers make ends meet an only need workers who are grateful for steady employment and have no ambition to be more than they are. The reality of the world is that the 1% feel that most are born in to the working lives that they deserve which is servitude to their betters with infrequent exceptions.

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