Mitt Romney’s position on the minimum wage has some on the right sounding the alarm about his candidacy—and it could expose a dangerous fault line between Romney and some of the Republican Party’s most reliable backers.
Romney said last week that he supports regular increases in the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position he took as a candidate for president in 2008. Six years before that, as a candidate for Massachusetts governor, Romney supported linking automatic increases in the state’s minimum wage to inflation. “I haven’t changed my thoughts on that,” he told reporters.
Indexing the minimum wage to inflation is a goal of many labor-backed groups and liberal Democrats, who say it would help millions of working people. In recent years, Republicans, backed by their allies in the business community, have opposed such efforts, arguing that raising the minimum wage would reduce employment. Some on the right have come out against the very concept of a minimum wage.
Romney’s comments have caused concern among conservatives inside and outside the party.
“It goes to show he’s still very defensive about his own wealth,” Steve Forbes, the publishing magnate who made his own bids for the presidency in 1996 and 2000, told Yahoo News. “All it does is give the base another reason to be unenthusiastic about him.”