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Mitt Romney: Who’s Up For Annual Minimum Wage Increases?; Updated: Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Milton Friedman Weigh In

This is nothing short of appalling, via James Pethokoukis:

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney renewed his support Wednesday for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position sharply at odds with traditional GOP business allies, conservatives and the party’s senior lawmakers. ”I haven’t changed my thoughts on that,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade. …

Congress first enacted federal minimum wage legislation in 1938 and has raised it sporadically in the years since. The last increase, approved in 2007, took effect in three installments and reached $7.25 an hour for covered workers effective July 24, 2009. It has never been allowed to rise automatically, as Romney envisions.

I’ve been making the point for nearly three years that Mitt Romney is not a conservative, and have cited his decidedly liberal positions on a number of issues to make my case.  In so doing, I’ve noted his positions on cap and trade, ethanol subsidies, government health care mandates, appointing liberal judges, and man-made global warming, among others.  But I have to admit that I didn’t know he was for the minumum wage and had been for a decade.

I never suspected Multiple Choice Mitt was this economically illiterate.  Indeed he not only supports the minimum wage, but wants to index it to inflation so that it rises every year, making it progressively more difficult for those who are least employable to get that first job and acquire some marketable skills so they can move up the economic ladder. As I noted in a previous post, those whose skills don’t justify the artificial price floor will be hurt the most by this indefensible gimmick:

At the end of the day, any worker whose cost exceeds his productivity is unemployable. The main economic effect of the minimum wage is to increase the number of those low-skilled workers in this unfortunate position. Entry level workers need these low-paying entry level jobs in order to acquire the skills and experience necessary to increase their productivity. This increase in productivity allows them to eventually seek and hold higher paying jobs commensurate with the increased value they can offer potential employers. The minimum wage is a government-imposed obstacle which prevents this process from occurring. Those who have the greatest need to acquire human capital can’t do so because the economic ladder of opportunity is effectively yanked out of their reach through the unintended, but entirely predictable, consequences of bad government policy.

And where will those unfortunate workers end up?  On that safety net about which Romney spoke yesterday.  There’s no other place for them to go since the minimum wage makes it effectively illegal for employers to hire them.  And Romney thinks this is a great idea.  Indeed he has bought into what has been a pet cause of the left since they’ve been around: Indexing the minimum wage to inflation.  The teenage unemployment rate has been hovering at or near an all-time high since 2009, and if Romney has his way it will remain there in perpetuity. The high positive correlation between rising minimum wages and rising teenage unemployment rates is well known, as I discussed here and here.

And yet Romney is for indexation, thus codifying an automatic increase year after year after year. This will create a permanent underclass of unemployable workers who will be forced into dependency on the government dole…or worse.  This is nothing short of sheer idiocy, but now it’s been endorsed by the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. How can someone with demonstrable contempt for free markets be trusted to defend them? And if Republicans won’t defend free markets, who will? How did the Party sink to this level?

There’s no conceivable way to reconcile Romney’s claim that he’s a conservative with his support for indexing the minimum wage or even supporting the concept of a minumum wage. Price controls don’t work.  That said, I’m sure that Jennifer Rubin and Ann Coulter are busy writing pieces defending the minimum wage as the latest conservative idea. I can’t wait to read them. (Incidentally, just yesterday Ann Coulter p*ssed away what little remains of her conservative credibility when she wrote a piece in which she, incredibly, defended RomneyCare as a conservative program.  Mark Levin destroyed her over that tortured bit of pretzel logic here.) I digress…

Not only does this latest revelation about Mitt make it crystal clear that he’s not a conservative, but it also calls into question his alleged knowledge of economics which, his supporters claim, is why he’s uniquely qualified to rescue the country from Obamanomics. Really? Understanding that price controls like the minimum wage don’t work is Economics 101, folks.  It’s taught in every entry-level economics class under supply and demand.  How can an alleged business genius like the Mittster not understand this?  How can anyone? Since when do conservatives support price controls? I’ve listed many reasons over many months why I can never vote for Mitt, but I never suspected that the self-described "conservative businessman" lacked even a rudimentary understanding of how markets work.  I was wrong.  This now tops my list.

Speaking of Economics 101, I’ll close with this video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s Economics 101 video series, which explains in simple terms just how untenable the whole concept of the minimum wage is.

This is simple stuff.  But apparently far too complex for the Mittster to grasp. Back in 2009 I took a longer, more technical look at the minimum wage.  Go here to read it then come back and try to explain how this nonsense is consistent with free markets.  There are some out there who have been on the fence about whether or not to vote for Romney.  I’m guessing this latest news will push at least some of them off that fence.

This, in my opinion, is the biggest reason to oppose Romney I’ve yet seen.  Even bigger than RomneyCare, which was enough to push me off the aforementioned fence a long time ago.  The Republican candidate is supposed to oppose nutty liberal ideas like minimum wage indexation and government mandates.  Romney supports them. Are there any Mitt-heads out there, any at all, willing to defend this absurdity? If so, state your case.  I’m all ears. If I were one of the non-Mitt candidates searching for a new line of attack, I’d start here and pound it home.

Exit Question: How much more of this kind of stuff has to be revealed before Republicans come to terms with the fact that Mitt is not a conservative?

Update: Via The Right Scoop, here’s Rush Limbaugh discussing Romney’s minimum wage nonsense on his radio show today.  Click the image below to listen:

Update II: Great stuff. Mark Levin goes ballistic on Romney’s inability to understand basic capitalism.  Click the image below to listen, courtesy of The Right Scoop:

Update III: In Mark Levin’s commentary above, he references Milton Friedman’s analysis of the minumum wage. This is from the 1970s but, contrary to Mitt Romney’s opinion, the laws of supply and demand haven’t been repealed in the interim. Enjoy:

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  • pipam12

    used car salesman

  • Jack_Franklin

    Excellent post, Doug!  There is one group that would benefit from the downside of an adjusted minimum wage… Occupy, because they don’t want to work anyway. 

    Gov Palin is VERY WISE in pushing to continue the vetting process.  Day by day, Romney and the GOPE are peeling off layers, exposing their genuine liberal, elitist core.

    Assuming that Romney eventually tanks, and the Obama team to pound everyone else in the race (they’ll get around to Santorum), seriously, who the hell is left that is not bludgeoned before the general election even starts?  Sarah Palin has had to consider this.  SO, the million $ question is, who takes on Obama with any hope of winning?  If everything collapses, is there room for the proverbial miracle, against all odds?

    • Leroy Whitby

      It’s true about the establishment showing itself. Good point. I’ve been shocked. I didn’t see the nuts and bolts of it in 2008 like I do today, with the stalking horses, the "conservative" media, the money, the biased debates, the sock puppets and trolls, the undermining of rivals across years, the smears and attacks, the contempt for the conservative base, the manipulation of the base with planted and false stories, and the GOP establishment mouthpieces willingness to be transparently hypocritical and to make any argument that is self-serving regardless of intelligence or truth.

      • Jack_Franklin

        Reminds me of the most memorable scene from the Wizard of Oz, as it took a spunky little dog to pull the current back while the Great and Almighty Wizard, through his "media", made the other characters shake in their boots: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

        Lot’s of parallels here, you think?

  • virginiagentleman1

    Is it bad form to hope Romney chokes on his own foot? 

    • Jack_Franklin

       Only if he has his shoes on.

    • Guest


  • Yankee4Palin

    California minimum wage is $8.00 an hr.

    The cost of living in Calif. and in San Diego , that $8.00 an hr. is like earning $2.25 an hour.

  • Rich

    Obviously, Mutt is an economics 101 dropout, a fraud, or a moronic liberal…

    All of these are unacceptable for a presidential candidate!

    • freeperjim

      Mutt is a leftwing socialist.

    • Betsey_Ross

      So, it is Mittens that Sarah wants vetted.  And with good reason.  He isn’t one of us at all.  It’s difficult to call him a Republican.  Kind of like trying to figure out what The Donald is.  If you can’t figure them out, it’s because they don’t want you to know how they really think. 

      Mittens has been hanging back in the race rasing money and developing a ground game.  He really hasn’t stated what he believes and how he would govern.  He tried to pawn Romneycare on his Liberal governing body.  The more we find out, the more it becomes clear that it’s too difficult to even put him in the Republican Party.

  • Timothy Jacques

    I like the editorial cartoon of Romney riding a jackass!!!

  • nkthgreek

    Of course Mitt’s conservative (hairstyle-yes, politics-no). 

  • Pete Petretich

    What if this whole Presidential election turns on the issue of the minimum wage? Would that be good or bad for our side?

    • c4pfan

      BAD either way!  We have lib ideas being propped up by the  GOP nominee?  Why even have an election?

      • alien4palin

        It has always been all shows and no substance what so ever. 

  • Hyman Roth


    Just another weakling with a nerdy name that liberal bullies love to pick on.

  • AmsterdamExpat

    Doug (delete this post once you see it), there’s a small typo in this sentence: "That said, I’m sure that Jennifer Rubin and Ann Coulter are busy writing pieces defending the minimum age as the latest conservative idea."

    • DougBrady


  • socon

    Romney himself has said he’s a progressive.  I don’t know why people keep trying to claim this liberal clown is a conservative.  It’s absolutely infuriating.

    This election is theater of the absurd.

    • c4pfan

      He has?  I thought that was Newt who said he’s progressive?

      Doesn’t matter as now the nation is not talking about reforming the system, but minimum wage increases and providing some gov programs for the ‘middle class’. I guess that means tax increases to pay for those stupid programs.

      • Hyman Roth

        Amazing that the national GOP decided to become just like the California GOP immediately after a huge CONSERVATIVE electoral win.  Absolutely amazing.

        Oh well.  I hope they’re happy with being a permanent minority party, which is what Republicans are in California.  THIRD WORLD STATUS, HERE WE COME!  WOO HOO!!!

      • Kino24

        Yes, Romney said it in the 90s with emphasis, to assure the Massachusetts voters that he was not like those other conservative Republicans who worshiped Reagan, loved tax cuts & guns, and hate a "women’s right to choose." 

        Gingrich has always said he was conservative, but Beck has accused him of being a progressive because Newt said he admired a couple of progressive Presidents and has come up with wild ideas that use the Government’s power to push the private sector to solve problems.  That’s makes him an egotist and wrong, but not progressive. 

        Reagan said many times how much he admired FDR, and he instituted Gov’t funded abortion and started withholding in CA, so I guess in Beck’s mind, Reagan was a progressive, too.  I like Glenn, but he went a little off the rails here.  Labeling everyone you disagree with a progressive minimizes the charge against those it truly applies to, just like misapplying the term racist has shielded true racists. 

        Gingrich is a conservative with flaws, nothing more, nothing less.  Some think his flaws are disqualifying, others feel they can be overcome by the positives that Newt brings.  Either way, he’s still a conservative.

        • socon

          The difference is Reagan and Gingrich governed as conservatives and Mitt governed as a progressive.

      • socon

        Romney said his views were ‘progressive’ when he was running for governor of Mass. in 2002.  He also disavowed Ronald Reagan.

        Of course he’s changed his tune now that he wants conservatives’ votes.
        For slimy politicians Romney’s a particularly slimy politician.

  • Laddie_Blah_Blah

    "Incidentally, just yesterday Ann Coulter p*ssed away what little remains of her conservative credibility when she wrote a piece in which she, incredibly, defended RomneyCare as a conservative program.

    …How much more of this kind of stuff has to be revealed before Republicans come to terms with the fact that Mitt is not a conservative?"

    It’s very simple. Ann and Mitt are both conservative and liberal.

    "Left hand, right hand, it doesn’t matter. I am amphibious." – Charles Shackleford

    Ann and Mitt are amphibians, too. Once you understand that, everything they say begins to make sense.

    • Leroy Whitby

      Coulter’s column yesterday is inexplicable. She’s crossed some sort of Rubicon.

      • Laddie_Blah_Blah

        "Vivian Jaffe: Have you ever transcended space and time?

        Albert Markovski: Yes. No. Uh…time, not space. No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Albert Markovski: The interconnection thing is definitely for real.

        Tommy Corn: It is! I didn’t think it wasn’t! It is!

        Albert Markovski: I know, I can’t believe it, it’s so fantastic!

        Tommy Corn: It’s amazing!

        Albert Markovski: I know.

        Tommy Corn: But it’s also nothing special"

        – from "I (heart) Huckabees."

        See? If we can just transcend space and time, we can see the interconnection thingie, if we look at it from an amphibious point of view.

        • Leroy Whitby

          Mmmmmmm. I need that explained to me. Sorry to take the fun and the wit out of it!

      • Betsey_Ross

        More like the River Styx.

        • Leroy Whitby


    • alien4palin

      A. Coulter and the likes are chameleons. Only loyalty is for the $$$ and Egos!!!

  • onparade

    romney has two positions on every issue and he is getting the tea PARTY BEHIND HIM ….wow…

    • Leroy Whitby

      Behind him is right. He’ll go with the "move to the center" that the lib media always pushes. Then in office he’ll move to the left as is the tradition by the Bush/Romney types.

      • alien4palin

        They are 2 sides of the same coin. No matter which way you flip it, makes zero difference.
        It’s a catch 22!!!

  • Joe Durnavich

    I’m liking this Romney fellow less and less every day.

  • onparade

    greta has put out the latest ad by newt and so far it is the best i have seen….from the lips of romney and soros…

  • colliemum

    Minimum wage – ‘strengthened’ safety net: go right ahead, the progs will love it.

    Before you do, have a look at how this works in the UK, where the properly conservative Minister for welfare has just now been proposing a cap on what ‘the poor’ can get from the state, that is us tax payers. 
    In plain numbers, such welfare recipients ‘earn’ more from us than a working family, and capping that sum at £24,000.00 is still above the median wage, because – surprise surprise – people who work pay taxes. 
    So in order to be ‘kind’ to ‘the poor’, we have families who haven’t worked for three generations; we have a ‘welfare’ budget which is much bigger than that for education and defence, we have a situation where people who work are worse off than benefit recipients – and we have a situation where pensioners who pay taxes on their small, fixed incomes are supporting what can best be called lay-abouts.

    So do go ahead, Romney, and raise the minimum wage so that people can’t get jobs because those jobs are going off-shore, and strengthen that safety net so that those who don’t want to work are better off than those who work and pay taxes. 

    • Leroy Whitby

      Are you from the UK colliemum?

      And this minimum wage proposal from Romney absolutely underscores that 1) Romney will not succeed as a President 2) Romney will not reverse the course of the country 3) Romney is a liberal

      • colliemum

        Indeed I am!

        That’s why I have experience, if I may say so, in living under socialist regimes, especially the one from 1997 to 2010, and conservative governments, the stellar one of course being the time when Mrs, now Baroness, Thatcher was in power, scaring the living daylights out of the left here and in the EU.

        • Leroy Whitby

          Well, you know that Thatcher was an inspiration to American conservatives as well. For me, Thatcher in my mind serves as an example that like the old Soviet mythology of never being able to turn back socialist advances (once a nation was communist, always communist) . . . the perception that past a tipping point there is no return to freedom is false. We’ve got to learn that lesson, especially if our system is so manipulated that we re-elect Obama.

          Thatcher’s "problem" was much the same as Reagan’s. There was no politically worthy successor to continue the movement when the initial force of their personalities ebbed.

          The UK has continued its slide towards tyranny sadly, after Thatcher, just as we have after Reagan. BUT, one day, we will learn as conservatives that this is a ruthless LONG TERM battle against the left, and fight it as such, rather than the spasmodic efforts, perhaps.

  • 4rcane

    romney is going to finish off America with his socialist policies and the media/democrats will be attacking capitalism for all the problem

  • Guest

    Right on Mark !!!!!……………Palin/Levin…2012!!!

  • misterlogic0013

     Wow this proves Romney is a better reader of a teleprompter than OB. Big error. The number one job killer. I wonder how Karl Rove and the boys are doing this morning..? Romney will self destruct, give him a few more weeks.
      Romney will say what he thinks you want to hear depending where he is. Sound familiar ? Florida was his high point, from here on out, its all downhill, and fast..
     You can take Romney out of liberal Mass. but you can’t take liberal Mass. out of Romney..Wow..

  • Audrey_I

    A high minimum wage discourages employment.  Young Blacks and teenagers will be hurt the most.   A high minimum wage will augment the dependency class.  Obama’s has made increasing the dependency class an important point of his presidency.  This is why Newt Gingrich has called Obama the Food Stamp President. 

    It seems that Mitt Romney wants to follows in Obama’s footsteps.  George Soros say that there is not a dime worth of difference between Obama and Mitt Romney.  

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