A recent Gallup poll found that three-quarters of Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, support raising the federal minimum wage. For whatever reason, that message isn’t getting across to Republican lawmakers, who unanimously rejected a House proposal to increase the federal wage to $10.10 by 2016 and peg future increases to inflation.
But not everyone on the right opposes a minimum wage increase. Here are six leading conservatives, ranging from software tycoon to media pundit, who’ve recently supported minimum wage hikes.
1. Silicon Valley multimillionaire and former publisher Ron Unz
Ron Unz, who made millions writing software for the mortgage-backed securities industry and rose to political prominence opposing bilingual education, supports raising California’s minimum wage from $8 to $12 by 2016. In fact, he submitted the language for a current ballot measure that would do just that.
“There are so many very low-wage workers, and we pay for huge social welfare programs for them,” Unz told The New York Times in November. “This would save something on the order of tens of billions of dollars. Doesn’t it make more sense for employers to pay their workers than the government?”
2. Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner
(Citizens for Rauner)
It took almost a month for gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner to figure out his stance on Illinois’s minimum wage. In December, Rauner reportedly pledged in a candidate’s forum to slash the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $7.25, in line with the federal rate. But when reporters pressed him on those comments, Rauner turned a complete 180.
As of January 8, Rauner supports “raising the national minimum wage so that other states are in line with Illinois.” He would also favor raising Illinois’s minimum wage should Congress fail to pass a federal wage hike, so long as any move is “in conjunction with reforms that lower the costs on small businesses so we don’t inadvertently hurt the people we are trying to help.”
3. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly