In its new national poll, the Pew Research Center asked about President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour. The results weren’t close.
I put together this chart showing the public breakdown, and the fact that Americans, by a nearly three-to-one margin, endorse the White House’s proposal.
Not surprisingly, there are significant partisan differences, but a minimum-wage increase enjoys majority support regardless of party – 87% of Democrats, 68% of independents, and even 50% of Republicans.
In Congress, GOP leaders have already rejected Obama’s proposal out of hand. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) condemned the idea within 10 hours of the president’s State of the Union address, and a day later, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the minimum wage shouldn’t exist at all.
I should also note that there are alternatives to a minimum-wage increase, and some are quite credible.
Democrats support a new $9 wage as a way of improving the economic fortunes of struggling workers, which Dems hope will also have a broader economic benefit – once these workers have more money in their pockets, they’ll be more likely to spend it, pumping additional capital into the economy and generating more demand.
But as Matt Yglesias recently explained, economists have suggested related policies that strive for the same effect: expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, embracing a Guaranteed Basic Income, increasing the refundable child tax credit, or even just an expansionary monetary policy.
For the record, Republican policymakers not only oppose the very popular idea of raising the minimum wage, they oppose each of the alternative policies, too. As Matt concluded, “They’re just going to offer nothing.”