Appearing Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum reiterated his support for hiking the federal minimum wage. He explained that Republican opposition to mandating a wage increase alienated the GOP from working-class Americans. His is the latest national Republican voice calling on the party to support a mandated wage hike.
In recent weeks, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney have both voiced support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. “I think we ought to raise it, because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay,” Romney said in an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “[A]nd I think communicating that is important to us.”
Around 58% of workers in this country are paid hourly wages. Of these, just 4.7%, our around 3 million people earn the federal minimum wage. According to the BLS, about half of these workers are under 25. Those without a high school diploma are twice as likely to earn minimum wage as those who graduated. Part-time workers are 5 times more likely to earn minimum wage than full-time employees. Within one year of working, two-thirds of minimum wage employees earn a raise, as they gain skill and experience.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that President Obama’s proposal to hike the mandate wage to $10.10 an hour would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs.