Throughout most of his campaign, Donald Trump has stood by the conservative opinion that the minimum wage should not be raised. The billionaire seems to have changed his mind, however, telling Bill O’Reilly last Tuesday that he would push the minimum wage to $10 an hour. His abrupt change of mind has advisors and supporters confused.
This is what Trump told Fox News in November:
“We are a country that is being beaten on every front: economically, militarily, there is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high…wages too high. We’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it [minimum wage] the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and they have to get into that upper strata.”
And this is what he said to Bill O’Reilly last week:
“There doesn’t have to be [a minimum wage]. I would leave it and raise it somewhat. You need to help people. I know it’s not a very Republican thing to say.”
When pressed for an exact number, Trump said, “I would say $10. But with the understanding that somebody like me is going to bring back jobs. I don’t want people to be in that $10 category very long.” He went on to explain that each state should “call the shots” based on the standard of living in that state.
“Bernie Sanders lied,” continued Trump. “Bernie Sanders said in his speech the other day that Donald Trump wants the minimum wage to go below $7. I said ‘where did he come up with that one?’”
“Trump’s latest position puts him at odds with conservative thinkers and most of the business community, which argues that a government-mandated wage hike would just mean fewer workers as businesses cut costs to meet the new requirement,” writes The Hill’s Pete Schroeder.
Even the nominee’s own advisors were surprised by Trump’s endorsement of the $10 standard. “I saw the statement that he made on TV, but I haven’t had the chance to talk to him in the last couple weeks about this,” said economist Stephen Moore. “I don’t know exactly what he was endorsing. The $10 minimum wage, that was the first I’d heart of that…sometimes he says one thing, and sometimes he says another about this, so I’m not exactly sure where he’s at on this.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed expertise when it comes to jobs and the economy – areas in which minimum wage is a central issue. His endorsement of the $10 minimum wage is shocking to say the least, and many believe it to be a reaction to criticism of his previous position by the left.
We know – as I’m sure Donald Trump must know – that raising the minimum wage will not benefit workers for long. It will force businesses to cut staff or raise prices to cover the extra cost. Some businesses might fail, leading to an increase in unemployment.
This isn’t the first time the billionaire has changed his mind, but writing it off may prove more difficult this time – and changing your mind on a central issue this far into his campaign can’t be a good thing.