As primary season swings into full gear, small business owners are taking note of which candidates support policies that will severely impact their business. One of the most hotly contested political issues this election cycle is increasing the federal minimum wage.
NFIB consistently opposes raising the federal minimum wage, citing a recent member poll in which 92 percent opposed any increase. According to the NFIB Research Center’s economic forecast, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would lead to over $2 trillion in GDP loss over ten years and more than six million jobs eliminated. Nearly 43 percent of all jobs lost would be from businesses with fewer than one hundred employees.
Out of the 21 Democratic candidates, 20 declared their support for raising the federal minimum wage. Sixteen of the candidates, including Joe Biden, Julián Castro, and Pete Buttigieg, all support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Several of the Democratic candidates currently in office sponsored or cosponsored bills that would raise the minimum wage. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Tim Ryan co-sponsored and voted for the Raise the Wage Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives. Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the Raise the Wage Act companion legislation in the Senate, which was co-sponsored by five other candidates: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet expressed support for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour in the future, but “at a rate that won’t jeopardize jobs in lower-cost rural areas or struggling cities.” Bennet declined to co-sponsor the Senate version of the Raise the Wage Act.
Only one Democratic candidate, Andrew Yang, opposes raising the federal minimum wage, arguing that the minimum wage is a state issue. However, Yang wants to institute a national $1,000 per month universal basic income, which, as he says, would make the federal minimum wage “much less necessary.”
Despite contradictory statements over the years, President Donald Trump, by and large, believes the minimum wage should remain a state issue.