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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:52 AM

Two Observations on the Politics of the Minimum Wage

February 15, 2013, 7:44 pm
Paul Krugman

It looks as if President Obama has successfully set a political trap over the minimum wage. Raising the minimum is very popular ó even a narrow majority of Republicans (pdf) are for it. But Republican leaders are opposed. And theyíd like people to believe that their opposition is driven by sincere concern for workers who might lose their jobs.

Well, this isnít likely to work; the public wonít believe in their sincerity, and for good reason. Here are two examples of why it wonít wash:

1. The truth is that top Republicans have so little regard for ordinary workers that they canít even manage to pretend otherwise ...

2. Consider a working couple with two children, earning the current minimum wage. How much federal income tax do they pay? If Iím doing the math right, the answer is, none ó they get a refund. (They pay plenty of payroll taxes, sales taxes, etc., but that isnít supposed to count). In the minds of Republicans, this makes them lucky duckies, members of the 47 percent, part of whatís wrong with America. The GOP just canít credibly claim to suddenly be deeply concerned about their job prospects ...


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