Republican Congressional Candidate Touts Progressive Minimum Wage Fix

GOP nominee in FL-13 David Jolly CREDIT: AP

An unlikely advocate for one of the most progressive minimum wage proposals emerged last week: Republican congressional candidate David Jolly.

Democratic nominee Alex Sink supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10, as is currently being considered in Congress, while Jolly opposes it. However, in explaining his position to the Tribune, Jolly actually advocated another progressive proposal: indexing the minimum wage so it automatically increases every year.

“Minimum wage should be indexed to inflation or subject to a cost-of-living adjustment like any other federal income program,” Jolly said. “That means some years it may go up, other years it may stay static. Barack Obama is not an economist, neither is the Congress.”

The purchasing power of the minimum wage has significantly lagged the rate of inflation over the past four decades. In 1968, the federal minimum wage was $1.60 per hour. Had it kept up with inflation since then, it would currently be set at $10.50, 45 percent higher than its current rate of $7.25.

In addition, if Jolly preferred tying the minimum wage to increases in worker productivity, it would currently be $18.30 per hour, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute.

Indexing the minimum wage is a strongly progressive proposal because it would give low-income workers a raise every year without having to rely on Congress, which has only voted for an increase once in the last decade.

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