Hillary Fudges on the Minimum Wage

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I didn’t see last night’s debate, but I noted this in the transcript this morning:

BLITZER: If a Democratic Congress put a $15 minimum wage bill on your desk, would you sign it?

CLINTON: Well, of course I would. And I have supported supported the fight for 15. I am proud to have the endorsement of most of the unions that have led the fight for 15. I was proud to stand on the stage with Governor Cuomo, with SEIU and others who have been leading this battle and I will work as hard as I can to raise the minimum wage. I always have. I supported that when I was in the Senate.

SANDERS: Well, look…

CLINTON: But what I have also said is that we’ve got to be smart about it, just the way Governor Cuomo was here in New York. If you look at it, we moved more quickly to $15 in New York City, more deliberately toward $12, $12.50 upstate then to $15. That is exactly my position. It’s a model for the nation and that’s what I will do as president.

This is a pretty obvious evasion, and I’m sorry to see it. Here’s her official position:

Hillary believes we are long overdue in raising the minimum wage. She has supported raising the federal minimum wage to $12, and believes that we should go further than the federal minimum through state and local efforts, and workers organizing and bargaining for higher wages, such as the Fight for 15 and recent efforts in Los Angeles and New York to raise their minimum wage to $15.

Blitzer’s question was clearly about raising the federal minimum wage to $15, and Hillary immediately said she’d support that. But she doesn’t. She supports a $12 federal minimum wage. Pretty obviously, though, she wanted the TV audience to take away a different impression.

I hate to see pandering like this. Hillary’s position on the minimum wage is perfectly reasonable: a federal minimum of $12. States and cities have always been able to enact higher minimums if they want, and the president has no say over that. So why not say so? Would she really lose that many votes? My guess is that none of the hardcore $15 folks are voting for her in the first place.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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