Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders launched a petition Monday supporting the $15 minimum wage in an apparent slight to his rival former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Sanders’ position on the minimum wage is nothing new, he even introduced a bill in July that would have established the $15 nationally. Clinton, however, has only been willing to go as high as $12 an hour on the federal level. His petition highlights the policy divide without going as far as mentioning Clinton by name.
“It is a national disgrace that millions of full-time workers are living in poverty and millions more are forced to work two or three jobs just to pay their bills,” the petition declared. “Add your name if you agree that every Democratic candidate running for president should publicly support a $15 minimum wage.”
The $15 minimum wage has become a very popular issue among Democrats and labor unions. The union-backed Fight for $15 has been at the forefront of the policy push and has seen many successes in cities across the country. No state at the moment has passed a $15 minimum wage, but a handful are fighting to be the first. Clinton has noted her support for the localized wage increases, but remains stalwart at just $12 for the federal level.
“She has supported raising the federal minimum wage to $12,” her campaign website noted. “And believes that we should go further than the federal minimum through state and local efforts.”
Supporters often say an increase will help the poor more easily afford basic necessaries, as well as help stimulate economic activity. The opposition warns of economic stress, especially for low-profit, small businesses like restaurants and retailers.
The Clinton plan has the potential to mitigate economic stress better than a national $15 minimum wage. Cost of living is a major factor often overlooked in the overall debate. Some regions with a higher cost of living may have a better chance of absorbing the increase while those with a low cost of living could struggle a lot more.
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