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Democrats to revisit minimum wage issue

Aug. 29, 2012 at 6:09 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A minimum wage hike is expected to be part of the Democratic Party platform presented to delegates in North Carolina, a member of the drafting committee said.

"There will be mention of it in the platform this year, though not real detailed," The Hill newspaper quoted Thea Lee, deputy chief of staff for the AFL-CIO, as saying.

Lee was on the 15-member committee responsible for drafting the party platform, which will be presented to delegates at the national convention in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 4-6, the newspaper said Wednesday.

"The platform is all about building a strong economy from the middle class out, and the minimum wage is a key part of that. It's clearly something that's overdue. It will be good for working people and the economy," Lee said.

Those in favor of a minimum wage increase point to the immediate effects it would have on the economy, given those making minimum wage tend to spend their money, including wage increases, fairly quickly, turning the wage hike into business growth.

Those opposing a minimum wage hike point to the burden it would have on small businesses, which tend to have very tight profit margins and would likely cut back on hiring if their costs increase.

Since the end of the recession, small businesses have done the lion's share of the hiring.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive director of labor law policy Marc Freedman called the minimum wage hike issue "a typical election year ploy by some to make it appear as though they're supporting low-income workers."

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since July 2009.

In recent years, Democrats have made fleeting attempts to raise the minimum wage. It was on the party's platform during the last presidential election. Three separate bills written by Democrats, two in the House and one in the Senate, have addressed the issue, but none of these bills, written respectively by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, have gotten much traction.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in January said he favored a minimum wage hike, but has since pulled back from that position due to whiplash among conservative constituents, the newspaper said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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