AUGUSTA – The Democratic candidate running against Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins told reporters at a Thursday press conference she will bring libertarians on board with President Obama’s plans to hike the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
“On the minimum wage issue [Shenna] Bellows said, if elected, she would work with members of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party to move a federal wage hike forward,” according to a report in the Lewiston Sun Journal. “Bellows said President Barack Obama’s proposal to move the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour had popular support and would widely benefit Maine workers and the state’s economy.”
If Bellows, the former director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, managed to convince libertarians or libertarian Republicans to support a hike in the federal minimum wage, it would be a remarkable thing, indeed.
The Libertarian Party’s platform would seem to preclude support of any artificial controls on wages. It states, “… governmental controls on prices of goods and services (including wages, rents, and interest) are abridgements of … fundamental rights.”
Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is perhaps the best known libertarian elected official in Washington, D.C. And judging by his previous statements, he’s highly unlikely to support hiking the minimum wage.
“If you increase the price of something, you’ll get less of it. So, all of the studies, virtually all of the studies show that if you increase the minimum wage, you get higher unemployment, particularly teenage unemployment, particularly black teenagers,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in January.
Paul has also endorsed Collins in her race against Bellows.
In February, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 decrease employment nationally by 500,000 to 1 million workers while lifting just 900,000 people over the federal poverty line.