Dr. Ben Carson seems to have reversed his position on the minimum wage, saying he wouldn’t raise it during tonight's GOP debate. He said it would prevent low-skill Americans from successfully entering the job market. While adopting the position of the party, during the second debate in California back in September, Carson said something different–favoring a two-tier minimum wage. One that's indexed for inflation (via Fortune) [emphasis mine]:
The first question about minimum wage in any televised debate this election cycle came Wednesday night when moderator Jake Tapper asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to share his thoughts on raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25 that was set in 2009.
Walker said that he would concentrate on giving Americans the education and skills they need to land jobs that paid more than the minimum wage.
Carson then interjected that he was—in fact—”probably” or “possibly” in favor of raising the federal rate. “I think we need to get both sides of this issue to sit down and talk … and negotiate a reasonable minimum wage.”
With that statement, Carson put some space between himself and the rest of the GOP presidential field. Supporting an increase of the wage floor, in and of itself, is out of character for a Republican.
But Carson wasn’t done. He dropped an even bigger bombshell: “And we should index [the new federal minimum wage] so that we never have to have this conversation again in the history of America.”
So not only would Carson be in favor of setting a new minimum wage, he would support an increase of that wage automatically every year by tying it—presumably—to inflation. He also mentioned having two tiers of the federal minimum wage, one normal rate and a lower one for younger workers.
At the same time, that’s not to say that what Carson said tonight about the minimum wage was necessarily wrong. The late economist Milton Friedman noted how minimum wage laws undercut low-skill Americans, specifically African-Americans. It’s no wonder why The New York Times editorial board wrote that the ideal minimum wage for the country should be $0.00 in 1987.