Mitt Romney: the Candidate of Change?

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Written by Dean Baker   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 04:26

In 2008, then Senator Obama famously ran as the candidate of hope and change. If former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ends up getting the Republican nomination he may be the candidate of change in 2012, but with a somewhat different meaning.

Last month, Governor Romney told reporters that he favored indexing the minimum wage to the rate of inflation, which would mean that it would automatically rise to keep pace with the cost of living. (He took the same position in January when asked a question by a staffer from the National Employment Law Project Action Fund.) If the minimum wage had been indexed to the consumer price index since its last increase in July of 2009, it would be $7.60 an hour today instead of $7.25. Furthermore, with inflation projected at roughly 2.0 percent a year over the next decade, indexing would translate into an annual increase of 15-16 cents an hour going forward. 

But that was last month. This week Governor Romney came out against increasing the minimum wage when he was interviewed on Larry Kudlow's show on CNBC. Romney told Kudlow:

"So, certainly, the level of inflation is something you should look at and you should identify what’s the right way to keep America competitive. So that would tell you that right now, there’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.”

The minimum wage is not the only economic issue on which it seems that Romney has changed his position. At the start of the health care debate in 2009, he urged President Obama to look to the Massachusetts reform he implemented as a model, including the use of mandates. He is currently taking a somewhat different position toward the plan that President Obama pushed through Congress, which is based on the Massachusetts plan.

Tags: election 2012 | health care | minimum wage | Obama | romney