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Forbes slams Romney's minimum wage hike plan, says it should be handled by states and localities

Profit margins for restaurants and supermarkets are 'pennies on the dollar, not the huge ones you see with Facebook or Amazon or Microsoft,' Steve Forbes says

Updated: February 17, 2021 - 4:54pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Forbes Media Chairman and CEO Steve Forbes slammed Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney's plan to tie a minimum wage hike to inflation and immigration enforcement.

"Congress hasn't raised the minimum wage in more than a decade, leaving many Americans behind. Our proposal gradually raises the minimum wage without costing jobs, setting it to increase automatically with inflation, and requires employers to verify the legal status of workers," Romney tweeted.

Forbes said immigration reform and a federal requirement for employers to use E-Verify should be treated as a separate debate from the federal minimum wage.

House Democrats have added a gradual increase to a $15 minimum wage to President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan. 

Forbes said the minimum wage should be handled by state and local governments instead of a one-size-fits-all approach like the one the Biden Administration is taking. 

"You had a period like you had when you had real inflation in the '70s, where all, most wages went down sharply and what this would have done in the '70s would have again, priced millions of people out of the labor market because wages were not increasing. Businesses were not doing as well in real terms because of the rapid rise in prices," Forbes said in response to a question from Just the News on a press call organized by the Job Creators Network on Wednesday. 

"So this tying it to an index would have done real damage. So revisiting the minimum wage periodically is fine but it should be really focused on the state level where it can reflect local conditions," he added.

Forbes, a former GOP presidential candidate, argued that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a better way to increase take home pay. 

"A lot of people who should get it don't get it. Those are ways to enable people to keep more of what they earn without hurting job opportunities and small businesses," he said. "And I think most people don't realize, and there's another good point brought up, is the profit margins on supermarkets and restaurants. They're very tiny. They're pennies on the dollar, not the huge ones you see with Facebook or Amazon or Microsoft."

Romney's office told Just the News that the legislative text of Romney's bill will be released sometime next week.