[This post has been corrected.] This week, California and New York passed landmark bills that would increase the states’ minimum wages to $15 an hour. Hillary Clinton joined New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday to celebrate the win—despite advocating for only a $12 minimum wage at the national level since at least October.
Speaking to the bill’s supporters, Clinton said, “It’s a result of what is best about New York and what is best about America. And I know that it’s going to sweep our country.” This is curious, considering the fact that Clinton previously refused to endorse a national minimum wage of $15, something the Democratic party leadership did in August. Last summer, she told Buzzfeed:
I think part of the reason that the Congress and very strong Democratic supporters of increasing the minimum wage are trying to debate and determine what’s the national floor is because there are different economic environments. And what you can do in L.A. or in New York may not work in other places.
More curious still is the former Secretary of State’s work on minimum wages in other countries. In 2009, Haiti wanted to increase the minimum wages at its textile factories to $5 per day. After American manufacturers protested, the State Department intervened, as The Nation points out:
Still the US Embassy wasn’t pleased. A deputy chief of mission, David E. Lindwall, said the $5 per day minimum “did not take economic reality into account” but was a populist measure aimed at appealing to “the unemployed and underpaid masses.”
The unemployed and underpaid masses are precisely who a $15 minimum wage would help and, at least today, it looks like Hillary Clinton is finally on their side.
Correction: This post, which was originally headlined “Hillary Clinton Waits Until $15 Minimum Wage Passes in New York and California to Endorse It,” misrepresented Hillary Clinton’s position on the minimum wage, implying she did not support efforts to raise it in New York and California. Clinton has indeed said that she supports a federal minimum wage of $12, but she has also spoken favorably of efforts by individual states and cities to set their own minimum wages higher than the national wage, and she has specifically endorsed Andrew Cuomo’s minimum wage proposals in New York prior to their passage. We apologize for the mistake.