The CEO of Starbucks says he’s in favor of raising the minimum wage, albeit ever so carefully.
Howard Schultz, the head of the global coffee giant, told CNBC Wednesday that “the minimum wage issue is a double-edged sword,” because while boosting it would mean higher wages for workers, it may also discourage businesses from hiring more people.
“On balance, I am a supporter of the minimum wage going up,” he said. “We’ve got to be very careful what we wish for because some employers -- and there could be a lot of them -- will be scared away from hiring new people or creating incremental hours for part-time people as a result of that wage going up.”
President Barack Obama has proposed raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour from $7.25 and tying it to inflation. But many conservatives, like Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), argue that raising the minimum wage may end up hurting workers because it would cause businesses to pull back on hiring.
At $8.78 per hour, the average Starbucks barista makes less than Obama's proposed minimum wage, according to Glassdoor.com. But Schultz called that figure “misleading” in the CNBC interview, since it didn’t take into account tips or the boost in workers’ salaries over time.
Schultz is no stranger to speaking his mind on political issues. His company used its cups in December to encourage lawmakers to “come together” on a fiscal cliff deal. In January, Schultz said that politicians’ lack of leadership on both the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling debates was “sapping the lifeblood” of the country.
But he's not the first corporate chief to speak out on the minimum wage issue. Fred Deluca, the CEO of Subway, told CNBC in February that a minimum wage hike would push his franchisees to raise their prices. Still, some are backing Obama’s proposal. Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said in a statement earlier this month that lawmakers should raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
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Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/herman-cain-minimum-wage_n_1035157.html">criticized the commerce clause</a> for creating minimum wage laws in his book "Fed Up! Our Fight To America From Washington."
Though Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain never outright advocated abolishing the minimum wage, he did argue that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/herman-cain-minimum-wage_n_1035157.html">minimum wage laws prevent workers</a> at the margins from getting their first jobs. Cain was an executive in the restaurant industry, which is one of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/low-wage-workers-_n_1687271.html">largest employers of low-wage workers.</a>
Alaska Tea Party Senate Candidate Joe Miller
When he was running for Senate in 2010, Joe Miller, a Republican Senate candidate, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/story?id=11790828">told ABC News</a> that "there should not be" a federal minimum wage.
Famed libertarian and former Republican Congressman and presidential candidate said during a presidential debate in 2011 that the country <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/ron-paul-abolish-minimum-wage-to-help-poor-people/">would "absolutely" be better off</a> if the minimum wage was abolished because "it would help the poor people."
Frequent Fox guest Peter Schiff claimed in September 2011 that the minimum wage was "one of the most anti-poor people" rules in the country, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2011/09/22/fox-hosts-peter-schiff-to-attack-minimum-wage/183198">according to Media Matters</a>.
Republican West Virginia Senate Candidate John Raese
When he was running for Senate in 2008, West Virginia Republican John Raese called the federally mandated minimum wage "an archaic system that has never worked," <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43474.html">according to Politico</a>.
Minnesota Congresswoman and one-time Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said in June 2011 that <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/michele-bachmanns-radical-position-on-minimum-wage/2011/03/03/AGyzgXpH_blog.html">she supports abolishing the minimum wage</a>.
Las Vegas Chamber Of Commerce
A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce argued in favor of a 2011 proposal to repeal Nevada's minimum wage, saying that a minimum wage doesn't have to be locked into the Constitution, <a href="http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/feb/16/bill-seeks-repeal-nevadas-825-minimum-wage/">according to the Las Vegas Sun</a>.
Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said in 2010 that while Congress has the right to mandate a minimum wage, he's not sure it's such a good idea. "I think the question you have to ask is whether or not when you set the minimum wage it may cause unemployment, the son of Libertarian <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/10/other-gop-candidates-leery-of-minimum-wage/">Ron Paul said, according to ABC News</a>.
The former Federal Reserve Chairman said at a congressional hearing in 2001 that he would get rid of the minimum wage if he had the power, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB995487254182218412.html">according to a Wall Street Journal report</a> at the time. "I'm not in favor of cutting anybody's earnings or preventing them from rising, but I am against them losing their jobs because of artificial government intervention, which is essentially what the minimum wage is," he said.
The New York Times In 1987
In <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/15/new-york-times-minimum-wage_n_2696194.html?utm_hp_ref=business">a 1987 editorial</a>, the New York Times argued for eliminating the minimum wage saying that it's "an idea whose time has passed."