Dear Ms. Ernst,

You recently said that a federal minimum wage was "ridiculous." A policy that protects tens of millions of American workers and whose erosion due to Congressional passivity has left 200,000+ Iowans making less today, adjusted for inflation, than low­wage workers made 46 years is far from ridiculous.

Are the 70­80% of Americans ­­ across every demographic group, including a majority of Republicans ­­ who, in poll after poll, support raising the federal minimum wage ridiculous?


Are the four Republican Presidents ­­ Eisenhower, Nixon, and both Bushes ­­ who raised the minimum wage ridiculous?


Are the 61% of small business employers polled by the American Sustainable Business Council who support a raise in the federal minimum wage ­­ including 49% of Republican small business employers ­­ ridiculous?


Are the seven Nobel Prize­winning economists who support a raise in the federal minimum wage ­­ citing the "stimulative effect on the economy as low­wage workers spend their additional earnings" ­­ ridiculous?


Are conservative leaders like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Bill O'Reilly, and Phyllis Schlafly ­­ who point out that indexing the minimum wage assures business certainty and that rewarding work lessens public assistance expenditures ­­ ridiculous?


Are the 65% of Iowans polled who favor raising the minimum wage ­­ including Senator Tom Harkin, who drafted the federal bill that would bring $430 million in aggregate wage increases to hundreds of thousands of Iowans ­­ ridiculous?


A growing substantial consensus of Americans, Republicans, small business employers, economists, conservative leaders, and, specifically, Iowans believe that the minimum wage should be restored to its past purchasing power: $10.94, which the minimum wage would be today if the 1968 minimum wage was adjusted for inflation. They also believe it should be preserved through indexing so that the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage is never eroded again.

You are running for Senator ­­ a federal office ­­ and the people of Iowa deserve to know your stance on the federal minimum wage. The question is simple: If elected, would you support or oppose restoring the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage?


The 200,000+ Iowans who are making less today, adjusted for inflation, than minimum wage workers made 46 years ago await your answer.


Charlie Wishman, Secretary/Treasurer Iowa Federation of Labor - AFL-CIO

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