In 1998, the U.S. economy was booming: Unemployment was at 4.6 percent, and just under 14 percent of teenagers in the labor force were searching for work. But even in these robust economic times, then-President Bill Clinton’s economic team gave a thumbs down to a 40 percent minimum wage hike, arguing it would “prove damaging to the employment prospects of low-skilled workers.”
Clinton’s decision to back away from such a dramatic policy change is the subject of our full-page ad in USA Today. It’s especially relevant today as President Obama promotes the same 40 percent hike in the minimum wage. So far, Congress isn’t biting, and the President and his supporters have argued that opponents are being unreasonable. But the actions of the previous Democrat to hold the White House suggest that opposition to the policy isn’t only bipartisan–it’s economically smart.