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Donald Trump with workers at a Louis Vuitton factory

Photo by The White House

On July 1, Donald Trump said he would share good news about the minimum wage within two weeks.

Since then, 21 days have passed without a word from the White House on the subject.

"I'm going to have a statement on minimum wage," Trump told Fox Business during a White House interview. "I feel differently than a lot of people on minimum wage, some people in my own party. But I will have a statement over the next two weeks on minimum wage."

Trump claimed it would be "a very positive statement." But the promised announcement never surfaced.

The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

According to a Pew Research survey conducted in June 2019, 67 percent of Americans favored raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The minimum wage, which has not increased since 2009, currently stands at $7.25 per hour.

Trump has taken a variety of contradictory positions on the minimum wage in the past.

During the 2016 election, he said that he was both against any federal minimum wage and also in favor of a $10 federal minimum wage.

In 2019, he told Telemundo that he was open to a minimum wage higher than $15 per hour just days after he threatened to veto a bipartisan House-passed bill doing just that.

Now, with the national economy sagging, Americans are becoming increasingly anxious about job issues, including the minimum wage.

While some have argued that raising the minimum wage amid a pandemic, with staggering unemployment numbers, is unwise, proponents say there's no better time to do it.

"Essential workers ... are on the front lines of this pandemic, and the vast majority of them are making under $15 an hour," 1199 SEIU organizer Brig Dumais said in June, according to NPR. "We cannot call them 'heroes' on one hand and freeze their wages on the other."

Alissa Barron-Menza, vice president of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, noted that the historical roots of the minimum wage sprang from hardship.

"People forget that the federal minimum wage was enacted during the incredibly hard times of the Great Depression," she told the outlet. "The goal of the minimum wage was to alleviate poverty and to boost consumer spending so that businesses would have someone to sell their products and services to. And that's exactly what it did."

More than 1 million people have filed for unemployment each of the past 17 weeks as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc in many parts of the country. In total, more than 51 million people have filed for unemployment insurance since March.

The steady increase of unemployment claims "add to the evidence that the recovery may be stalling," Daniel Zhao, a senior economist at job recruitment site Glassdoor, told CNN on Thursday.

Americans have unsurprisingly voiced a much more negative view of the economy since the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

Polling by Gallup showed that only 22 percent of Americans in April said it was a "good time to find a quality job," a sharp drop from 68 percent who said the same in January.

In June, less than a quarter of Americans said economic conditions were "good" or "excellent," again according to Gallup polling, while 78 percent of Americans rated conditions as "only fair" or "poor." Americans were much more optimistic in February when 63 percent said the economy was "good" or "excellent."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

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