After President Biden required federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage and Rhode Island inched closer to its own mandate, small-business owners held their breath. Congress is again likely to consider hiking the federal minimum wage, now $7.25, affecting the public and private sectors alike.

There is a popular mandate for a $15 federal minimum wage. Nearly two-thirds of Americans support the wage increase, include 40% who “strongly” back the proposal. In Florida, voters passed an amendment last November to raise the minimum wage, now $8.56, to $15 in 2026; it moves to $10 in September.

Relying on vague terms such as “entrepreneurship,” “small government,” and “individual liberty,” Republicans are losing the messaging battle. Wage-hike opponents have repeatedly failed to conceptualize the real-world impact—beyond the “red meat” talking points—of a $15 mandatory minimum.

While…

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