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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has said that he favors letting the market determine wages rather than having the federal government set a minimum wage:

“The best thing is have the marketplace take care of it rather than government set a minimum wage that then starts eliminating jobs,” the Wisconsin Republican said at an October debate with Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, his Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 election.

In the past, Johnson has raised concerns about the potential consequences of raising the minimum wage, such as the acceleration of automating entry-level jobs.

However, in 2021, Johnson stated, “I would be in favor of increasing the minimum wage to some extent.” At the October 2022 debate, he acknowledged he would consider supporting indexing the minimum wage to inflation without specifying a dollar amount.

The federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009, when it was set at $7.25 an hour.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mandela Barnes vs. Ron Johnson: 2022 debate between US Senate candidates from Wisconsin

Ron Johnson Senator from Wisconsin: Higher pay, but only if you keep your job

The Observatory: Though missing context, Ron Johnson right on minimum wage

C-SPAN: Senator Johnson says he backs increase in minimum wage

NBC15: Ron Johnson on minimum wage in 2021

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Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.