A Conservative Millionaire's Quest to Raise California's Minimum Wage to $12 an Hour

Absolutely. There's been a massive influx of impoverished immigrant workers, which depresses the wages of American workers. The best way of preventing that is a much higher minimum wage.

The reason that businesses hire them is that they're willing to work at such a cheap rate. They're willing to undercut American wages. If the minimum wage were much higher -- say, $12 an hour -- a lot of businesses would hire Americans.

But wouldn't companies still hire illegal immigrants and pay them under the table in order to pay them the lower wages they're willing to work for?

Obviously, some of that would happen. The vast majority of illegal immigrants right now earn above the minimum wage.

Do you plan to reach out to Walmart?

I'm certainly planning to.

Are you going to spend your own money to help get this on the ballot?

Certainly. But I certainly don't intend to fund the entire thing myself.

Liberals generally support a higher minimum wage, but some don't want the policy to be an excuse to undercut parts of the social safety net, like food stamps. How do you respond?

I'm not really a liberal, so I have no problem undercutting those programs.

Seems to me the average worker would prefer to have much higher wages so that they don't get food stamps.

And remember, many of them are actually Republican voters. They're the sort of conservative lower-middle-class base of the Republican Party.

Over 40 percent of all white Southerners would see a wage increase under a $12-an-hour minimum wage. And the average increase would be $4,500 a year. I think you'd see a lot of enthusiasm that would cross party and ideological lines.

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