Sometimes I run across a quote that I literally have to read twice because it’s so absurd that my mind doesn’t believe what my eyes just saw. And that’s what happened when I saw the story about Kevin Madden, a CNN contributor and former adviser to Mitt Romney, speaking about his opposition to a hike in our minimum wage.
Mr. Madden said that Congress should not raise the minimum wage because it denies Americans the “opportunity to grab that bottom rung of the economic ladder.”
The basic context of his comments were that raising the minimum wage might deny some workers the ability to “work their way up” from the bottom to the top.
I’ve always laughed at this argument. It’s basically saying we should keep people poor because low-paying jobs won’t require many skills for workers who may lack them. Which of course makes absolutely no sense.
A job is a job. If it needs to be filled — especially for lower-skilled jobs — it’s going to be filled. If anything, raising the minimum wage might entice millions of people to get off welfare, providing them with more spending money and creating greater consumer demand which will then create even more jobs.
You know—basic economics. Demand creates jobs.
This fear-mongering notion that a minimum wage of $10 an hour will suddenly increase unemployment because many low-skilled workers don’t possess the skills to warrant such a wage is absurd.
First, $10 an hour is still a fairly low wage. It isn’t as if you need a great deal of skills to make $10 an hour. I once worked for Sam’s Club and started out as a cashier. Cashiers at Sam’s start out around $9.50-10 per hour. And trust me, they weren’t hiring “highly-skilled workers.”
Outside of cart attendant, it was about as “entry level/low-skilled” of a position at the club as you could get.
So it’s ridiculous for anyone to believe that a minimum wage of $10 per hour would suddenly leave millions unable to find work.
But comments like this show perfectly just how ignorant many Republicans are when it comes to living in poverty. Their two sides to this ridiculous defense against our minimum wage perpetuate the need to keep tens of millions of people in poverty so they can “climb that economic ladder,” while also insinuating this absurd notion that $10 per hour is some “highly-skilled” wage.
It’s pathetically misguided and absolutely ludicrous.
And as someone who grew up in poverty, struggling throughout much of my life, Republicans like Mr. Madden (and those who agree with him) simply don’t get it — and they never will.