In all my years following politics, few things have truly left me “speechless” or with the inability to fully comprehend something that I had just witnessed or heard. It happens, but it’s extremely rare. However, when I saw Ted Cruz basically blame corporate greed on the minimum wage, I was dumbfounded.
Before I tear into Cruz’s stupidity, here’s what he said:
“I think it’s bad policy [the minimum wage],” Cruz said. “And you know, one observation I make to folks is next time you go to a fast food restaurant and you start ordering on an iPad, you’re seeing the minimum wage.”
He also said he feels the minimum wage hurts the “most vulnerable.”
So, Ted Cruz is claiming that these companies that are using more automated means of “customer service” are doing so – because of the minimum wage? The same companies where the CEOs and other executives are making more money than at any time in history, Cruz is claiming that they’re eliminating jobs because they’re being forced to pay workers $7.25 an hour?
I can’t even fathom how stupid someone has to be to believe that.
First, technological innovations have been replacing human workers long before the advent of the minimum wage. Is Cruz really trying to claim that all these technological advancements we see in all these businesses that have replaced human workers are all linked to the pathetically low minimum wage?
I worked for Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart. While I was there they installed self check-outs. Why did they do this? Because the company is cheap as hell, views workers as expendable and would run the entire club via robots if they could get away with it. This wasn’t about paying people the minimum wage (Sam’s actually starts cashiers higher than the minimum wage), this was about a greedy company doing whatever it could to eliminate expenses – and workers are always an expense. The main reason why they didn’t push for more self check-outs was because a lot of people don’t want to pay full price to check themselves out when someone else should do that for them, and largely because “shrink” (aka loss) was much higher because customers would either outright steal or forget to ring something up.
Is Cruz saying that Americans should be making less than minimum wage? How, exactly, does that help “grow the economy” and “improve income inequality”? People can’t survive on $7.25 an hour now, does he think splitting that ridiculous wage in half is going to improve the lives of those earning that laughable wage? Do you realize how horrible service would be if you were paying someone around $5 an hour – or $200 a week for a full-time job? Not to mention how many people would then quickly turn to government programs like SNAP to supplement basic needs that they sure as hell couldn’t afford making $4-5 per hour.
And what about all these jobs that pay more than the minimum wage that are eliminating jobs, replacing humans with machines? Is that still because of the minimum wage?
The stupidity of Ted Cruz – and anyone who seems to think the minimum wage hurts the economy – is palpable. To this day, I’ve never once heard a single rational argument against the minimum wage. It hurts job growth? Yeah, because it’s really worth creating “twice as many jobs” by simply splitting the wage of one lousy paying job in half. That makes a whole lot of sense.
But this is what this country faces if we don’t vote blue this November, a Republican party that will wreck so much of the progress that’s literally taken us decades to achieve. It can all be undone in just a matter of less than four years.
Because while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both pushing for a much higher minimum wage, Republicans are trying to get rid of it altogether.