During a stop in South Carolina this week, former Florida Gov. (and potential Republican presidential candidate) Jeb Bush came out in opposition to the federal minimum wage. Although his spokespeople later dialed back the rhetoric, Bush initially said:
We need to leave it to the private sector. I think state minimum wages are fine. The federal government shouldn’t be doing this. This is one of those poll-driven deals. It polls well, I’m sure–I haven’t looked at the polling, but I’m sure on the surface, without any conversation, without any digging into it people say, ‘Yea, everybody’s wages should be up.’ And in the case of Walmart they have raised wages because of supply and demand, and that’s good.
But the federal government doing this will make it harder and harder for the first rung of the ladder to be reached, particularly for young people, particularly for people that have less education.
Bush is far from the only potential GOP presidential nominee to come out against raising the minimum wage, and several of the leading contenders have expressed opposition to the federal minimum wage’s very existence. It’s almost as if being opposed to making sure workers earn enough to support their families is a litmus test in the lead-up to the Republican primaries. Even those not expressing outright opposition have been spoutinglong-disproven myths about the minimum wage. Here’s what the gang of anti-worker extremists who want to run the country have been saying:
Ben Carson (Maryland): Wrote and op-ed titled: “Obama is wrong that raising minimum wage will fix income inequality.”
Chris Christie (New Jersey): “I gotta tell you the truth, I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am.”
Lindsey Graham (South Carolina): “This is an emotional issue. From an economic point of view, if you want to increase the minimum wage, you’re going to displace probably a million people from the economy at a time when we should be hiring people.”
Mike Huckabee (Arkansas): “Raising the minimum wage to $15, or more in some cases, is an issue that you don’t have to declare yourself a socialist to back. It’s becoming more popular, because it sounds so generous and so easy. Being generous with other people’s money is always easy. It’s true that a lot of people on the lower end of the pay scale are having a tough time these days. But in many cases, small business owners who pay the minimum wage for entry level workers are putting in so many hours and taking so little out that they’re lucky to make minimum wage themselves. If they have to double what they’re paying their employees, they’ll have no choice to fire half of them. And that doesn’t really help the workers.”
Bobby Jindal (Louisiana): “I’m not ideologically opposed to ever raising the minimum wage. I just don’t think now is the right moment.”
Sarah Palin (Alaska): “I don’t know, why are you even worried about fast food wages? Well, we believe — an America where minimum wage jobs, they’re not lifetime gigs, they’re stepping stones to sustainable wages. It teaches work ethic.”
Rand Paul (Kentucky): “When you set the minimum wage, it may cause unemployment. The least skilled people in our society have more trouble getting work the higher you make the minimum wage.”
Rick Perry (Texas): Said it’s not “the government’s business” to be setting the minimum wage and that raising the minimum wage would cost jobs.
Marco Rubio (Florida): “I don’t think a minimum wage law works….I want people to make a lot more than $9 — $9 is not enough. The problem is you can’t do that by mandating it in the minimum wage laws. Minimum wage laws have never worked in terms of having the middle class attain more prosperity.”
Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania): Said he supports some kind of increase, but opposed the $10.10 minimum wage proposed by Democrats.
Scott Walker (Wisconsin): Said he doesn’t think the minimum wage “serves a purpose.”
These comments come, of course, after more than one of these candidates voted for or supported minimum wage increases in the past.