Sen. Bernie Sanders is talking about something that few other politicians will mention. Republicans aren’t just opposed to the minimum wage. They want to abolish it.
ED SCHULTZ: Senator, do you believe, of course, the Republicans have not helped out on any jobs package whatsoever they’re stuck in the mud. They don’t want to work with the Democrats or help this president on a jobs bill in any way, shame or form. Do you think the Republicans want higher unemployment so people will be so desperate, they will go to the corporations and work for $7.25 an hour and have no voice and no push and no union to stick up for them whatsoever? Do you think the Republicans, do you think that this is a conservative utopia? That they like everything the way it is right now?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Let me take it a step further and this will shock you and your viewers.This is the truth. The fact of the matter is that there are many many Republicans in Congress right now, perhaps a majority, who not only are opposed to raising the minimum wage. They want to abolish the minimum wage. That’s the truth. In a city like Detroit, remember, 40% of the black kids in this country are facing unemployment. 20% of the young people in this country facing unemployment. 14% of the American people unemployed. They believe that if they can hire, if an employer can hire a worker at $3 and $4 an hour that’s fine. That’s freedom. Get government out of the business of regulating a minimum wage. What I happen to believe is very, very different.
SCHULTZ: Go ahead.
SANDERS:It’s just that if we’re going to grow the middle class, we have to create decent paying jobs. One way to do that is to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour which is what the American people want.
Bernie Sanders was speaking from experience. In June, during a committee hearing, he got Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) to admit that he supports abolishing the minimum wage. This isn’t some theoretical Republican fantasy discussion centered around the great what if of abolishing the minimum wage. Republicans in power want to abolish the minimum wage. It is part of their goals and agenda. Earlier this year, Forbes ran an article from the Ayn Rand Center titled, To Protect The Defenseless, We Must Abolish The Minimum Wage.
The basic Republican argument against the minimum wage is the same as their argument against unemployment benefits. The minimum wage creates an entitled class of freeloaders that want to be paid more than what they are really worth. It is the standard makers and takers argument that Republicans use to defend their positions on everything from cutting food stamps to denying children healthcare.
The problem is that the Republican argument is based on ideology. Studies have repeatedly found that raising the minimum wage doesn’t negatively impact job growth. In June, President Obama called for the minimum wage to be increased to a living wage.
While Republicans are plotting to abolish it, seventy one percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage. Republicans want an America where workers will have no healthcare, privatized retirement benefits, no workplace safety regulations, no overtime pay, and will take whatever few pennies employers are willing to offer as compensation.
Republicans are pushing to take America back 100 years, but they never counted on are elected leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders, President Obama, and the American people pushing back.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association