Gov. Scott Walker Says $7.25 Per Hour is a Living Wage

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is refusing to raise the minimum wage despite an attempt Wisconsin Jobs Now “to use a little-known clause in state law to raise the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or at least force Walker, a Republican, to publicly oppose such a move just a month before the Nov. 4 election.”

Nice timing, and despite the fact that his opponent Mary Burke favors raising the minimum wage, no dice.

The problem for Wisconsin workers is that though Wisconsin law says the minimum wage “shall not be less than a living wage” (and the current wage of $7.25/hr clearly is) the governor, as the Journal Sentinel tells us, “is also allowed to consider the effect that increasing the minimum wage would have on the overall state economy and on the availability of entry-level jobs.”

This provides quite a bit of latitude for some mealy-mouthed maneuvering, and that is exactly what Walker has been engaged in for the past four years. Dodging a minimum wage hike required only that the state Department of Workforce Development to say “The department has determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the wages paid to the complainants are not a living wage.”

Wisconsin Jobs Now pointed out in response:

Governor Walker might be the only person in the entire country who actually thinks that anyone in today’s economy can survive solely on $7.25 an hour. His political stance against raising minimum wage is one thing. But for the governor to brazenly say to the working families of Wisconsin that $7.25 an hour is definitely enough to sustain themselves is not only misguided, it is incredibly ignorant and willfully obtuse.

The law in Wisconsin is very clear: ‘every wage paid by any employer to any employee shall not be less than a living wage.’ Anyone who works a full and honest day’s work should make enough money to pay for the basics. The fact that Governor Walker thinks that $290 a week is what it costs to cover the basics of life in Wisconsin is beyond comprehension. This decision makes it unequivocally clear that Scott Walker is more than out of touch: he is brutally neglectful of a huge percentage of his constituents.

If there is one thing the Walker administration has been over its four year term, it is willfully obtuse.

The governor’s spokesperson Laurel Patrick proved that talk is cheap when she claimed that Walker wanted jobs that pay “two or three times the minimum wage” and that “He is focused on finding ways to help employers create jobs that pay far more than the minimum wage or any other proposed minimum.”

He was also supposed to be finding ways to create 250,000 jobs over the past four years. You might remember his Tea Party mantra, that he would “get government out of the way of employers … who will then help Wisconsin create 250,000 jobs by 2015, and as we create those new jobs, we will be able to add 10,000 new businesses.”

According to, promise broken.

Politifact tells us that “Our tally now stands at 102,195 jobs — or about 40 percent of what Walker promised. You can see our monthly graphic tracking the governor’s progress on the promise here.”

Here too, mealy-mouthed maneuvering was invaluable to Walker:

As it became more evident that 250,000 jobs promise would be unattainable, Walker and his supporters began to shift attention from the vow and began to parse the promise. He criticized the data. He argued the recall elections had spooked state employers. He claimed the tally was far higher than it was. He talked about how many jobs were lost under his predecessor.

If democracy scares corporations, the fault isn’t with democracy.

This is important because as the Journal Sentinel explains, “Walker and other Republicans say they oppose raising the minimum wage because many workers receiving it are teenagers and because increasing it would cause employers to eliminate jobs.”

Not raising the minimum wage certainly didn’t create any jobs though, did it? The Journal Sentinel reported in February that,

In a conference call with reporters, Burke said raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 over two years would help workers as well as the state’s economy. At $7.25 an hour, full-time workers remain dependent on public benefits programs, which “doesn’t make sense,” she said.

“Raising the minimum wage does not have an adverse effect on job creation,” she told reporters. “In fact, it can improve overall job creation.”

And though Walker is now bragging on his 100,000 created jobs, the simple fact is that he broke his campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs.

It takes real Chutzpah to campaign on a broken promise, but that is exactly what he is doing.

Of course, Walker is also claiming that his Democratic predecessor, Jim Doyle, lost Wisconsin 133,000 jobs, a claim Politifact has also pointed out is “mostly false.” Though the job loss numbers used by Walker are accurate, Politifact points out that,

[E]xperts agree that Wisconsin’s economy was caught in the same economic crash that crippled the entire country — the recession was deeper and more severe than any single state’s policies, including those of Doyle.

They note that Wisconsin actually fared somewhat better than the rest of the country. This leaves us with a statement that’s numerically true, but with scant evidence at best when it comes to blame. That’s Mostly False on our meter.

Mary Burke was Doyle’s state commerce secretary, so of course, the idea is that Doyle’s imagined failures are hers as well, so he is attempting to discredit not only his Democratic predecessor but the woman attempting to succeed him as governor in 2015.

Thus, what it comes down to in Wisconsin is a Republican governor who failed to create the jobs he promised, and who then tried to pin the blame for an economic recession brought about by his own political party in the White House on his Democratic predecessor, deciding that $7.25 is a livable wage for his constituents while he pulls in a six-figure salary for himself.

Clearly, all that is trickling down in Wisconsin is lies, and they are of a distinctly yellow hue.

Wisconsin Jobs Now is asking people to join them “in Madison on October 14th at the Capitol steps where we will tell Governor Walker that it’s time for him to find a new job” and that “Those interested can RSVP today:”

View Comments

  • Then let him live on it for a year if he's so confident.

    Oh, and no access to his savings or any other sources of income.

    $7.25 an hour for one year.

    Do it.

  • Cutting taxes on a corporation can never create jobs. Saying that hinges on the fact that corporations will create product where there is no demand for that product. Why is there no demand? The people dont have the money to purchase items

    All cutting taxes to corps does is create a gangster society where the company's get richer and the people get poorer. Of course that leads to the eventual demise of the company, but the heads of those corps already got their money. And Walker would be rewarded for his part in the scam.

    Incidentally governor, saying you are focusing on one wage range doesnt cut it. You cant determine what wages will be paid, nor does doing that help those at the bottom of the wage scale.

  • Oh my! Hey Scott, it's not! You should try it for a couple of years and then come back to us and let us know. What a tool.

    • With any luck, he'll have that opportunity after the elections. But he's in so deep with the Kochs, he'll more than likely come out close to joining the 1%.

    • Like most governor's he wouldn't last a week. I mean eating left overs, and having the same thing 3-4 days a week.

  • “Walker and other Republicans say they oppose raising the minimum wage because many workers receiving it are teenagers and because increasing it would cause employers to eliminate jobs.”

    Studies look at what happened when cities raised minimum wage

    Raising the minimum wage doesn’t have a drastic, negative impact on employment, according to university researchers who have studied pay hikes in other cities.

    “Our data show that an increase up to $13 an hour has no measurable effect on employment,” said Michael Reich, a Berkeley economics professor with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

  • This is coming from a guy who has spent over a $1,000,000 on campaign travel around the US--he has presidential ambitions you know. And taxpayers have paid $5.75 million for his security (see detailed article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 13, 2014) since he has been in office. And people will still vote for him!

  • I was born and raised in Wisconsin and still live here in a small town in the West-Central region.

    I was and still am very proud of our Progressive traditional in this state, but have become very unsettled by the growth of the "Screw You - I Got Mine" mindset that is being adopted by a larger segment of the population.

    The hatred of the poor and especially the teachers in this state has caught me by surprise.

    I hope that Mary Burke wins this November, but I don't hold much hope for the voters in my state to make the right decision.

  • $7.25 would work as a living wage... if it was 1990!

    With the price of everything going up all the time, shouldn't it be fair to make sure that the people make enough money to have a decent life?

  • Fascism: The conservative notion that killing people makes them work harder”
    -Ignazio Silone

    “Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims,
    but by the way it kills them.” - Jean-Paul Sartre

    "Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans. " -John T. Flynn

    “Fascism is capitalism plus murder." -Upton Sinclair

    “Fascism is capitalism in decay” -Vladimir Lenin

    "The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power." -Henry A. Wallace

    "The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is,in my opinion, the real source of the evil."
    - Albert Einstein

    “Fascism is not in itself a new order of society.
    It is the future refusing to be born.” -Aneurin Bevan

  • Wisconsinites, here's another chance to give this spinless, chinless weasel the boot. It would be nice to watch him have to live on minimum wage, but don't you know he's already feathered his nest courtesy of the public trough. Valueless, hypocrite be thy name, Scott Walker.

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