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Politicians Don’t Know The Minimum Wage, But Know It’s Too Much

Politicians Don’t Know The Minimum Wage, But Know It’s Too Much

When politicians run for office, they are supposed to represent all of their constituents.† But how many of them really are in touch with the every day struggles of the working class.

In fact, how many of them even know what the minimum wage is?† Very few.

It became all too apparent when three Republican candidates vying for the party nomination in Missouri were asked whether they knew the federal minimum wage, and whether they would agree to raise it.† All three unanimously agreed that there should be no increase — despite the fact that they had no idea what the current wage was.

As Think Progress reports, “The candidatesí explanations for not wanting to raise the minimum wage ranged from nonsensical (Brunner said his business gave ‘better than the minimum benefits’) to extreme, with Akin calling for scrapping the minimum wage altogether. ‘I donít think the government should be setting prices on wages in any way shape or form,’ said Akin. Steelman was opposed to raising the minimum wage because she ‘think[s] itís high enough as it is.’ A person working a minimum-wage job for 40-hour work weeks with no vacation would earn just $15,080 over the course of the year, before taxes.”

Is there an assumption that those who earn the bare minimum don’t vote?† That idea, along with the callousness of not believing a worker deserves enough money to at least be able to live on without needing government assistance, could come back to haunt many during the 2012 election.† Greg Sargent notes that the Missouri exchange serves “as the latest example of Republicans being beholden to corporate benefactors, and scapegoating people on the lowest rungs of the income ladder for our continued economic suffering. Given that the issue will likely be key in other campaigns and even in the presidential race, how this argument fares in a red-leaning state will be a key test case worth watching.”

Should the minimum wage be raised?† Doesn’t it benefit everyone when workers can support themselves without assistance? It seems that to be a Republican in 2012, your answer has to be “no.”

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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306 comments

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9:22PM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Minimum wage stimks, but I'll take a mw job over no job.

6:34PM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

That's 'rich', everyone who claims this needs to show how they live on it for at least 3 months!

7:45AM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

I agree with you that the privilleged would soon know what the minimum wage was if they had to live on it for a year. That being said it also is endemic that when you have an increase in the minimum wage plus tax cuts the cost of living seems to escalate. I don't know why that is but it happens all too frequently. I guess if they can't get you one way they'll get you another.

6:17PM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

I would love to see Congress, President, Senators, CEO's & their families all live on min. wage for a year, they would just die. These are the people who think they are doing us justice, well they really need to live it. Feed their families, pay fuel & car insurance premiums, pay home taxes,state & gov't taxes, utilities, mortgage, car insurance, pay health coverage, the deductibles, co-pays,medications, clothes for family, and misc. expenses.
They would not know how to even start.
They would not even want to take the challenge.

12:21PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

I love how none of the 'future' leaders don't know the minimum wage but insist it isn't right. Only arrogant leaders could not care about the laws of their country.

2:08PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

If you ask me, all the wealth, resources and assets of the 1% should be stripped and divided equally among the 99%; then the 1% placed on minimum wage, the Koch brothers jailed and wall street crooks placed in solitary confinement without the possibility of parole.

7:20AM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

Maybe politicians should be paid what the average sorker make. Ans should have to put in thirty years before they get a pension like us. lets make it so or boot them out. Hell lets just boot them out.

10:48AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

If we could change the way Congress gets paid, (for example minimum wage , no over time and no benefits) We would see less millionaires in congress, but we would finally have intelligent laws that are designed to help the people and not big business. Oh, yes and minimum wage would see a major increase.

10:42AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

I think all the politicians, plus all the overpaid, greedy, CEO's and corporate heads, should be made to live on minimum wage for one whole year. With none of their cushy benefits, or company paid cards and accounts. Then ask them what they think about minimum wage.

10:15PM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

SHAMEFUL DISREGARD FOR OTHERS.

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