One of the big points in President Obama’s State of the Union address was his call to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00 an hour, to help lift families out of poverty and give the economy another much-needed boost.
So of course, the Republican Party reflexively opposes the idea, as they do all ideas that don’t benefit the wealthy — or that originate from President Obama. You knew this was coming: Top Republicans Oppose Minimum Wage Hike.
RYAN: I think it’s inflationary. I think it actually is counterproductive in many ways. You end up costing job from people who are the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Look, I wish we could just pass a law saying everybody should make more money without any adverse consequences. The problem is you’re costing jobs from those who are just trying to get entry level jobs. The goal ought to be is to get people out of entry level jobs into better jobs, better paying jobs. That’s better education and a growing economy. Those are some of the things he talked about and I don’t think raising minimum wage — and history is very clear about this — doesn’t actually accomplish those goals.
RUBIO: I want to see people making a lot more than $9 an hour in the United States. And the way do you that is through rapid economic growth where people are being paid a lot more than that. $9 is not enough. I think we all would want that. The question is is a minimum wage the best way to do it? And history has said the answer is absolutely not. In fact, the impact of minimum wage usually is that businesses hire less people. That’s the impact of it. They’ll just hire less people to do the same amount of work…We have a lot of history to prove that the minimum wage , raising the minimum wage does not grow the middle class.
[Live event concluded…]
Here’s an astoundingly tone-deaf statement from Mitt Romney, tailor-made for his rivals to exploit: “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”
Obviously, Romney isn’t really saying that he doesn’t care about people living in poverty; he’s arguing that a social safety net exists that can take care of them.
But to phrase it like this, after all the criticism of his immense wealth, shows someone who’s incredibly out of touch — and at the very least, insensitive.
Romney says, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair , I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich…. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
O’Brien asked him to clarify his remarks saying, “There are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, ‘That sounds odd.’”
Romney continues, “We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor…. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus…. The middle income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.”
Romney is infamous for the blatant dishonesty of his campaign ads; for example, his very first ad featured a deliberately out-of-context quote from President Obama. And when called on it, Romney’s staff refused to retract the ad, gloated instead that it had “worked.”
With this gaffe today, Romney can only hope that his opponents behave more ethically than he does.
The Algerian government is suddenly very concerned that their poor people get enough to eat: Algeria steps up grain imports, eyes Tunisia ‘virus’.
ALGIERS/PARIS (Reuters) – Algeria confirmed it bought almost a million tons of wheat on Wednesday and ordered an urgent speeding up of grain imports, a move seen heading off unrest over food prices as protests swept north Africa.