ONTD Political

OOPS: GOP Rep. Inadvertently Makes The Case For Nearly Doubling The Minimum Wage

1:50 pm - 02/14/2013
OOPS: GOP Rep. Inadvertently Makes The Case For Nearly Doubling The Minimum Wage

President Obama’s State of the Union proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and index it to inflation so that it keeps up with growth in the economy was quickly rebuked by top Republicans like Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who claim the minimum wage will kill jobs and hurt small businesses.

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) chose a different reason to oppose the proposal today. A stronger minimum wage, Blackburn said, would negatively affect the ability of young workers to enter the workforce as teenagers, and would prevent them from learning responsibility like she did when she was a teenage retail employee making a seemingly-measly $2.15 an hour in Mississippi:

BLACKBURN: What we’re hearing from moms and from school teachers is that there needs to be a lower entry level, so that you can get 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds into the process. Chuck, I remember my first job, when I was working in a retail store, down there, growing up in Laurel, Mississippi. I was making like $2.15 an hour. And I was taught how to responsibly handle those customer interactions. And I appreciated that opportunity.

Watch it:

Making $2.15 an hour certainly does sound worse than today’s minimum wage, which federal law mandates must be at least $7.25 an hour. But what Blackburn didn’t realize is that she accidentally undermined her own argument, since the value of the dollar has changed immensely since her teenage years. Blackburn was born in 1952, so she likely took that retail job at some point between 1968 and 1970. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator, the $2.15 an hour Blackburn made then is worth somewhere between $12.72 and $14.18 an hour in today’s dollars, depending on which year she started.

At that time, the minimum wage was $1.60, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s terms. Today’s minimum wage is equivalent to just $1.10 an hour in 1968 dollars, meaning the teenage Blackburn managed to enter the workforce making almost double the wage she now says is keeping teenagers out of the workforce.


seeinglife 14th-Feb-2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
Bahahahaha I wish I could high-five the author of this article!
kitanabychoice 14th-Feb-2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
mercystars 14th-Feb-2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
quite literally none of these people think before they speak, do they?
deathchibi 15th-Feb-2013 01:08 am (UTC)
Thinking is for commies and hippies, you leftist pinko.

Or that seems to be the trend anyway.

I just cringe every time I hear someone my dad's age tell me how I should TOTALLY be making big bucks because they ran off on a road trip and blah blah. I can't run off on a road trip and just leave it all behind. I'd starve to death and get speared by loan collectors.
toastieghostie 14th-Feb-2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
Even presuming the numbers worked out, the logic of "being higher paid = working better jobs" doesn't make sense. Teenagers will be working the same entry level jobs, they'll just be paid more for it. So...what.
furrygreen 14th-Feb-2013 10:30 pm (UTC)
I think it would do the exact opposite of what she's saying. If kids know you can make a fortune at a earlier age if you work really hard (this is relative to what teens and kids think of what a fortune is and not necessarily what an adult may think), they'll be more apt to try harder for better jobs because you instill into them that it is possible.

Now-a-days? I know my first job in a movie theater didn't particularly endear me to working long hours without breaks or lunch for the shitty pay I made. In theory it may seem like it would be the opposite but if you grow up seeing your parents really struggle and work very hard for little pay than I think that makes kids realize that it doesn't really matter how hard they try. If their parents couldn't do it, why would they be able to? Ya know?
shortsweetcynic 14th-Feb-2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
who claim the minimum wage will kill jobs and hurt small businesses

i think i already know the answer to this question, but is there any actual logic to this statement, or is it just refuting whatever the president says because that is the sole purpose of the GOP these days? (a la the Holocaust Apologist article from a couple of weeks ago over the word "senseless")

What we’re hearing from moms and from school teachers is that there needs to be a lower entry level, so that you can get 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds into the process.

is this actually an issue? i've been working since i was 15, and i don't know anybody who wasn't able to get SOME kind of work as a teenager, from the time that i was in high school to now, when my nieces are. the work's there if they want it.

ugh. these assholes make my head hurt.

OP: this article was an excellent find. :D
thecityofdis 14th-Feb-2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
lots of companies will undoubtedly lay off workers in the face of substantial wage hikes - economics is a behavioral science, and companies are motivated by the bottom line. if having 10 employees tomorrow is suddenly going to cost more than ten employees today, they'll either have to eat that cost somehow or, more likely, vote somebody off the island.

whether that is the right thing to do or not, or sufficient reason to pass this legislation or not, is a different debate.

and teenagers don't get those jobs anymore, virtually anywhere that i've seen, not since 07-08 - the economy is so tanked that you have adults with years and years of experience vying for things like part-time work at the movie theater or grocery store. teenagers have been crowded out of the market, which sucks for them, but since they are by and large not the household breadwinners, i think it was a huge red herring for anyone to even try and make that argument seriously.
redstar826 14th-Feb-2013 11:24 pm (UTC)
In the long term though, an increase in the minimum wage would actually help a lot of businesses since people would have more money to spend. I know if my pay suddenly went up, I'd probably buy some more clothes, eat out a bit more, spend a little more on entertainment, etc.
eyetosky 14th-Feb-2013 10:25 pm (UTC)
tabaqui 14th-Feb-2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
So sick of people being paid a living wage being the DEATH OF AMERICA or wtf ever.
darlahood 15th-Feb-2013 12:16 am (UTC)
I feel like I need an "adjustable for inflation app" for when I talk to baby boomers.

Dropped out of high school, burned your draft card and got a manual job in 1972? Great!! In today's adjusted dollars you were making $50K/year. (Did this with my dad and he's still flabbergasted. It's the best boomer party trick ever.)
psychesky 14th-Feb-2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
When I was 14 I had my first job at an ice cream stand over the summer. Seasonal jobs don't (or at least didn't then) have to pay minimum wage. I only had to work 4 hours shifts, only a few days a week. I learned about interacting with people, handing money, and how to have the self restraint to not eat 5 ice cream cones an hour. THOSE are the kind of jobs teenagers should have - shifts that aren't backbreaking, teaching responsibility and not interfering with school. In a better economy, I'd have no problem with those being paid less (especially seasonal things). Volunteer work and internships are good bets as well.

Unfortunately today lots of teenagers have to work to save money for overpriced college degrees, all while juggling school where they try to get grades for scholarships. And 18 year olds? Lady, I wasn't 18 when I graduated.

tl;dr: if people were paid a living wage in this country and education was free/cheaper, maybe teenagers wouldn't have to work their asses off in high school and you could justify this. Or, you wouldn't have adults competing with unskilled teenagers for jobs and things like ice cream stands would be open to them.

Edited at 2013-02-14 10:42 pm (UTC)
lainiest 14th-Feb-2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
I agree with this comment, but also mostly just want to be icon buddies.
tigerdreams 14th-Feb-2013 10:49 pm (UTC)
Actually, Rep. Blackburn, you know what keeps teens out of the workforce and causes jobs to be available to fewer people? Paying people so little that they can't survive on just one job. When you have adults trying to scrape by on less than $8 an hour, they need to hold down two (or more) jobs to pay the bills and put food on the table. If you have the same people working multiple jobs, then fewer jobs are available to other people. The solution is to make each job pay enough to live on, so each person only needs to work one job to survive, and there are more jobs to go around. Crazy, innit?
skellington1 14th-Feb-2013 11:00 pm (UTC)

Also, people who are able to survive on one job instead of three will tend to do that job BETTER, because they're not dead-on-their-feet tired all the time, trying to juggle their responsibilities and getting distracted. It's almost like being decent human beings would be good for employers, too!
kittenmommy 14th-Feb-2013 11:58 pm (UTC)

That is amazing! LOL
chimbleysweep 15th-Feb-2013 01:41 am (UTC)
lol whoops.

I really do feel grateful that I live in the state with the highest minimum wage. And that it's actually over $9.

When I can find a job I'll probably appreciate it even more, but you know. GRATEFUL ANYWAY.
astridmyrna 15th-Feb-2013 01:42 am (UTC)
cinnamontoast 15th-Feb-2013 04:46 am (UTC)
I <3 Bill.
alexvdl 15th-Feb-2013 01:48 am (UTC)
Fuck 9 dollars. Twenty would be way better.
foureyedgirl 15th-Feb-2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
Seriously. That's a real living wage imo.
wikilobbying 15th-Feb-2013 03:32 am (UTC)
current minimum wage is a joke, and as good as $9/hr sounds right now compared to my current wage, that would still be a joke. sorry, but as long as you have a bunch of teenagers working minimum wage jobs to try to scrap together cash for their future/present + tons of adults working minimum wage jobs just to scrape by paycheck to paycheck, anything south of $10/hr ain't gonna cut it - and neither will that $10/hr anyway.
foureyedgirl 15th-Feb-2013 08:33 pm (UTC)
lastrega 15th-Feb-2013 11:37 am (UTC)
We have a tiered system of age-based junior wages for workers aged 15-18 that seems to work okay.
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