Chris Christie Joins Other Wealthy Conservatives In Bashing Minimum Wage
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opened up yesterday about his feelings on the progressive efforts to raise the minimum wage and lift millions of hard-working Americans out of poverty: “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage,” he said. “I really am.”
Christie is the 4th-highest paid governor in America, earning $175,000 per year. And as the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, these comments channel the views of a number of his colleagues or would-be colleagues: there is a growing list of other Republicans governors or candidates who oppose raising the minimum wage and sometimes even deny whether we need a minimum wage at all. Here are a few:
- Florida Governor Rick Scott (Net Worth: $133 million): In a gubernatorial debate Tuesday night, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) was asked whether he supports the concept of a minimum wage. “Sure,” he replied. But when asked what it should be, he responded, “How would I know — I mean, the private sector decides wages.” He may not have an answer for where the minimum wage should be, but he’s ensured that Floridians can’t decide for themselves. In 2013, he signed a bill that bans local cities and counties from passing their own higher wages or other benefits like paid sick days.
- Illinois candidate for Governor Bruce Rauner (Net Worth: Nearly $1 Billion): In a newly released radio interview, Rauner, who spends more on wine than most Illinois households spend on everything, admitted that he once favored eliminating the minimum wage entirely. His campaign asserts that “his past statements about the minimum wage were a mistake.”
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (Net Worth: Unknown): When asked whether there should or should not be a minimum wage, Walker responded that he “doesn’t think it serves a purpose.” A few weeks ago, Walker’s administration determined that the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour was a living wage, ignoring the workers who told him that it wasn’t.
In Kansas, a top economic adviser to Governor Sam Brownback went even farther, calling the federal minimum wage the “black teenage unemployment act” while speaking to Fox News.
BOTTOM LINE: So, Chris Christie, you are “tired of hearing about the minimum wage”? Try living on it. Hard-working women and men are trying to raise families on the minimum wage, and it is only getting harder and harder for them to make ends meet. A federal minimum wage of $10.10 could lift nearly 5 million Americans out of poverty and boost the economy by billions of dollars.