Chris Christie and the Minimum Wage

While campaigning last week for a congressional candidate in the district in which The Curmudgeon lives, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he was “tired” of hearing about the minimum wage and the desire of some people to raise it.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he also said that

I’m going to be very clear, and I’ll say it again: I do not think parents in this country are sitting around the kitchen table saying to themselves that their lives would be better if their children could only make a higher minimum wage.

The problem here is that Christie doesn’t understand who is paid the minimum wage.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, three-quarters of those who earn minimum wage are twenty years of age or older. Seventy-five percent. That means many or even most are supporting themselves and, in many cases, helping to support or entirely supporting a family.

In other words, the people who earn minimum age aren’t just teenagers working for a little cash to buy iTunes downloads and blue Gatorade.

In addition, thirty-five million people – twenty-six percent of the U.S. workforce – earns less than $10.55 an hour.

So raising the minimum wage to $10.90 an hour, which would only restore it to its spending power of forty years ago and not help people get ahead even a little, would affect not just those currently earning minimum wage but more than thirty-five million people.

That’s a lot of people.

christieIf Chris Christie understood this, understood that adults in his state with families and homes and medical bills were trying to live on a minimum wage that doesn’t even buy what minimum wage bought forty years ago, maybe he would be more interested in the issue.

And at the very least, he wouldn’t complain that he was “tired” of hearing about it.

 

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