Now we know that Jeb Bush is a typical Republican in one very telling way: He believes the private sector should set the minimum wage, not the government. So if a company wants to pay its workers 10 cents an hour, he’d be just fine with that.
While speaking at an event in South Carolina earlier this week, Bush, in typical GOP fashion, deferred to the states and big business when it comes to how much American workers should be paid:
“We need to leave it to the private sector. I think state minimum wages are fine. The federal government shouldn’t be doing this. The federal government doing this will make it harder and harder for the first rung of the ladder to be reached, particularly for young people, particularly for people that have less education.”
Of course, this argument completely ignores the fact that millions of people in this country are trying to survive and provide for their families while making minimum wage. Many of them even have to work two or three minimum wage jobs just to break even.
Oddly, Bush attempted to justify his position on the minimum wage by tying it to income inequality. He noted:
“We’re moving to a world that is sticky in the ends, where it’s harder for people in poverty to move up and where the rich are doing really well and the middle is getting squeezed. And any idea that makes, that perpetuates that is one that I would oppose, and I think this minimum wage idea is exactly one of those things.”
What? Hey, I’m no Paul Krugman, but even I can’t make heads or tails of that kind of economic logic. By the Jeb Bush plan, the poor would get poorer, the rich would get much richer, and the middle class would still be squeezed. That, however, has more to do with the regressive tax policies which have been in place for years thanks to the GOP than it does mandating a basic living wage.
Jeb might want to keep his minimum wage ideas to himself if indeed he happens to win the Republican Presidential nomination. Recent polls show that 70% of Americans support raising the minimum wage.
Or perhaps Jeb Bush, like Marie Antoinette, will simply suggest they all eat cake.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.