At a Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee meeting to mark 75 years since the signing of the Federal Labor Standards Act, which set a minimum wage and mandated overtime pay, Alexander, the ranking Republican on the committee, jumped into a discussion between a witness from the Heritage Foundation and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to say of the minimum wage, “I do not believe in it.” Sanders followed up, asking,
“So you do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage?”
“That’s correct,” Alexander responded.
“You would abolish the minimum wage?”
Alexander went on to call instead for a higher Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor and referenced a negative income tax.
Watch the exchange:
Despite claims by conservatives, studies have shown that raising the minimum wage would not kill jobs or hurt small businesses. In fact, raising the wage can actually help businesses in a variety of ways. Nor is a raise going to mostly impact teenagers working for spare change: Nearly 90 percent of minimum wage workers are 20 years old or older, and more than a quarter are parents. And even worse, there is evidence that making such a low wage can harm a worker’s child.
While millions of workers would see a boost from a raise in the wage, it is women and people of color who stand to benefit most of all.
Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, as Democrats have proposed, would actually bring the wage in line with its historical purchasing power. Had it been indexed to inflation in 1968, it would be $10.40 today.
While Republicans like Alexander stand in opposition to a raise after President Obama called for it, many Republicans supported it when President Bush proposed a hike, including 65 who are still serving in Congress.