A newly-announced U.S. Senate candidate would like voters to know that he thinks the government shouldn’t control the minimum wage. Thom Tillis (R), who just officially filed his paperwork to run for North Carolina’s senate seat on on Wednesday, told reporters shortly after filing that he thinks a minimum wage is an “artificial threshold.”
“I have serious concerns with the discussion around minimum wage because it drives up costs and it could harm jobs,” Tillis told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Obviously we want people to be paid a wage that could help make ends meet, but when you increase artificially the cost of labor to do a job, then often times those jobs will just go away.”
“When we create artificial thresholds then you run into a big problem,” he added.
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Tillis indicated he wasn’t willing to consider repealing the existing minimum wage, saying, “The reality is you can’t unring that bell.”
The minimum wage may nominally drive up costs — the current proposal to adjust it to $10.10 would raise the cost of a DVD at Walmart by one cent — but it would also have significant benefits. Walmart even is mulling its own support for a minimum wage bill because it knows that, instead of harming jobs, it would serve as a type of stimulus for the economy — not to mention it could lift 6 million people out of poverty.
But Tillis is notoriously not interested in policies giving assistance to the poorest in his state: He is currently Speaker of North Carolina’s House of Representatives, and during his tenure there he has advocated for “divid[ing] and conquer[ing] the people who are on [public] assistance.” His policies are so extreme that his hometown paper even called on him to resign.
Moreover, Tillis is out of step with his constituents; according to Public Policy Polling, 61 percent of North Carolinians support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour.