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Kingston: Americans Should ‘Marry and Work Longer Hours’ To Escape Poverty

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"Kingston: Americans Should ‘Marry and Work Longer Hours’ To Escape Poverty"

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Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) made headlines last month after complaining about Congress’ new schedule that requires members to work five days a week:

“Keeping us up here eats away at families,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says.”

Yet, last night, Kingston offered this advice to Americans living in poverty: work longer hours. During House debate over the minimum wage, Kingston said raising the minimum wage would do nothing for poor Americans. Instead, if people marry and work longer hours, “they would be out of poverty,” he said. “It’s an economic fact.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/01/minimking.320.240.flv]

Kingston is wrong. The annual salary for full-time workers earning the federal minimum wage “still leaves a family of three about $6,000 short of the poverty threshold.”

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Full transcript:

KINGSTON: If the Democrat Party truly wanted to take on poverty, they would have to say what is the relationship between marriage and the poverty level and between hours worked and the poverty level, because the truth of the matter is, if people end poverty, many of them would marry and work 40 hours a week, they would be out of poverty. … It’s not something I have the knowledge of or the information of, but it’s an economic fact that I hope we could have committee hearings on and discuss this. If we want to attack poverty, that’s where we need to go. With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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