Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) formally kicked off her presidential campaign yesterday, painting herself as a Tea Party candidate who is ready to lead the country back to prosperity (even if her former chief of staff doesn’t think so).
Today, in classic Tea Party form, Bachmann reiterated her long-held belief that a federally mandated minimum wage is a job-killing federal regulation that may need to be abolished.
In 2005, Bachmann told the Minnesota state Senate that abolishing the minimum wage could “wipe out unemployment completely.” When Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos asked her for evidence to back up that claim today, Bachmann struggled to find an answer, initially dodging the question before finally referring to the minimum wage as a regulation that is “inhibiting job growth” and saying it needed to be examined:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me try this one more time. So you’re saying the minimum wage is one of those regulations you’d take a look at? You’d try to eliminate it?
BACHMANN: Well, what I’m saying is I think we need to look at all regulations. Whatever ones are inhibiting job growth, that’s what we need to look at.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the minimum wage is one of them?
BACHMANN: All regulations, George. I think every department, we have just too much expansion of government, and what we need to do is tamp that down so the American people can keep more of what they make.
Paul Krugman has rebutted conservative arguments about the minimum wage, saying, “In reality, reducing wages would at best do nothing for employment; more likely it would actually be contractionary.” As Pat Garofalo found in 2009, almost all of the economic research shows that the minimum wage has little or no effect on unemployment.
Recent statistics show that wages are stagnant and the majority of jobs that are being added are low-wage jobs. But the workers in those jobs making the minimum wage would actually need an increase in the wage to match the buying power of the minimum wage in 1968.
Another recent study in Michigan showed that the current federal minimum wage — a paltry $7.25 per hour — would need to be doubled to cover basic expenses for a single adult worker and more than tripled to cover the same expenses for an adult worker with children.