Former Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie (R), his party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in Virginia, told a gathering in Virginia Beach in May that he opposes any federal minimum wage. His reasoning: he wants to let states and localities compete with each other and minimum wage jobs are mostly training for teaching people how to be employees.
“I don’t support a federally mandated minimum wage. If the states want to raise the minimum wages — and municipalities like New York City — that’s fine. They should be free to do that and they are free to do that and they do it,” Gillespie argued, suggesting that a federally mandated $10.10 minimum wage would kill 500,000 jobs:
GILLESPIE: A lot of those jobs are second-earners in the family. A lot of them are first time workers, it’s the first job they’ve ever had. A minimum wage job is where you learn to get to work on time. It’s where you learn the great feeling at the end of getting that paycheck and knowing you gave an honest week’s work. It’s where you learn the social aspect of work, where you play on a softball team or go for a beer after work. We want to foster that and incentivize work in this country.
Watch the video:
In fact, the vast majority of workers who would benefit from a minimum wage hike are adults who work to pay rent, cover hospital bills, and feed families. One in five American children has a parent in that group. Fast food workers — one of the largest subsets of minimum wage workers — are disproportionately black and female compared to the overall population.
By leaving minimum wage policy entirely up to states and localities, as Gillespie proposes, states would have an incentive to race to the bottom to attract companies eager to take advantage of the cheapest possible labor.
Gillespie conceded that a “small percentage of people who make the minimum wage who are heads of households — I think it’s three percent.” But said that rather than raising their wages, “we should find a way to help them without destroying their jobs and the other 97 percent of minimum wage earners’ jobs as well.”
The video was posted Wednesday by the Democratic Party of Virginia.
(ht: Blue Virginia)
A spokesperson for Gillespie told the Huffington Post on Wednesday that despite his statements opposing any federal minimum wage laws, he does not support repealing the federal minimum wage law.