New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) was on the trail Tuesday stumping for Maryland’s GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan before he gave a speech at the Chamber of Commerce. Complaining about Democrats using the minimum wage as a campaign issue he said this:
“I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am. I don’t think there’s a mother or a father sitting around the kitchen table tonight in America saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.”
The progressive research group American Bridge provided a recording of his remarks.
It seems Christie is operating under the false assumption that the majority of people making minimum wage are teenagers. According to a study conducted by David Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute, the average age of a minimum wage worker is 35. Many of these workers-27%-have children of their own, and 19% of American children overall would benefit from the increase of $10.10 an hour. Cooper also found that the majority of the minimum wage earners are women. Women make up 48% of the work force, yet 55% of the beneficiaries of an increase would be women.
Cooper goes on to state that a parent earning the current minimum wage of 7.25 an hour who works full time, year round, does not earn enough to be above the federal poverty line. To compare, he states that in the 1960’s and 1970’s a full time, year round minimum wage earner was above the poverty line for a family of two.
Let’s forget about for a second parents sitting around their kitchen table discussing their children’s future. While that obviously happens, parents earning minimum wage are also going to be concerned that they may not have a kitchen to sit in if their rent is raised, or their car needs a new transmission, or if their kid gets sick. They’re one bill away from being wiped out, and that’s how they have to live their lives. I bet they’re not tired of hearing about the minimum wage being raised, Governor Christie.
Christie is simply out of touch, and the possible 2016 presidential candidate obviously doesn’t know what day-to-day life is like for millions of American workers. Those millions would be lifted out of poverty by simply increasing the minimum wage. The increase is a ballot initiative in several states in the upcoming midterm election. Let’s give America a raise.
Watch the video below, courtesy of American Bridge:
|Brian Wood is a writer, political activist, and a fierce advocate for social justice. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.|