Tlaib Calls for $20-an-Hour Minimum Wage

Tlaib Calls for $20-an-Hour Minimum Wage
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) smiles at a House hearing in front of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, in Washington on July 12, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is under attack because she proposed a minimum wage of $20 per hour nationwide during a speech she held at an event, titled “Server for an Hour” in Detroit, last Sunday.

During the speech—which was recorded by members of the conservative activists’ group America Rising—which came during remarks to the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan and the labor rights group One Fair Wage, Tlaib remarked on the minimum wage for employees who depend significantly on tips, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Tipped employees make $2.13 per hour, federally,” she said. “Think about that for one minute. People cannot live on those kind of wages, and I can’t allow people to be living off tips, you know, relying on tips for wages. It’s just not enough to support our families.”

She then said, “By the way, when we started it, it should have been $15. Now I think it should be $20. Make sure America Rising hears that,” she continued, to applause. “It should be $20 an hour; $18 to $20 an hour at this point.”

“They say all of this is going to raise the cost, but I can tell you, milk has gone up, eggs have gone up, everything has gone up. The cost of a lot of things that we need has gone up already.”

Immediately after Tlaib’s remarks went public, they were met with derision nationwide by conservative commenters and politicians.

“Why not $20?” Guy Benson, Fox News contributor, and Town Hall Editor said, “Or $50? Go, Rashida, Go!” Fox News reported.

“They should make it $1,000 an hour and cure income inequality inside of a month, obviously,” Ben Shapiro said. “These radical Democratic policy proposals are the political equivalent of the pitch for the Fyre Festival.”

The critics refer to a study by the Congressional Budget Office released on Monday which stated that:

“In an average week in 2025, the $15 option would boost the wages of 17 million workers who would otherwise earn less than $15 per hour. Another 10 million workers otherwise earning slightly more than $15 per hour might see their wages rise as well. But 1.3 million other workers would become jobless.”

It further explains that “There is a two-thirds chance that the change in employment would be between about zero and a decrease of 3.7 million workers. The number of people with annual income below the poverty threshold in 2025 would fall by 1.3 million.”

In short, according to critics, a federally held raise to $15 per hour by 2025—more than doubling the currently held standard of $7.25 (or a sevenfold increase for tipped workers) would lead to mass unemployment, more poverty, and a cringing economy. Let alone what a minimum wage of $20 per hour would cause.

The issue of a minimum wage has been a long-standing one among progressive democratic politicians. Some even go as far as advocating a guaranteed basic income for the lower and middle classes. An idea abhorred by most conservative analysts.

On July 18 the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives nonetheless passed a bill, the so-called Raise The Wage Act, that would give way to a gradual rise, up to a $15 per hour in 2024. Chances are slim the bill will ever make it past the GOP-controlled Senate, however.

Yet 29 states have already set their minimum wage standard higher than the federal one. Seven states are on par with the schedule outlined by the Raise The Wage Act and will raise the bar to $15 in the coming years.

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