Conservative economist Art Laffer — who helped popularize the discredited notion of “trickle down” economics in the Reagan administration — says not all American workers deserve to make a living wage of $15 an hour, especially if they’re already poor or happen to be a minority.
Laffer was a guest on Fox News Tuesday for a debate on raising the minimum wage, along with Austan Goolsbee, who served on the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration when host Sandra Smith mentioned that some companies might automate and use machines to replace workers rather than pay $15 an hour, Mediaite reports:
“Smith cited the recent foray of McDonald’s into testing voice-ordering technology at 10 of its Chicago restaurants, where only one-fifth of orders need to be taken by humans, according to CEO Chris Kempczinski. He said the automated order-takers have an accuracy rate of about 85%.”
That’s when Laffer went off on an extended rant about not paying certain people a living wage:
“Yeah, for those people, Sandra, who are coming into the labor force brand fresh –not old-timers who’ve been around for awhile – the poor, the minorities the disenfranchised, those with less education, young people who haven’t had the job experience. These people aren’t worth $15 an hour in most cases.”
So if you’re poor, a minority or disenfranchised, Art Laffer sees no need for you to be able to pay your bills and raise your family. You should just be thankful you’ve got a job at all.
Laffer then added this bit of BS:
“And so therefore when you have a $15 an hour minimum wage, they don’t get that first job, they don’t get requisite the skills to earn above the minimum wage. And after a few years they become unemployable. And after becoming unemployable, they become hostile, and that what you’ll find is happening is this technology has created an underclass of people who are really just bid out of the labor market and will remain out of the labor market for most of their lives. And this I think is just a tragedy. I love the technology but the technology is replacing the jobs for these people. And it’s a killer. It’s a killer for just the people who need the help the most.”
What in the world?! Someone needs to tell Art Laffer that a person working 40 hours a week for $15 an hour would only make $31,200 a year before taxes are withheld. At the current national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that same person makes a paltry $15,080 a year before taxes. Are the poor, minorities, and the disenfranchised supposed to support a family on that? What planet does Professor Laffer live on?
The national minimum wage should be at least $15 an hour. Until it is, every member of Congress should be paid $7.25 per hour.
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