On Wednesday, President Obama said “It’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that, in real terms right now, is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office.” On Thursday, a day after the president’s statements, U.S. Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) said that minimum wage has “outlived its usefulness.” “
“It may have been of some value back in the Great Depression. I would vote to repeal the minimum wage,” Barton said, more specifically, in a statement to the National Journal.
The issue of minimum wage represents another in a myriad of struggles between the progressive-leaning president and the more conservative-dominated House of Representatives. While even the most right-leaning GOP members in the House likely do not share Barton’s views on repealing minimum wage, his views still demonstrate the massive differences between the policies supported by the Obama Administration and those being pushed by Congress.
The issue of minimum wage in particular has becoming more and more widely discussed. McDonald’s employees and other fast food workers had staged a series of protests requesting a $15/hr minimum for their services. California’s Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill into law to raise the minimum wage to $10 throughout the state, the highest minimum wage law throughout the country. President Obama believes that the standard minimum wage throughout the country should be $9/hr, the Huffington Post reports.
Earlier this summer, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) expressed sentiments similar to those of Barton.
“The question I want to ask, if we are interested in social justice, and we want to honor work instead of getting a welfare check, then wouldn’t a more efficient way to help people in poverty be to increase the earned-income tax credit rather than do what we always do here, which is come up with a big idea and send the bill to somebody else? What we’re doing is cominng up with the big idea and sending the bill to the employer,” Alexander said regarding the issue of raising the minimum wage law.
While many might not agree with Alexander’s views, at least he has more of a solution than Barton, who did not propose any alternative to repealing the country’s longstanding minimum wage laws.