This morning, Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow called the federal minimum wage “a terrible idea.” The only thing terrible about the federal minimum wage is that it hasn’t been increased in almost a decade.
Since its institution in 1938, the federal minimum wage has helped millions of Americans move into the middle class. In the decades since, business interests have fought every federal minimum wage increase tooth and nail. That the White House’s chief economic advisor would see this history of business owner versus worker conflict and side with the wealthy says alot about who this administration works for.
Rather than see small business owners and the working class come together to ensure big businesses follow Amazon’s lead and stop pushing payroll expenses onto taxpayers, Trump’s White House wants to stoke division between small business owners and their workers. These groups have a lot more to gain from a living wage than this administration is letting on. But let the Republicans tell it, and a wage increase will result in greater unemployment. Well, that remains to be seen in the 29 states with a minimum wage greater than $7.25/hr.
At the end of the day, Trump’s administration is only pretending to care about small businesses so they could lower wages for large corporations. Just look at what Republicans have done when given the chance to help small businesses and their middle class owners. Last year, they passed an almost $2 trillion tax overhaul that almost exclusively benefited the millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. They very easily could have included targeted tax relief for small business owners. They did not. Nor did they include it in the recent tax bills voted out of the House. As such, we should see Kudlow’s attack on the minimum wage for what it is– a ploy to bring the millions of workers already earning the federal minimum or less even closer to poverty to enrich donors.
This is because it’s one thing to argue against raising the minimum wage. That much is expected from an administration that works on behalf of corporations and not the middle class. But the White House’s chief economic advisor advocating against the very existence of a federal minimum wage means they’re preparing to fight any proposed increases. Even if you don’t earn the minimum wage, this is a workplace regulation worth fighting to preserve and improve. Without it, millions will be plunged into poverty, and our economy will be upended. Make no mistake, should Republicans maintain control of the House, passing legislation that increases the minimum wage will be an uphill battle.