Carson, Trump, Rubio: No Minimum Wage Increase

The comments at last night's presidential debate come after protests in Philly and other cities.

It’s no secret that there’s a growing movement in the United States to raise the minimum wage to $15. Just yesterday, fast-food workers in Philadelphia and 270 other cities walked off the job and protested for higher wages. In Philly, roughly 100 workers marched to City Hall and down Broad Street seeking public support. And sentiment is rising across the country that $7.25 per hour doesn’t cut it.

So it was fitting that last night’s business-focused Republican presidential debate started out with a question about raising the minimum wage. And as quickly as it was brought up, was as quickly as it was shot down by three candidates. One, however, said “people need help.” Here are their comments:

Donald Trump says it would hurt our standing as a world power:

Taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it. … I would not do it.

Ben Carson says higher wages make it tougher to get jobs:

Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases. It’s particularly a problem in the black community. Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, who are looking for one. You know, that — and that’s because of those high wages. If you lower those wages, that comes down. … I would not raise it. I would not raise it, specifically because I’m interested in making sure that people are able to enter the job market and take advantage of opportunities.

Marco Rubio says raising the minimum wage won’t raise wages overall:

If I thought that raising the minimum wage was the best way to help people increase their pay, I would be all for it, but it isn’t. In the 20th century, it’s a disaster. If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine. And that means all this automation that’s replacing jobs and people right now is only going to be accelerated. … For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.

John Kasich addressed the issue briefly:

In the state of Ohio … we do have a moderate increase in the minimum wage. And I got to tell you, my father carried mail on his back. His father was a coal miner. He died of black lung. He was losing his eyesight. My mother’s mother lived with us. She could barely speak English. I come from a town where if the wind blew the wrong way, people found themselves out of work. An economic theory is fine, but you know what? People need help.