Fox Business host Charles Payne asserted on Wednesday that raising the minimum wage was “rewarding a form of mediocrity,” and that it would be “hurtful” to companies.
On Neil Cavuto’s Fox News show on Wednesday, Payne argued that union protesters were backing minimum wage increases for McDonald’s employees as a cynical plot to get more members.
According to the Fox Business host, many of those employees would realize that they were better off with lower wages if they thought about it long enough.
“A chunk is going to go to the union, and if it were — and I’ll just say the craziest scenario — did go to $15 [an hour], not only would a chunk go to the unions, they would lose earned income tax credits — that’s a lot of people — they would lose some other benefits,” he explained. “Net-net, some might actually sit down with a pen and paper and say, ‘You know what? Keep me at $8.’”
Cavuto said that he was all for “eventually” raising the minimum wage, but that it was more important to get people jobs — even at poverty wages — first.
“The big issue is getting people a taste of capitalism, a taste of going to work, a taste of the workforce,” Payne agreed. “But having said that, too, we should also be a little bit honest about this. 600,000 manufacturing jobs are vacant right now because of a skills gap.”
“The idea of rewarding, listen, a form of mediocrity is not just hurtful to corporate America or the economy, it’s hurtful to the person you’re giving the money to,” he continued. “Because what you’re essentially saying is either, a, ‘I don’t think you’ve got what it takes,’ or b, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ll make your life more comfortable without you putting in more effort.’”
Last year, Payne had declared that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour rewarded “mediocrity,” and gave people permission to go home and have “large families.”
“The bottom line is anyone should have a right to fight for higher wages, but you know, when we start talking about minimum wage of $15 an hour, what we’re trying to say is that mediocrity should be rewarded,” he told Cavuto at the time. “What we’re trying to do actually hurts people. In other words, don’t get better. Don’t go to college. Don’t improve yourself. Go home, play video games and when you go to work, you know, have large families. There’s no responsibility on you to do anything.”
Watch the video below from Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto, broadcast May 22, 2013.