CNN contributor Kevin Madden, a former advisor and spokesperson for Mitt Romney (R), said on Sunday that Congress should not raise the minimum wage because it would deny people the "opportunity to grab that bottom rung of the economic ladder."
During a panel segment on CNN's State of the Union, host Candy Crowley observed that there was a "seriousness" to the recent protests at companies like Walmart and President Barack Obama's call to raise the minimum wage.
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile pointed out that many Walmart employees were forced to rely on food stamps and other federal benefits because they were not paid a living wage.
"The idea that someone could work hard full time and still be below the poverty level or near it and needing federal assistance seems wrong to a lot of people," Crowley noted.
"The question here is economic opportunity and how we address it," Madden remarked. "Oftentimes when you have the federal government or others step in and they start to raise the minimum wage, what happens is you take away or reduce some people's opportunity to grab that bottom rung of the economic ladder, to get the opportunity and skills that you need to move up that economic ladder."
"They're still not high paying jobs though," Crowley pressed.
Madden argued that there needed to be "greater economic opportunity across the spectrum of the economy" instead of just focusing on raising wages for the poorest Americans.
"And that's something right now that we haven't seen improve over the last few years," he insisted. "And it's not just about Congress, but it's the [Obama] administration's policies."
Watch this video CNN's State of the Union, broadcast Dec. 1, 2013.