California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said on Thursday that the minimum wage should not be raised because low pay was necessary for minorities and other unskilled workers who were not worth more than $7 an hour.
During an appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, host Greta Brawner asked McClintock if he could get behind a presidential candidate like Mitt Romney, who is one of an increasing number of Republicans saying that the minimum wage should be at least $10.10 an hour.
But McClintock argued that raising the minimum wage would “rip the first rung in the ladder of opportunity for teenagers, for minorities, for people who are trying to get into the job market for their first job.”
The California Republican explained that the minimum wage was not supposed to be a living wage that could support families.
“It’s not supposed to support a family. The minimum wage is that first job when you have no skills, no experience, no working history. That’s how you get into the job market, that’s how you develop that experience, develop that work record, get your first raise, then your next raise, then your promotion.”
McClintock continued: “If your labor is an unskilled person just entering the workforce is worth say $7 an hour at a job and the minimum wage is $10, you have just been made permanently unemployable. That first rung of the economic ladder has been ripped out and you can’t get on it. That is a tragedy.”
Watch the video below from C-SPAN, broadcast Jan. 22, 2015.