Congressman Tells Low-Income Worker: Higher Minimum Wage Is ‘Not Right’
BY SCOTT KEYES ON APRIL 16, 2014 AT 8:29 AM
“Congressman Tells Low-Income Worker: Higher Minimum Wage Is ‘Not Right’“
Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) addresses a town hall meeting in Tampa.
CREDIT: SCOTT KEYES
TAMPA, Florida — People like Shaneeka Rainer are often told that they shouldn’t try to get the minimum wage increased because it only really applies to teenagers working entry-level jobs. That indeed may have described Rainer 10 years ago, when he first entered the workforce. But a decade after he got his first job in fast food, Rainer still finds himself working at Arby’s for minimum wage.
In other words, Rainer has worked an entire decade receiving only one raise: when Congress increased the minimum wage in 2007.
And so he showed up at his congressman’s public forum on Tuesday to ask Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) to finally give him and millions of other low-income Americans a raise.
Ross, who is seeking a third term representing Tampa’s northwest suburbs, was unmoved by Rainer’s plea. “It’s not right,” the Florida Republican said. “If we are going to make it a living wage, who’s going to pay for it?”
An audience member declared that he’d gladly pay slightly more for a hamburger in order to increase the minimum wage, prompting applause from the crowd.
Rainer asked the congressman whether he would be willing to come work at Arby’s with him for one day so he can see how difficult minimum wage work is, but Ross demurred. Instead, he railed against the very notion of a minimum wage and even the concept of labor laws in general. “If the government’s going to tell me how much I can get paid and when I can work and when I can’t work, then we have a serious problem in this country,” Ross said.
RAINER: Would you support the Obama act of raising the federal minimum wage?