John Boehner Destroys His Own Minimum Wage Argument

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House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sat down for their first joint interview since the new Republican majority Congress convened earlier this month.

As with other Republicans before him, John Boehner managed to destroy his own minimum wage argument last weekend during that interview with 60-Minutes.

As MSNBC reports, “When policymakers debate increasing the minimum wage, there’s nothing wrong with them drawing on their personal experiences when making a decision. Some members of Congress, however, really aren’t good at it.”

The following exchange between CBS’s Scott Pelly and Speaker Boehner about the odds of Congress increasing the federal minimum wage is a perfect example of a Congressman fumbling the facts.

Scott Pelley: Increasing the federal minimum wage?

John Boehner: Bad idea.

Scott Pelley: Dead?

John Boehner: It’s a bad idea. I’ve had every kinda rotten job you can imagine growin’ up and gettin’ myself through school. And– and I wouldn’t have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage. You take the bottom rungs off the economic ladder.

However, as it turns out Speaker Boehner didn’t exactly tell the truth, as Huffington Post reported.

When Boehner was first taking on those “rotten jobs,” the minimum wage was actually at its historic high. And when the wage later dipped relative to inflation, Congress passed a series of hikes that raised it some more.

According to Department of Labor statistics, the minimum wage stood at $1.60 an hour in 1968 – the highest it has ever been when adjusted for inflation…. At first, Boehner went into sales – selling plastics, specifically – after his brief stint with the Navy ended. In 1971, he enrolled in Xavier University. According to a recent Politico profile, Boehner took a number of odd jobs while attending school there, among them “a series of humbling janitorial and construction jobs.” He would graduate in 1977.

MSNBC puts the final nail in Boehner’s coffin reporting that although Boehner “expressed relief that the government didn’t keep ‘imposing’ a higher minimum wage at the time,” that in reality,  “the government actually did keep ‘imposing’ a higher minimum wage, raising in 1974, 1975, and again in 1976 – just as Boehner was working through college.”

And adjusted for inflation, those minimum wages had greater purchasing power than the minimum wage now. If Boehner looks back at that era fondly, he has no reason to create tougher conditions for low-wage workers now.

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