Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, said he doesn’t believe in a national minimum wage, and if Democrats wanted to prove a point with their Wednesday vote on the issue, they might as well have put the threshold at $100 per hour.
Mr. Coburn said arguments from Democrats that Republicans turned their back on hardworking Americans by filibustering a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour were “malarkey.”
“The benefit is small; cost of lost jobs is great,” Mr. Coburn said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It goes against free market principles. [Maine Sen.] Susan Collins is going to be bringing forth a better proposal.”
“We don’t know what the minimum wage should be,” he added. “How’d they pick $10.10? Why not 22 [dollars]? Why not a hundred dollars? That makes everybody make $200,000 a year.”
The country has an economic system “on its butt right now” because of poor leadership and poor policy from both parties, he said.
“You’re fixing a symptom rather than fixing the problem,” he said, saying what the country needs is a demand for workers that’s being hampered in part by the Affordable Care Act.
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“I don’t believe you ought to interfere in the market,” he continued. “If there’s to be a minimum wage, if Oklahomans want a minimum wage, we ought to have it. I don’t believe there ought to be a national minimum wage — that’s my position.”
“I believe that markets work better than bureaucrats and I think there’s a lot to downsize and lots written in the economics field on raising the minimum wage, whether you raise it a dollar or 20 dollars,” he said. “So if you want to prove the point, let’s raise them all to 20 dollars. Or 25 dollars if you want to give somebody a livable wage, because at 25 dollars you put ‘em at median family income which has not increased since 1989 in this country and everybody else is going backwards as the very rich and the very wealthy move way out.”