As Think Progress noted, Republicans immediately shot down President Obama's proposal to increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour during his State of the Union address, claiming that it would harm job growth and make it harder for small businesses to hire. None of that is true of course, but that's not going to stop them from looking out for campaign donors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Restaurant Association -- both of whom are against the proposal. Guess they want to keep that cheap labor coming!
Wingnut Rep. Marsha Blackburn however, had a different take on why it's acceptable to pay Americans starvation wages, and accidentally shot a big hole in her own talking point. Don't expect her to retract what she said if she's asked about it:
Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) chose a different reason to oppose the proposal today. A stronger minimum wage, Blackburn said, would negatively affect the ability of young workers to enter the workforce as teenagers, and would prevent them from learning responsibility like she did when she was a teenage retail employee making a seemingly-measly $2.15 an hour in Mississippi:
BLACKBURN: What we’re hearing from moms and from school teachers is that there needs to be a lower entry level, so that you can get 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds into the process. Chuck, I remember my first job, when I was working in a retail store, down there, growing up in Laurel, Mississippi. I was making like $2.15 an hour. And I was taught how to responsibly handle those customer interactions. And I appreciated that opportunity.
Making $2.15 an hour certainly lower than today’s minimum wage, which federal law mandates must be at least $7.25 an hour. But what Blackburn didn’t realize is that she accidentally undermined her own argument, since the value of the dollar has changed immensely since her teenage years. Blackburn was born in 1952, so she likely took that retail job at some point between 1968 and 1970. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator, the $2.15 an hour Blackburn made then is worth somewhere between $12.72 and $14.18 an hour in today’s dollars, depending on which year she started.