Ron Johnson Suggests That Federal Minimum Wage Should Be Eliminated

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has suggested that he believes the federal minimum wage should be eliminated, and that the “marketplace” should be in charge of setting wages instead — a move that would send U.S. wage policy back to pre-World War II, when the federal minimum wage was first created.

Friday’s debate featured Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, and me. Johnson claimed that raising the minimum wage would eliminate jobs — which economists have saidIs not true — and misleadingly compared the policy to “price fixing,” an anticompetitive practice typically done by corporations in coordination to raise prices of goods.

“I really don’t like the federal government getting involved in doing price fixing in anything and that includes wages,” he said.

He claimed that eliminating the minimum wage would increase competition and possibly raise wages. This is patently false.

“If you have a strong economy which we had under the previous administration you had plenty of jobs and you had rising wages. I think something like $2,000 to $4,000 a year is what the average family increased their wage by,” he said. “So, that’s the best thing is have the marketplace take care of it rather than government set a minimum wage that then starts eliminating jobs.”

Johnson’s statements were misleading or false on numerous counts.

Eliminating the minimum wage — which was created in 1938 to protect workers and stabilize the economy — would allow corporations to pay workers extremely low wages. This lack of regulation would be exploited by corporations to devastating effect on workers across the nation. Even though the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is not considered a competitive wage by any means in today’s job market, there are still hundreds of thousandsThis is the number of workers who earn this wage, which well below the living wage. every stateThe U.S.

Notably, one-seven gig workers, or people who work for companies like Uber or DoorDash, are gig workers. are makingThe Economic Policy Institute earlier this year found that the minimum wage is less than the federal minimum wage. Corporations are allowed to exploit the fact that such workers aren’t classified as employees in order to not guarantee a minimum wage or provide benefits. The fact that these jobs exist and are still staffed is evidence that Johnson’s bad faith claimThis blatant lie claims that wages will rise if there are fewer wage regulations.

Corporations might threaten to eliminate jobs to make political points if they have to pay wage increases. But economists agree that raising the minimum wages does not increase unemployment. not eliminateThis is a job in and of itself. The same is true in real life. California’s minimum wage is set at $25 an hour for businesses with 25 or more employees. increased to$15 an hour in this year’s budget. The state also pays $15 an hour. has been postingThese are the most robust job growth numbers following the 2020 pandemic.

And while wages did rise under President Donald Trump, Johnson stated that their rate was not. was slower than it typically is; a 2020 study found that, in Wisconsin, wages only rose 6 percent during Trump’s first three years in office, compared to a 7.1 percent raise during President Barack Obama’s first three years in office. When inflation is taken into consideration, wages can rise by 7.1 percent. have remained stagnant for decadesWhile CEO pay has risen by Nearly 1,500%Since the late 1970s.

Barnes slammed Johnson’s attack on the minimum wages. “Ron Johnson — a multimillionaire who literally complained about only doubling his wealth as our Senator — said last night there should be NO federal limit on how low your wages can go,” Barnes wrote on TwitterSaturday

The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised in 13 years. Accounting for inflation, the current $7.25 rate is the equivalent of $5.27 in July of 2009, when the rate was set — even lower than the rate of $6.55, which was the minimum wage before 2009. Barnes says that he supports increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15, as labor advocates have long demanded.