Linda McMahon isn't the only Republican who's getting unwanted media attention for attacking the minimum wage.
Republican Chris Dudley has spent a week having to clarify what he meant when he said "it doesn’t make sense that our waitresses are getting tips plus the highest minimum wage in the country," and going on to say that "I agree with you on that issue" in responding to a questioner who said the minimum wage is too high. He's even suggesting that he didn't say what's on the video recording in which he says those things.
In an interview with The Oregonian, Dudley struggled to explain what he meant without saying that he actually did want to lower the minimum wage, and in the process told the people of Oregon that they just don't get it.
[I]n a . . . meeting with The Oregonian's editorial board, Dudley left some uncertainty about whether he'd consider a lower "training wage" for some young workers. At first, he said a training wage is "something that I'm flat-out not pushing for."
But he added that he wants to look at the minimum wage in light of high unemployment among young people and disadvantaged communities. "Everything should be on the table," he said....
Dudley went on to say the minimum wage was not a "forefront campaign issue" because it is a "hot button that people don't really understand." But he added that he was particularly concerned about the high unemployment rate among young adults and said "one area I would like to tackle first is to at least get a training wage going."
In 2002, on a 51 percent yes vote, Oregon voters approved a union-backed ballot measure that raised the minimum wage and indexed it annually for inflation. Since then, farm groups and the restaurant lobby, both of which are supporting Dudley, have been particularly vociferous in saying that the high minimum wage hurts their businesses. In particular, restaurateurs complain that Oregon is one of just seven states that do not allow them to reduce the minimum wage for tipped employees.
Oregonians who voted to increase the minimum wage, and all those Oregonians who actually work for the minimum wage definitely understand it, and might not appreciate Dudley's dismissal of their real-life experience.
What a former NBA pro and current "wealth consultant" like Dudley doesn't understand is that far too many people have to survive on the minimum wage, and that includes the young and disadvantaged people who he thinks should be receiving a lower "training wage." Creating a new beast that's called a "training wage" to pay restaurant and farm workers less than the minimum wage is indeed cutting the minimum wage.
It's not the people of Oregon who don't understand the minimum wage, it's Chris Dudley, another rich Republican (and a two-state, tax-evading one at that) with a let them eat cake attitude toward his would-be constituents.