Texas Gov. Rick Perry continues the right wing's race to the bottom on wages with his insistence that the federal government doesn't need to get involved in the states' business and set a minimum wage.
February 23, 2014

Apparently the talking heads over at Faux "news" weren't the only ones pushing for a race to the bottom on wages in the United States and the elimination of the minimum wage. We got the same line from Texas Gov. Rick Perry this Friday on CNN's Crossfire:

Rick Perry: Government Shouldn’t Set A Minimum Wage:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) came out against a minimum wage during an appearance on CNN’s Crossfire Friday, arguing that government intervention leads to job reduction and increases regulatory burdens on businesses. “I don’t think — I don’t think it’s government’s business to be setting the minimum wage out there,” Perry said. “And even the CBO said if you want to get rid of a half a million jobs between now and 2016, raise the minimum wage.”

Perry’s comments come several days after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report projecting that raising the minimum wage could reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, increase wages for 16.5 million people, and pull 900,000 people out of poverty. Some economist have challenged the report’s jobs findings, however, claiming that the analysis don’t represent modern economic consensus, which shows that raising the wage has a net zero effect on jobs.

As they noted, "real world experience of state and local efforts to raise the minimum wage" have shown the opposite to be true and unemployment actually goes down, and despite Perry's claim that all those jobs being created are above the minimum wage, his state "leads the nation in the number and percentage of minimum wage jobs.

Perry's very proud of poaching jobs from other states and getting them to come to Texas where they don't have to worry about all those pesky regulations, being sued or protecting your workers, but that's just another race to the bottom as well.

It was nice to see Perry get some push back in that regard from Crossfire co-host Van Jones and his fellow guest, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn:

JONES: OK. First of all, if you're looking for humor you're bragging on the red states, the red states are actually taking money from the blue states. We're the ones subsidizing all those wonderful jobs you're so proud of.

We're going to talk about this tonight. In the CROSSFIRE, we have a Democratic governor, the wonderful Pat Quinn from Illinois and Republican governor...

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Wonderful.

JONES: Wonderful, wonderful. Very effective.

Governor Perry of Texas. I'm glad to have you here, but we're going to have a big fight tonight, because I'm mad. You have this whole thing, this Texas miracle. Everybody is talking about how great the red states are. Listen, tell me why we should be trying to emulate you. I'm from California. You are 11...

PERRY: You said all you need to say. From California. You are out of there, brother.

JONES: I'll be on a plane very shortly. Listen, here's your beautiful red state performs. You try and understand this. Eleven of the 13 states with the highest percentage of kids in poverty, red states. Food Stamp use highest in the red states, not the blue states. Hard to go from being poor to being rich in the red states. Why should we be emulating your miserable, failed model in the red states?

PERRY: Well, Texas, I think it speaks for itself when it comes to those red states. And let me tell you...

JONES: I'm sure you're going to brag on Texas.

PERRY: Well, all of these red state, when you think about it, because the real issue from my perspective is what's the best that you can do for your family? And it's -- I've got to think even Van Jones thinks it's to have a good job and take care of my family so that they can go on with whatever they want to do in life.

JONES: No argument there, sir.

PERRY: And having a job is the single-most important thing. And red states -- and red states are creating those jobs. In the state of Texas, we created 30 percent of all the jobs, all the private-sector jobs from 2000 to 2012.

Now, you take those out of the equation, and President Obama, he ought to be thanking me in Texas for the job creation that we've done down there in Texas over the course of the last few years.

JONES: You thank -- you thank the geological miracle of all that oil and the immigrants down there. Do you agree with this, by the way?

GOV. PAT QUINN (D), ILLINOIS: No. 1, I'm very glad to be here. I was with the president today. And I'm here to recruit my good friend, Governor Perry, to help raise the minimum wage in Texas and across America. Our minimum wage is Illinois is $8.25 for people who work very hard. There's a principal as old as the Bible. We both believe in the Bible. And it says that you should not live in poverty. If you work 40 hours a week, and you're a mom and a dad trying to raise kids. I really hope you can raise the minimum wage in Texas as we did in Illinois and join us to do this all across America. This is a great thing. If folks have a J-O-B, why not give them a living wage? GINGRICH: Wait a second, Governor.

JONES: Amen. Amen.

GINGRICH: I just have to ask this. You know, last year the head of Caterpillar complained publicly about the anti-jobs, anti-business tone of Illinois.

I mean, isn't it a fact when you look at job creation, the states that have raised the minimum wage actually have the worst unemployment rate? And the fact is that Illinois has lost people. I think it's lost 40,000 people in the last year, the largest outpouring of people from any state in the country. I mean, so I understand why it's nice to...

QUINN: Let's talk about job creation.

GINGRICH: It does kill jobs.

QUINN: Job creation in Illinois, we're No. 1 in the Midwest since last May. We've created over 280,000 jobs.

Now, the head of Caterpillar made some bad investment decisions that hurt Caterpillar and hurt all of us in Illinois. And he should be accountable for that.

We believe in Caterpillar. We believe in John Deere. That's located in our state. John Deere Tractors. We believe in ADM (ph) and many other companies. We have Ford, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, all of them growing.

When I became governor, Chrysler had 200 jobs. Now they have 4,700 jobs in Belvedere, Illinois. Ford has three shifts. When I became governor they had one shift. So we're very grateful to our president, President Barack Obama, for saving the American auto industry. We worked with him. We believe in organizing, and UAW's organized Mitsubishi, Ford and Chrysler.

And I think it's a good way to get good wages and fair good -- working conditions for everyday people. And I still haven't heard from Rick about the minimum wage. How about it?

PERRY: I don't think -- I don't think it's government's business to be setting the minimum wage out there. And even the CBO said if you want to get rid of a half a million jobs between now and 2016, raise the minimum wage. And here's the issue, Pat, and I think you've got to believe this.

At a time when jobs are at a premium in this country, the last thing you want to be doing is putting policies into place that will kill jobs and not only -- not only...

QUINN: Putting purchasing power in the hand of consumers. They're going to spend the money.

PERRY: And to tell people that has a job today, I'm sorry, but to help these folks over here, you're not going to have a job. That is the wrong message.

QUINN: The Federal Bank of Chicago said every dollar you raise in the minimum wage creates $2,800 in purchasing power.

JONES: And Governor...

QUINN: Seventy percent of our economy are consumers buying things.

PERRY: We know...

QUINN: Let's put more money in the pocket.

PERRY: We know that forcing -- we know that forcing small businessmen and women to raise the minimum wage, they're going to have to make the decision between whether they're going to hire people or they're going to raise the wage.

QUINN: All these studies have shown the opposite.

PERRY: No, no, no, that's not correct. You are absolutely wrong about that.

JONES: First of all, you are the one quoting the CBO report which said zero to a million. So the same report you're citing actually makes this point. Zero jobs lost or a million. They're kind of guessing there.

But I want to ask you a question. You're sitting here defending these minimum-wage jobs, and we know for a fact that you have a lot of big corporations that are paying people, full-time workers, so little that they have to put their hand out for Food Stamps and for Medicaid.

Do you think that big corporations should be able to pay people so little in America that they have to -- that the government has to subsidize their workers? Are you for that?

PERRY: Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that were created in Texas during that decade were not minimum-wage jobs. Ninety-five percent of them are jobs that are paying above the minimum wage.

When you have an environment where you have the tax structure that doesn't strangle small businessmen and women, you have a regulatory climate that's fair and predictable, you have a legal system that doesn't allow for over-suing, and you -- you put money into an accountable public school and then get out of the way, jobs will be created, and good jobs. I'm talking good paying jobs in Texas, and it will work in Illinois even.

QUINN: The majority -- the majority of people who get the minimum wage are heads of households. They're moms and dads raising children. The best and most important thing you can do in life is raising your children. Isn't it important that we help everybody, even those 5 percent of folks who aren't making -- who are making the minimum wage?

PERRY: The most important thing that we can do, Governor, is to help create a climate where job creators know they can risk their capital, have a chance to have -- keep as much of that...

JONES: I'll tell you something else.

PERRY: They'll keep people at work.

JONES: Wait a minute. I'll give you one more, and then I've got one more.

QUINN: Rick Perry, a good friend of mine, he and I went to Iraq and Afghanistan together, and we were roommates. We were roommates. And we had some philosophical differences along the way.

PERRY: Just a few.

QUINN: But his daddy was in Texas, elected official. And he believed in Sam Rayburn, who was a supporter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who started the minimum wage. It was 25 cents an hour in 1938. Now it has to keep up with the cost of living. So I think you ought to go back to your roots. You know, you can come back home.

PERRY: You know what? My dad is going to have his 89th birthday in April. And I was talking to him just the other day, and I said, "Hey, Dad, what do you think about this minimum wage being raised?"

He said, "The government ought to stay out of our damn business." I'm just telling you -- I'm just telling you, Dad's an old Democrat.

QUINN: Mine is 96 years old.

JONES: You guys are worse than senators. You guys are worse than senators. The filibuster.

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