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Rep. Dennis Ross Tells Low-Income Constituent He Won't Support Raising Minimum Wage

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) was unmoved when asked by a constituent at a town hall this Tuesday if he would take a walk in his shoes and spend a day finding out what it's like to work for minimum wage.

I'm not sure how people like this get up and look themselves in the mirror every morning, but somehow this man manages: Congressman Tells Low-Income Worker: Higher Minimum Wage Is ‘Not Right’:

TAMPA, Florida — People like Shaneeka Rainer are often told that they shouldn’t try to get the minimum wage increased because it only really applies to teenagers working entry-level jobs. That indeed may have described Rainer 10 years ago, when he first entered the workforce. But a decade after he got his first job in fast food, Rainer still finds himself working at Arby’s for minimum wage.

In other words, Rainer has worked an entire decade receiving only one raise: when Congress increased the minimum wage in 2007.

And so he showed up at his congressman’s public forum on Tuesday to ask Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) to finally give him and millions of other low-income Americans a raise.

Ross, who is seeking a third term representing Tampa’s northwest suburbs, was unmoved by Rainer’s plea. “It’s not right,” the Florida Republican said. “If we are going to make it a living wage, who’s going to pay for it?”

An audience member declared that he’d gladly pay slightly more for a hamburger in order to increase the minimum wage, prompting applause from the crowd.

Rainer asked the congressman whether he would be willing to come work at Arby’s with him for one day so he can see how difficult minimum wage work is, but Ross demurred. Instead, he railed against the very notion of a minimum wage and even the concept of labor laws in general. “If the government’s going to tell me how much I can get paid and when I can work and when I can’t work, then we have a serious problem in this country,” Ross said.

RAINER: Would you support the Obama act of raising the federal minimum wage?

ROSS: No. [...] I think it would do more harm to our economy than anything. You work at Arby’s, the cost of products, the cost of services are going to go up. [...] If we are going to make it a living wage, who’s going to pay for it? Who’s going to pay for it?

AUDIENCEMEMBER: I will. I’ll pay 20 cents extra for a hamburger. [Applause]

RAINER: He said he’ll pay. So if he’ll pay, I’m going to work every day busting my butt. I want to know, would you take a walk in my shoes? Lay your tie and your suit down, just for a day, 24 hours, and take a walk in my shoes. The people that I work with, we’re keeping the economy floating and going in the cycle. But the people that hire, they’re just paying money, just throwing money. But I’m actually working every day. So why wouldn’t you support it?

ROSS: Because it’s not right. Economically, it’s not right. It does more harm to our economy. [...] If the government’s going to tell me how much I can get paid and when I can work and when I can’t work, then we have a serious problem in this country.

Read on...

As Hunter at KOS noted:

I think that guy just lost himself a few votes.He's going to have to pander extra-hard to some corporate bigwigs to make up for it, but I think he has it in him.

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