Fresh off his primary victory last night, Thom Tillis spoke with Chuck Todd at MSNBC, outlining all the noxious reasons he shouldn't be elected in November. Or at least that was my take from the strange interview. Near the end, after already slagging welfare deadbeats, and why he championed no Medicaid expansion in his state, Tillis let fly with this against the necessity for increasing the minimum wage.
The North Carolina House speaker contrasted his views on the federal minimum wage with those of the White House and his opponent in the general election, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.
“That Barack Obama and Kay Hagan think that the minimum wage needs to be the same in the mountains of North Carolina and in the city of Boston makes no sense to me,” he said. “It’s a decision that needs to be made with the people closest to the situation. And I think that’s state legislatures.”
Hagan has criticized Tillis for his views on the minimum wage, seizing on comments that he called it a “dangerous idea.”
“We’ve got a president and Kay Hagan that want to create a minimum wage economy,” Tillis said. “What I want to do is create jobs that make minimum wage irrelevant.”
He added that the focus on minimum wage was a “defeatist mentality.”
Now, Tillis never explicitly says he'd like to abolish it altogether, but tacitly it's there, perhaps more openly stated in this clip from American Bridge a few months ago:
REPORTER: Getting back to the minimum wage issue, what do you consider a living wage?
TILLIS: Um I think for the most part the market needs to define that. I think when we create artificial thresholds then you run into a big problem. And I think we need to know that there is a segment of the population that relies on the minimum wage but there are a lot of jobs that go beyond the minimum wage, but for the most part, John, I think that we have to have the market more than anything drive what an employer is going to pay for a job.
REPORTER: If the market should drive, should we get rid of the minimum wage?
TILLIS: Um I’m sorry, say that again?
REPORTER: If the market should drive the minimum wage, the decision about how much people should make, should we get rid of the current minimum wage?
TILLIS: Yeah, I think you should consider anything that frees up the market, that creates more jobs. But the reality is that you can’t un-ring that bell, and it could create as much, ah, you’d have to look at it, whether or not that creates destabilization in a market that is already destabilized. But at the end of the day the market drives the economy, or drives the pay for the vast majority of the positions that businesses hire for anyway.