Hardball with Chris Matthews, 6/11/14, 8:15 PM ET

Matthews’ challenge to Dave Brat

Chris Matthews poses a challenge to tea party hero Dave Brat on his remarks about whether or not he believed in a federally-mandated minimum wage.

On Dave Brat’s claims about minimum wage

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this challenge to tea party hero Dave Brat.

First of all, congratulations on your upset victory of Eric Cantor.

Second, let me challenge you on something you said to my colleague Chuck ToddChuck asked whether you believed in a federally-mandated minimum wage. You answered by saying that wages could only keep with productivity gains. You said that only increases in productivity–what a worker gets done on the job–could be a market justification for a higher income.

So I had someone check the numbers. You, having a Ph.D. in economics, will recognize just what I’m doing. You talked about the need for a long-term graph to show the increases in worker productivity–presumably what a worker is worth paying–to the increases in actual wages over time.

Well I did just that:

This graph was produced by the Economic Policy Institute. It shows the rising growth in productivity (it’s the bold line going up by almost 250% since 1950) and actual wages (it’s the duller line growing just to a bit over 100% than what it was in 1950).

You see the problem, Dr. Brat. The problem is you’re wrong.

The correct answer is that productivity has grown twice as fast as wages. Or, if you’d like to put it this way, wages have grown at only half the rate of worker productivity.

So I need you to take a re-test on what you told Chuck Todd this morning. Don’t you agree?

Again, I congratulate you on your victory. Now…about that re-test…

Dave Brat and Minimum Wage

On Dave Brat's claims about minimum wage

Updated