At a public event in Florida last week, a voter asked Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young (R-Fla.) about increasing the federal minimum wage. It didn’t go well.
For those who can’t watch clips online, the voter, later identified as an Occupy activist named Andrew Kovanis, asked the congressman a pretty straightforward question: whether he might support an existing proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour. “Probably not,” Young replied.
Pressed further, the Republican asked, “How about getting a job?” When the voter explained, “I have a job,” but that he sees the need for an increase in wages, Young once again said, “Well then, why do you want that benefit? Get a job.”
Now, my point is not to mock the confusion of an 81-year-old man. If Young is going to be in Congress, however, he should understand the difference between unemployment and the minimum wage. Telling a person who has a job, but is concerned about wages to “get a job,” doesn’t make sense.
And more to the point, one wonders if Young’s House GOP caucus is inclined to respond to the same question in the same way, content to tell those struggling to get by on the existing minimum wage to simply get a better paying job if they want one.