WASHINGTON, Huff Post Politics - Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the Senate's labor committee, said in a hearing Tuesday that he would prefer to see the minimum wage abolished.
Alexander's declaration came amid a back-and-forth between a witness from the conservative Heritage Foundation and Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The trio had been debating what kind of impact a higher minimum wage would have on a theoretical worker, and it seemed Sanders wanted to know whether the witness opposed raising the minimum wage or having a minimum wage at all.
"There are some conservatives who do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage," Sanders said to the witness, James Sherk, a labor policy analyst at the think tank.
"Let me jump in," Alexander then said. "I do not believe in it."
The policy debate had been lively, with interruptions all around, and Sanders grew excited at Alexander's interjection.
"So we have a ranking member," Sanders responded. "Alright! There we go!"
Sanders turned to Alexander.
"So you do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage?"
"That's correct," Alexander responded.
"You would abolish the minimum wage?"
"Correct." (read more and watch the video exchange)
My Comment: I am proud of Senator Alexander for showing the courage to speak the truth. The minimum wage cuts off the bottom rung off of the ladder. Every time the minimum wage is raised, it makes it harder for people to enter the labor market. With an increase in the minimum wage low-end jobs are replaced with labor saving devices or simply eliminated. Without a minimum wage, we would have people pumping gas for you and carrying your groceries to the car. It is better for one to have a job that pays $7.25 an hour than not have a job that pays $7.50 an hour.