Think Progress: A conservative mogul worth $43 billion says he knows the secret to helping poor people. According to Charles Koch, the U.S. needs to get rid of the minimum wage, which he counts as a major obstacle to economic growth. [...] In an interview with the Wichita Eagle published Tuesday, Koch said that the minimum wage is one policy he is working against:
“We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country, rather than saying ‘Oh, we’re just fine now.’ We’re not saying that at all. What we’re saying is, we need to analyze all these additional policies, these subsidies, this cronyism, this avalanche of regulations, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency. And like permitting, to start a business, in many cities, to drive a taxicab, to become a hairdresser. Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.”
If all that sounds a bit like Palin-Wordsalad to you, keep in mind that this is a multi-billionaire trying to convince us (with a straight face) that rich employers should be able to pay workers less than $7.25 per hour because that would help poor people.
As Think Progress points out:
In the U.S., economic inequality has grown rapidly, and the lagging minimum wage is in large part to blame….Little to no evidence exists to support Koch’s claim that the minimum wage impedes companies or causes them to fire employees. In fact, raising the minimum wage to $9 would pump up to $48 billion into the economy by the next year and ease the income gap for 15 million low-wage workers.
Koch maintained his and his brother’s political efforts are not for their own benefit, but for the country’s greater good. …Although he deems low-wage workers part of a “culture of dependency” on the government, Koch Industries is on the receiving end of oil subsidies, government contracts, and bailouts.
It’s also relevant to note that CEOs Made 273 Times What Workers Did In 2012:
Average CEO compensation hit $14.1 million in 2012, up more than a third from 2009, and the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay hit a staggering 272.9-to-1, according to new research from the Economic Policy Institute. Put another way: the average U.S. worker made 0.3 percent of what the average chief executive did last year.
Median household income actually declined over the last decade from more than $53,000 in 2000 to under $49,500 in 2010 (all in 2010 dollars). Income inequality has grown immensely, as the share of income earned by the middle class fell from 62 percent in 1970 to a record low of just 45 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, as lower- and middle-class pay has dropped, the cost of living has grown immensely. In the past 40 years, college tuition grew between 80-113 percent, the price of a home nearly doubled, health care costs went up 50 percent, and the price of gas went up nearly 20 percent.
But, sure, let’s pay the American worker less than $7.25 an hour. Those hardworking CEOs could do with a raise and a bigger bonus this year. Opportunity!