GOP Strategist O'Connell: Dems' Minimum Wage Push is PR Stunt

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 05:45 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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The desire by Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage is little more than a campaign ploy ahead of the midterms and Republicans need to do a better job at publicizing the facts, according to Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 hourly minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over 30 months.

O'Connell told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on NewsmaxTV the proposal is "the dumbest since New Coke was invented," because of the negative impact it has on job creation and consumer buying power.

O'Connell added that the bill was another election-year example of "the Democrats [wanting] to run their favorite play: the GOP hates the poor."

"The 21 states and the District of Columbia that have higher than the federal minimum wage standards are also states that not only are Arctic Blue strongholds, but generally speaking, are ones with very, very high unemployment," O'Connell said. "This is nothing more than a campaign tactic. Basically, 60 percent of those who are making the minimum wage are women, and basically another half are under the age of 25. This is about turning out women and minorities and the youth vote at a time that they're abandoning the Democratic Party"

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According to O'Connell, the Left has traditional had the upper-hand in terms of public perception when it comes to the minimum wage debate because Republicans have fallen short in getting their message across.

"Sixty-seven percent of Americans support an increase in the minimum wage," O'Connell said. "Now here's the kicker, 58 percent don't want to do it if it costs jobs. Herein lies the problem for the Republicans: 59 percent of Americans don't understand that if you raise the minimum wage, it's going to cost jobs. Republicans need to get out there and explain that to people and say, 'Hey, don't take our word for it. Listen to the [Congressional Budget Office], the government's bean counter who keeps score on this because they're telling you it's going to cost jobs and hurt your buying power in the long run.'"

O'Connell said the message Republicans need to get across this midterm election season is simple.

"Let me put on my Mitch McConnell hat, if you will," he proposed. "I would say, 'Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is too much too fast given Obama's tepid economy. He's had six years to fix this. Put us back into power and what we will promise you is that we will investigate the federal minimum wage such that it does not kill jobs but also helps to stimulate consumer buying power. That is a promise because America, I know you're hurting.'"

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