A vibrant economy helps lift low-wage workers, not raising the minimum wage, Sen. Pat Toomey says.
Lawmakers have been debating raising the minimum wage to $10.10 in increments through 2016. A report from the Congressional Budget Office estimated at least half a million jobs would be lost as a result of a minimum wage increase.
"I'm not going to support a policy that's going to price a half a million people out of the job force," the Pennsylvania Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday.
"If the government comes along and issues a fiat and picks an arbitrary number and says employers have to pay someone at least that amount, well, there's some people who are at the low end of the skill spectrum, maybe have never worked before. Maybe it's a teenager who needs a first opportunity. They're not able to produce at that level. They simply won't get the job," he added.
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Toomey said the best way to help low-wage workers was to create "a vibrant economy that is demanding ever more workers and putting upward pressure on wages so that people get raises. That's the answer."
Lawmakers need to enact policies to create "more demand for workers, more jobs," which he said would result in "upward pressure on wages."
Toomey said raising the wage rate meant lawmakers were choosing between giving "a raise to some people at the expense of destroying the jobs of other people." He suggested that was not "a good call for government to make."
"The question before us is, do we raise the minimum wage? And, I think that would do harm. So I'm not going to support that," Toomey said.
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