Sen. Bernie Sanders is out there, day after day on the Senate floor, for his fellow Democrats who are working their $15 minimum wage proposal into ongoing stimulus talks. The much maligned Sen. Josh Hawley has introduced his alternative (tax credits), which is actually kind-of surprising since he’s not keeping with the Republicans’ full-on opposition to the hike. That particular perspective is a widespread one within the party and was articulated in a very awkward (and frankly silly) way by Republican Senate Majority Whip John Thune, who posed his (rather tone-deaf) argument on Twitter.
“I started working by bussing tables at the Star Family Restaurant for $1/hour & slowly moved up to cook – the big leagues for a kid like me- to earn $6/hour,” Thune wrote while posting a video speech to claim that $15 per hour would destroy businesses. “Businesses in small towns survive on narrow margins. Mandating a $15 minimum wage would put many of them out of business.”
I started working by bussing tables at the Star Family Restaurant for $1/hour & slowly moved up to cook – the big leagues for a kid like me– to earn $6/hour. Businesses in small towns survive on narrow margins. Mandating a $15 minimum wage would put many of them out of business. pic.twitter.com/izQDOGRAH1
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) February 24, 2021
Thune is 60 years old now, meaning that he’d have been earning $6 per hour (still somehow twice the minimum wage) as a cook in the late 1970s. If one accounted for inflation, that’d work out to over $20 per hour in 2021 dollars.
John Thune was 18 in 1979 when he was making $6 an hour. That’s about $22 an hour in today’s world. Math is hard for crooks. https://t.co/pE5lOxVVLo
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) February 25, 2021
assuming Thune was about 16 or 17 when started earning $6/hour, that would be equivalent to about $25/hour in today’s dollars. https://t.co/PNRQbVZ8lY
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) February 25, 2021
$6 an hour in 1979, when John Thune was 18, adjusted for inflation is worth $21.62 today https://t.co/ECm4GPSOFs
— Séamus Malekafzali (@Seamus_Malek) February 24, 2021
— Steve Trimble (@TheDEWLine) February 24, 2021
"Hi, I'm Senator John Thune, from the Great State of South Dakota, and I'm here to stand in front of God and everyone to let my constituents know that they elected a man who doesn't understand basic math or inflation to make economic decisions."
$6 in '79 is $23.11 today. https://t.co/QAyDknrmdP
— nome (@NomeDaBarbarian) February 25, 2021
John Thune graduated high school in 1979. At the time he was a cook, his $6 an hour was over twice the federal minimum wage. https://t.co/7AVtIuXxmP
— Col. Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) February 25, 2021
Bragging about making twice the minimum wage in the late 1970s and arguing about raising the minimum wage now, well, is not a great look.