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Ron Johnson’s Horrible Minimum Wage Record

Vulnerable Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has a terrible record on the minimum wage – from calling it “Russian roulette for the working poor” to referring to proposals to raise it as “disturbing,” Johnson has made his position on raising the minimum wage abundantly clear.

But this week, PolitiFact confirmed that Johnson has gone beyond voting down minimum wage increases. Ron Johnson doesn’t just oppose raising the federal minimum wage – he doesn’t even think there should be a federal minimum wage.  With over 70,000 hardworking Wisconsinites currently at or below the minimum wage, Johnson couldn’t be more out-of-touch.

“Ron Johnson’s votes against raising the minimum wage are shameful enough, but his opposition to the existence of a federal minimum wage is what’s really ‘disturbing,’” said Sadie Weiner, DSCC National Press Secretary. “Ron Johnson couldn’t be more out-of-touch with hardworking Wisconsin families, and it’s clear that he’ll have a tough time defending his outrageous record on the minimum wage to Wisconsinites.”

BACKGROUND:

JOHNSON SAID HE OPPOSED A FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE FOR WISCONSIN WORKERS…

Johnson Said He Did Not Support A Federal Minimum Wage For American Workers. “That approach raises some eyebrows, as does Johnson’s comments at a WisPolitics.com luncheon that he doesn’t support a federal minimum wage for the general population, but believes there should be one for guest workers coming to the U.S. for work. That campaign ad almost writes itself, some say.” [WisPolitics, 7/11/14]

  • WisPolitics: Johnson “Opposes A Federally Mandated Minimum Wage For All.” “U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he’s ‘100 percent supportive’ of a minimum wage for immigrants coming to America for a guest worker program but opposes a federally mandated minimum wage for all. ‘The only area that I would agree with minimum wages is in immigration reform, for the guest worker program,’ Johnson told a WisPolitics.com luncheon Wednesday in Milwaukee in response to an audience question. ‘I’m 100 percent supportive of a minimum wage, kind of industry specific, maybe regionally specific, for guest workers, so that we’re not creating incentives for employers to bring in immigrants to lower the price of labor.’” [WisPolitics, 7/7/14]
  • Johnson Said A Minimum Wage Would “Actually Reduce The Number Of Jobs Available.” “Johnson said various Senate bills have suggested a minimum wage for guest workers of more than $10 an hour and was open to that. But Johnson, a Republican from Oshkosh, argued that ‘the guest worker program is totally different from the general economy.’ ‘In the general economy, if you get government involved in making market decisions, first of all, they’re going to get it wrong,’ he said. ‘A minimum wage will actually reduce the number of jobs available. What you don’t want to do, if you’re concerned about poverty, if you’re concerned about providing opportunity, you don’t want to rip the bottom rung of the ladder of opportunity away from people.’” [WisPolitics, 7/7/14]

…WHICH POLITIFACT RATED “TRUE”

PolitiFact Rated Feingold’s Statement That Johnson “Opposes Entirely A Federal Minimum Wage” As True. “Feingold says Johnson ‘opposes entirely a federal minimum wage,’ except perhaps for ‘guest workers.’ It may not be a position Johnson has stated often, but when asked in July 2014 whether there should be a federal minimum wage, Johnson said there should not be one, other than perhaps one for guest workers. And while he may not be trying to repeal the wage, Johnson didn’t dispute the accuracy of Feingold’s claim — that he is against having a federal minimum, except perhaps for guest workers coming in from outside the United States. We rate Feingold’s statement True.” [PolitiFact, 8/27/15]

  • PolitiFact: “When Asked In July 2014 Whether There Should Be A Federal Minimum Wage, Johnson Said There Should Not Be One.” “It may not be a position Johnson has stated often, but when asked in July 2014 whether there should be a federal minimum wage, Johnson said there should not be one, other than perhaps one for guest workers. And while he may not be trying to repeal the wage, Johnson didn’t dispute the accuracy of Feingold’s claim — that he is against having a federal minimum, except perhaps for guest workers coming in from outside the United States.” [PolitiFact, 8/27/15]

IN WISCONSIN, 71,000 WORKERS ARE AT OR BELOW THE MINIMUM WAGE

2014: 71,000 Wisconsin Workers Were At Or Below The Minimum Wage. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2014, April 2015]

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