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Welcome to Southwest Virginia, Ed: Bluefield radio host educates Gillespie on minimum wage workers

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From the Democratic Party of Virginia:

A week has passed since Ed Gillespie's condescending remarks that minimum wage jobs are about playing softball surfaced, and Gillespie continues to repeat the same misleading talking points on the issue. Today, during an interview with Bluefield radio station WHIS, Gillespie again ignored the fact that many Virginians earning the minimum wage are supporting families and working second jobs when he described minimum wage workers as “living with their parents.” Fortunately for Ed, the show's hosts were there to educate him on what earning the minimum wage in Southwest Virginia is really like.

 

“Gillespie: And by the way, a lot of minimum wage workers are not the, you know, the breadwinners for their family, they are second earners in the family, or they are, you know, living with their parents, and working, you know, in their first job ever, which we want people working in their first job ever.


HostI would be cautious of using the characterization that there’s a lot of minimum wage folks who are usually the second earners, or not necessarily, especially when you are touring a region like this one. You will want to know that since a lot of the other economies around here have collapsed, service jobs is pretty much all that are left, retail, restaurants, and they rarely want to pay you more than the minimum wage.


Gillespie: I understand that, but my point was that, not all minimum wage earners are sole earners for their families.


Host 1: Oh no, I know that, it’s not all, I just wanted to make the point that it is a large percentage, and a larger than you would want it to be, especially in a region like this.”

 

“It has been a full week since Gillespie's condescending remarks have surfaced, and he has yet to clarify what he meant or to apologize to the Virginians he insulted. Many Virginians working the minimum wage are struggling to raise families and put food on the table. Gillespie's continued insistence on painting minimum wage workers as teenagers living with their parents is insulting to the thousands of Virginia workers earning the minimum wage who are struggling to support their families and make ends meet,” said DPVA Executive Director Robert Dempsey.

 

“Ed also has yet to explain to us the inconsistency on his stances on the minimum wage. He said in Virginia Beach before a crowd of Republicans that he does not believe in a federal minimum wage, but on the radio in Southwest Virginia he says he does believe in a federal minimum wage, as long as it's not raised. Why won't Gillespie explain the inconsistency in his remarks?”


 

Listen to the full recording here: https://soundcloud.com/radioactivewhis/wednesday-7-16-14?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email

 

(13:00, Host) And just, one other question I have for you, sir. Clearly, I think the governor, or the gov, oh sorry, the Senator is going to come after you on the minimum wage issue and do you think that’s fair that he- my analysis is that he is going to come after you on the minimum wage issue, because you, all the democrats are proponents of the minimum wage and you are not… correct?

 

(13:21, Gillespie) Well I support the current minimum wage, what they’re proponents of is a federally mandated increase that would destroy up to a million jobs according to the Congressional Budget Office and I believe that we have the lowest labor force participation rate in the world, I don’t believe that, I know that, not in the world I’m sorry, but in 35, over 35 years. And we have an economy that shrank by nearly 3 full percentage points in the 1st quarter of last week, we have more businesses closing than opening today, we need to be incentivizing work not dis-incentivizing it. And if there are people who are making minimum wage who are supporting a family, head of household, and unable to make ends meet on a minimum wage, we should help them, there are ways we can do that without destroying those jobs.


(14:11, Host) But isn’t the min- the way the minimum wage is working today, isn’t that essentially providing large corporations who pay minimum wage, you know, we are subsidizing them with, you know, taxpayer money


(14:23, Gillespie) Well couple things Mike, first of all, if we had the kind of economic growth I believe my policies would unleash, my EG squared agenda, we’d have wages go up as a result of more demand for labor. We’d have people coming back into the labor force as opposed to having the lowest labor force participation rate in over 35 years. And uh you know I would rather we have the jobs, and people, you know, be able to get on the first wrung of the economic ladder, and help those folks make ends meet, with uh maybe something like a work incentive tax credit, or an earned income tax credit, than to destroy those jobs, up to a million jobs, and, at a time when we need to be trying to get more people into the labor force and incentivizing work not dis-incentivizing work. So I think we can meet the goal here, which we all care about the least among us. And by the way a lot of minimum wage workers are not the, you know, the breadwinners for their family, they are second earners in the family, or they are, you know, living with their parents, and working, you know, in their first job ever, which we want people working in their first job ever. And so, to me, if the states want to raise their, you know, mandate an increase raise in minimum wage, or municipalities, that’s fine, we see that going on. 


(15:52, Host) So you would be in favor of a more localized approach?

 

(15:55, Gillespie) I, I think if states and municipalities want to, you know, have a mandated increase in their minimum wages in their jurisdictions, that’s fine, that’s going on. A federally mandated minimum wage, I believe, a minimum wage increase, is the wrong approach right now. And would kill jobs at a time when we need to be creating jobs. 


(16:18, Host) It takes the rungs out of the ladder.

 

(16:20, Gillespie) It makes the first rung on the economic ladder harder to reach.

 

(16:24, Host) It takes away this whole thing of there are different costs of living in different areas, in some areas it’s higher and others lower. And if you have one straight across, then it becomes unfair for the ones that have a lower cost of living. 


(16:42, Host) I would be cautious of using the characterization that there’s a lot of minimum wage folks who are usually the second earners, or not necessarily, especially when you are touring a region like this one. You will want to know that since a lot of the other economies around here have collapsed, service jobs is pretty much all that's left, retail, restaurants, and they rarely want to pay you more than the minimum wage.


(17:02, Gillespie) I understand that, but my point was that, not all minimum wage earners are sole earners for their families.

 

(17:10, Host) Oh no, I know that, it’s not all, I just wanted to make the point that it is a large percentage, and a larger than you would want it to be, especially in a region like this.

 

(17:17, Host) In this region, in this day and time, it’s unfortunately that is true, but that’s because of the whole problem with the economy.