California Senate Candidate Floats Radical Bump to Minimum Wage, Smugly Tells Critics to ‘Just Do the Math’

Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be lifelong careers that can support an entire family. Rather, they are an opportunity for young people and others with limited skills to get a foot in the door.

But California Democrat Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is running for Senate, believes burger flippers should be making $50 an hour, according to the New York Post.

That’s more than the average U.S. salary of teachers, firefighters or police officers.

Lee is one of the four front-runners vying for California’s open U.S. Senate seat. Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee joined Lee and lone Republican Steve Garvey on stage on Monday, ahead of the state’s March 5 open primary.

Under California’s election rules, all candidates are listed on the same ballot regardless of party. The top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the November general election. This debate offered voters an early glimpse into the policies and positions of the main contenders hoping to succeed the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, according to Reason.

Lee defended her previous support for a $50 minimum wage by citing studies showing that an income of six figures is barely enough for a family of four to get by in high-cost-of-living areas like the San Francisco Bay Area.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. California’s minimum wage ranges from $16 to $20 per hour, depending on location, according to the Post.

“In the Bay Area, I believe it was the United Way … came out with a report that very recently $127,000 for a family of four is just barely enough to get by,” Lee said when questioned about how this pay rise would be sustainable.

“Just do the math. Of course, we have national minimum wages that we need to raise to a living wage,” Lee continued. “We’re talking about $20, $25 — fine. But I have got to be focused on what California needs and what the affordability factor is when we calculate this wage,” she added.

In contrast, Republican candidate Steve Garvey said the minimum wage is currently at an appropriate level. He argued that raising it to $20 per hour, as California has done for large employers, will lead to higher prices for consumers.

But California Congressman Adam Schiff, who turned out to be one of the “reasonable” Democrats on the stage pushing for only a $20 to $25 minimum wage, said that the current minimum wage makes it impossible for wage earners to buy a house in California, according to the Post.

Yes, it would — if minimum wage jobs were meant for families to subsist on.

As mentioned before, minimum wage jobs exist for a reason: they’re entry points. They teach valuable soft skills like teamwork, communication and responsibility. They offer flexibility, perfect for students or those juggling side hustles.

The pay reflects that, offering a taste of financial independence while encouraging you to upskill and climb the ladder while supporting small businesses that cannot survive without cheap labor.

But many Democrats running for — or already sitting in — some of the highest offices in the land seem to have a lack of the basic understanding that creating a system where everyone has the opportunity to earn a decent living does not start by artificially inflating the starting point.

That’s not to mention the havoc such a wage hike would play on small-business owners.

According to a blog on the restaurant support website Upmenu, the average annual take-home pay of a restaurant owner is around $90,000.

That would mean many restaurant owners would be making less than they would be forced to pay their dishwashers under Lee’s plan.

The result would be layoffs or shutdowns due to skyrocketing labor costs, and you can just about say goodbye to mom-and-pop stores or value meals for struggling families.

Former judge on the Food Network and restaurant owner Andrew Gruel had some choice words for the congresswoman during an appearance on “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News.

“Every single business in California would go under,” Gruel said, referring to Lee’s plan.

Gruel pointed out that this is not a serious suggestion, which could never work.

“This lady is a moron and narcissist who’s saying stupid things to get attention at best. At worst, she’s trying to buy votes,” Gruel said.

“This is going to lead to upward pressure on all wages. It’s going to totally inflate the entire economy of California, which is already there, and there will be no independent businesses in California. One hundred percent of the businesses will be run by state and they will rely on the state,” Gruel added.

“It’s communism light,” he said.

Gruel is most likely right about everything he pointed out would happen to California under this outrageous plan.

But, as he also pointed out, California is already halfway there.

After California announced a minimum wage hike to $20 starting in April, Pizza Hut announced layoffs of 1,200 delivery drivers in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, according to Reason.

Meanwhile, major fast food chains like McDonald’s, Chipotle and Jack in the Box say menu prices will go up to offset added labor costs.

Perhaps Gruel hit the nail on the head best when he said the end result would be “communism light,” with the government controlling everything.

At the end of the day, every plan California Democrats put forward seems to be aimed at that goal.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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