President Donald Trump's top economic advisor said the federal minimum wage should not be increased and called for scrapping it altogether.
Larry Kudlow, the head of the National Economic Council and a former CNBC host, called for getting rid of the federal minimum wage entirely at a Washington Post event Thursday.
“My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea. A terrible idea,” Kudlow said, dismissing it as “silly” and warning that it would increase costs for small businesses.
The federal minimum wage was introduced in 1938. It was last increased in 2009 to $7.25 per hour.
Increasing the minimum wage, which had been a routine act until the Ronald Reagan years, has typically been a bipartisan issue. In 2017, 74 percent of Americans – including 58 percent of Republicans – backed raising the minimum wage to least $9 per hour. Numerous activist groups have been campaigning for a $15 minimum wage.
Kudlow also said he is against state and local minimum wages.
Journalists note Kudlow not the best source: Although he is Trump's top economic advisor, mostly thanks to his years at CNBC, Kudlow is perhaps not the best source for economic predictions. “He denied that the country was entering a recession in 2007. The National Economic Council would later determine that the Great Recession started the same month Kudlow made that statement,” Mother Jones reported.
Kudlow defends: “Alabama is different from Massachusetts. How can you have a national federal wage?” Kudlow argued in an interview with the Fox Business Network. “The federal government shouldn’t have jurisdiction over the states anyway in a matter like this. The conditions are different in these states, the cost of living is different, the state of business is different.”
Trump made similar comments: In a 2016 interview, then-Fox News host Bill O'Reilly pointed out to Trump that there “has to be a federal minimum wage.”
“There doesn’t have to be,” Trump replied.
He also infamously declared on the campaign trail that “our wages are too high.”
Kudlow's former network, CNBC, reported that while worker pay has increased 11.2 percent since 1978, when adjusted for inflation, while CEO pay has increased 937 percent.