Do a “majority of Tea Party members” and “Tea Party activists” support raising the minimum wage? According to a segment on MSNBC, the answer is “yes.” However, if you actually ask leaders of some of the largest Tea Party organizations that question, the answer is a resounding, “No!”
Currently, the national minimum wage stands at $7.25 and hour. Of course, states are allowed to set rates above $7.25 and hour (recently 13 states have), but no matter where you live, a company cannot pay an hourly employee less than the minimum wage. 2013 saw a push to bring the topic to the front and several national protests demanding that the minimum wage be increased.
Where one stands on the topic of raising the minimum wage appears to be one that defines on which side of the political spectrum you fall. For the most part, Democrats support a substantial raise to base hourly pay.
On Monday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe program did no less than two segments on raising the minimum wage. During the discussion in the show’s third hour, the panel of mostly liberal-leaning contributors and guests raised the issue.
About 1:38 minutes into the segment, former congressman and frequent MSNBC contributor Harold Ford stated, “Chuck Todd said the majority of Tea Party members support an increase in the minimum wage.”
A little further into the video, around 4:55, Bloomberg.com columnist Margaret Carlson makes the statement that there are a “majority of Tea Party Activists who are for an increase in the minimum wage.”
In the case of both statements, Ford’s and Carlson’s, no survey or formal data was referenced. Efforts to contact Ford, Carlson, and Chuck Todd for verification or validation of these claims have met with no response.
While we waited for MSNBC and their contributors to respond to our questions, TheBlaze reached out to the largest Tea Party organization in America, Tea Party Patriots. Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin watched the video and sent the following response to the statements made on “Morning Joe”:
Tea Party Patriots support free markets. In fact, it’s one of our three core values. This means that we believe that employees and employers have the right to make agreements and enter into contracts without government interference, dictates, and mandates. History shows us that when the minimum wage is increased, unemployment rises. Therefore, the advocates of the minimum wage increase are actually advocates of fewer jobs and less opportunity, and Tea Party Patriots will never support policies that kill jobs and opportunity for our fellow Americans.
It seems fairly clear that the Tea Party is not in lockstep with the Democrats on this issue.
In fact, TheBlaze did find one minimum wage survey that mentions the opinions of Tea Party members. The polling, done by the Public Religion Research Institute in November of 2013, found that 57% of Tea Partiers opposed raising the minimum wage.
Watch the entire segment from MSNBC:
MSNBC also appears to be positioning the argument about the minimum wage as something of a wedge issue for the 2014 midterm elections. The network not only made the case for a substantial increase in the minimum pay, but they did so almost every hour on Monday. Starting at 6 a.m. TheBlaze monitored MSNBC’s daytime programming on 12/30/13 and noted segments talking about raising the minimum wage happened in every individual show on the network’s schedule, and in many cases, in every hour of each program.
Additionally, a search for the term “minimum wage” on MSNBC’s site produced links to 442 stories. Included in the most recent stories was a poll asking, “To what should the minimum wage be raised?” (The question here seems to skew answers by assuming that it must be raised.)
The results of the survey appear to show that raising the minimum wage is not exactly a slam dunk issue for Democrats.
With 38% of all responses, the single largest reply to the MSNBC survey was, “It shouldn’t be raised.”
Of course, you can make the argument that 62% of MSNBC’s respondents want the minimum wage raised; they just disagree on how much to raise it.
In the fall of 2013, Gallup did some polling on the minimum wage and found 72% of individuals support elevating the minimum wage. However, asking small business owners if they would support raising the minimum from $7.25 an hour to $9.50 and hour, only 47% said yes. Additionally, 60% said that the increase would hurt small business owners.
Where do you stand on raising the minimum wage? Participate in our Blaze Poll and feel free to comment below.
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