* From last week…
“Anyone who wants to see more people going back to work should support lowering the minimum wage,” John Tilman, Illinois Policy Institute, said.
* From this week’s Crain’s we have Illinois Policy Institute writer Scott Reeder…
I’ve been covering politics for more than 25 years. I’ve seen politicians prevaricate, flip-flop, quibble and just about everything in between. I’m never surprised when they do it. But it’s still disappointing.
The Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 per hour; the federal rate, $7.25.
Last month GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner told a Moline audience that he favored rolling back the Illinois minimum wage. Now he’s saying he doesn’t want that. He says he was just being “flippant” when he made the statement.
I’m sorry. I’m not buying it.
A lower minimum wage helps low-skilled workers enter the job market because it lowers employers’ costs to hire and train them. This enables more people to be hired and start their way up the ladder toward higher wages.
That’s pretty standard free-market economics, something Mr. Rauner has expressed strong support for. But those principles seem to be butting heads with politics.
* When your allies advise you to jump off a cliff, it’s probably best to find new allies.
Throughout pretty much all of last year, Rauner favored the standard Republican Party line about opposing any increase in the minimum wage. Then, one time in December (that we know of), Rauner switched to the Illinois Policy Institute position and demanded that the minimum wage be lowered. Rauner’s move has seriously damaged his campaign and has opened the floodgates of public criticism.
Let that be today’s lesson. Those guys are politically toxic. Rauner gave the group half a million dollars, but that doesn’t mean he has to listen to them all the time.