- Republican Senator Rand Paul said that President Biden’s push for a $15 minimum wage would hurt Black teenagers.
- “‘Why does Joe Biden hate Black teenagers?’ should be the question,” Paul said.
- The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Friday came out swinging against President Joe Biden, saying that the Democratic president’s push for a $15 minimum wage would hurt Black youth.
During an interview with Fox host Sean Hannity, Paul alleged that a minimum wage increase would put 4 million people out of work.
“The people who lose their jobs first when you hike up the minimum wage are Black teenagers,” Paul said. “So, you know, ‘Why does Joe Biden hate Black teenagers?’ should be the question. Why does Joe Biden want to destroy all of these jobs?”
He added: “Even the government says that nearly 4 million people will lose their jobs.”
According to a Congressional Budget Office report, there’s a two-thirds chance that raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would cause zero job losses on the low end of estimates to 3.7 million job losses on the high end of estimates, with a median CBO estimate of 1.3 million job losses.
However, the CBO also estimates that a $15 minimum wage would increase pay for 17 million workers.
Paul cited the highest CBO job loss estimate in his interview with Hannity.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but states and many localities can set higher minimum wages. Kentucky’s minimum wage sits at $7.25 an hour.
The federal minimum wage has been unchanged since July 2009.
Black communities have been hit harder than other demographic groups during the coronavirus pandemic. Government data last summer showed Black Americans were disproportionately affected by mass layoffs. Meanwhile, Gen Z has been the hardest hit in the labor market and are now on track to repeat millennials’ money problems, as Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reported in December.
“It’s kind of a strange beginning to an administration,” Paul said. “You’re going to put your best foot forward and the first thing you say is, ‘This is how I’m going to kill jobs’ … ‘I’m going to kill thousands of jobs of the Keystone pipeline with ending it.'”
While in office, former President Donald Trump championed the US-Canada project, saying it would create 28,000 US jobs, a number that was disputed by The Washington Post in 2017. That same year, ABC News also noted that the majority of the jobs involving the pipeline would be temporary.
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