Marco Rubio on the Minimum WageRubio opposes the existence of minimum wage laws altogether, arguing that they have historically failed to generate prosperity.
CHARLIE ROSE: “Senator, can you support a $9 minimum wage?”
MARCO RUBIO: “Again, I support people making more than $9. I want people to make as much as they can. I don't think the minimum wage law works. We all support – I certainly do – having more taxpayers, meaning more people that are employed, and I want people to make a lot more than $9. $9 is not enough. The problem is that, you can't do that by mandating it in the minimum wage laws. Minimum wage laws have never worked in terms of helping the middle class attain more prosperity. What works is the kinds of things that I proposed last night that would help our free enterprise system create an environment for the private sector to grow, create more good-paying jobs, I hope – let's have a debate about growth and what generates growth because, a minimum wage law, as good as it may sound at the outset, is not the way to do it.”
13 February, 2013: Rubio is interviewed on CBS This Morning (2:58 – 3:42)
Rubio fears that an increase in the minimum wage would have a devastating impact on business, particularly small and mid-size businesses, and has specifically spoken against President Obama's proposed raising of the minimum wage to $10.10.
QUESTIONER: “Can you envision a scenario in which this congress agrees to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?”
MARCO RUBIO: “Well, I mean, I haven't heard anyone discuss alternatives to his proposal. I know in the past Republicans have agreed to minimum wage increases if there's built-in protections for small and mid-size businesses. I'm concerned about the impact, for example, that his decision on the federal contractors will have on small and mid-size businesses to be able to absorb that. And the fundamental concern about the minimum wage is not that people are gonna make more money, we want people, I want people to make a lot more than $10.10 an hour. The question is, in enforcing employers to do that, will they now be forced to hire less people? And that is a legitimate concern, and I recognize that some people will say there's economic studies that show it doesn't have an impact. I can tell you of businesses, particularly small and mid-size businesses upon which it will have an impact. And so my question becomes, well, if we really, if what we want to do is empower people with higher pay, there are probably better ways to do it that are more enduring than simply a federal mandate on the wage level. And I think it begins by recognizing – and the president mentioned this last night, and sometimes this is under-appreciated – we are not just going through a cyclical downturn in our economy, we are going through a structural transformation in the very nature of the economy. I think, a transformation that is equivalent in its scope and impact to the Industrial Revolution. And the result of that has been that many of the lower and middle-skilled jobs that paid middle wage, you know, middle-class incomes and above have either been outsourced or automated or replaced. And the ones that have remained have had their wages held stagnant. And, now, the opportunity of the 21st century is to create a host of new jobs that replace those jobs, and hopefully those jobs are more fulfilling, they pay better, they have more job security – but they're gonna require a higher level of skill and education than ever before. That is the structural challenge before us, is how do we create an environment where our economy is creating more of those 21st century middle-class jobs, and how do we capacitate our people to fill them? And that is, in many ways, what we really should be focused on in terms of elevating people's wages in the long-term. Well beyond $10.10 an hour.”
29 January, 2014: Rubio at Seib & Co. breakfast in Washington, D.C.