Bruce Rauner Proposes Lowering State Minimum Wage

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 7, 2014 9:20PM

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GOP gubernatorial hopeful and well-known hammerer and shaker Bruce Rauner’s latest idea for economic development in Illinois is to lower the minimum wage, because economic competition means racing fastest to the bottom.

The Alton Daily News reports that while all four GOP hopefuls are against raising the state’s wage, business mogul turned would-be politician Rauner wants to use his "Shake Up Express" to kick things in reverse.

“I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage,” said Rauner. “I think we’ve got to be competitive here in Illinois.”

Raising the minimum wage has been one of Gov. Pat Quinn’s main talking points heading into the 2014 campaign. Quinn said he wants to increase the wage from $8.25 to $10 an hour, which would make minimum wage workers in Illinois the highest paid in the nation.

Despite his appearance as an average Joe who stays at cost effective motels and starts his day with Raisin Bran just like everybody else, Rauner need only shake his hammer for an hour to make what minimum wage earners make in a year. Rich Miller at Capitol Fax provides the breakdown:

To put this into a little perspective, somebody earning minimum wage in Illinois today (before any Rauner-enforced pay cut) would have to work 6,424,242 hours to match Rauner’s 2012 income of $53 million. That works out to 803,030 days, 160,606 40-hour weeks, or 3,088 years.

Rauner’s income averages out to $204K a day for a five-day work week, or $25,550 every hour of an eight-hour day. It would take a minimum wage employee 399 days to earn as much money as Rauner made in a single hour last year. And, again, that’s before any pay cut.

Meanwhile, more than one study came out last year highlighting that even $10 an hour is too little for most people to afford basic necessities when adjusted for inflation. In March, a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that a worker earning $8.25 an hour would have to work 82 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom “Fair Market Rent” apartment. In October, a study by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor and Research and the University of Illinois Department of Urban and Regional Planning showed that 52 percent of fast food workers making an average of $8.69 an hour rely on some form of public assistance.

Rauner isn’t the first gubernatorial hopeful to suggest Illinois lower its minimum wage. During his campaign for the GOP nomination to win the governor’s mansion, former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna called it a “problem” workers made $8.00 an hour. That worked out well for him, didn’t it?