Akin, Brunner and Steel Don't Know the Minimum Wage

Categories: Politics
Thumbnail image for steelman2.jpg
Sarah Steelman
Todd Akin, John Brunner and Sarah Steelman, the three Republicans running for the Missouri Senate, all participated in a debate hosted by KMOX. Moderator Charlie Brennan threw 'em all for a loop when he asked them what the federal minimum wage is, and if they would vote to increase it.

Brunner admitted he didn't know it, Steelman hazarded a guess ($7.50 an hour) and Akin guessed somewhere between $6 and $7, but admitted he didn't "know the exact number right now." They all agreed that whatever it was, it's too high. Steelman went further and suggested that it's so high that "young people sometimes can't find jobs because they're taken by other people and they don't pay a lower wage, or are unable to pay a lower wage because of the minimum wage. So that squeezes jobs out."

Actually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the greatest percentage of the work force earning the federal minimum wage -- which happens to be $7.25 an hour -- are workers age 16 to 19. So no, most teenagers aren't being kept out of the work force because the 40-year-olds are hoarding all the good fryer jobs.

What's more interesting is that the percentage of the work force that earns the federal minimum wage or lower is actually increasing, which means minimum wage workers are becoming a larger part of the nation's economy.

In 2007, 1.7 million workers nationwide earned the federal minimum wage or less, which was then $5.25 an hour.

In 2009, the federal minimum wage increased to $7.25. That year, 3.6 million workers were earning the minimum or lower.

In 2011, 3.8 million workers nationwide earned the minimum wage or less.

I'm no political analyst, but maybe these guys should know this stuff. It appears there's a trend that indicates more people every year are working for minimum wage.

Incidentally, Missouri senators are paid $98.40 per day for their service, which assuming they rack up an eight-hour day (snicker), puts them at just about $12.30 an hour. Nice work, if you can get it.

Video of the candidates fumbling the question below.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Funksoul 1965
Funksoul 1965

What else did anyone else really expect of these guys??? Looking at them reminds me of the empty talking heads on Fox News. Look handsome or like Sarah Palin, wrap yourself in the flag, the bible and a not so subtle derision for the poor and/or anyone not white and Presto! You too can be a Republican Party candidate!!!


*Any* politician who chants the job creation mantra in their platform should know goddamn good and well what the minimum wage is. You vote these people into office, you should expect the same "I dunno!" shrugs for the rest of their job performance, except for family values and religion.

Ed Golterman
Ed Golterman

Thank you for clarifying what it is. In a broader sense, there are no political answers to economic questions. These discussions are pretty much a waste of time. Brennan and Reardon find it easier, as do the rest of the media, to ride a 'lazy election-year trolley', rather than actually recovering the economy. Your time could be better spent. There are a couple of taxes that are no longer justified. Are we wasting economic engines, particularly in the tourism and travel industry? Is the hotel/motel tax rate-prohibitive? Do we lose business because of the rate? Take a stand on a tax increase for Arch-2015. Stuff that matters.


I wouldn't have expected any of them to know what the minimum wage amount is, they just know they should be against it.

They're against any regulation imposed by the government, unless the regulation benefits business or the wealthy.

The working poor and vanishing middle class aren't on the list of things they care about.

A strong middle class has been the life source for a healthy American economy, and a healthy economy has always been the real job-creator in America.

But the "corporations are people, my friend" Republicans just don't understand that.


Hey the CEO of Boeing got a 34% increase in compensation this year so what's to worry??

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

Yet more proof that republicans care only for the rich and view anyone who isnt as less then slaves.

Walsh Mj
Walsh Mj

These "leaders" think a full time worker earning $15,000 a year is overpaid? Decreasing it would increase assistance programs, so government would subsidize private industry. Does this sound right? Many argue an increase cost of living, so they will not gain. However, most other higher paid workers get increases. That increases cost of living and further buries the poor.

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault