Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick opposes increasing the federal minimum wage and wants to keep it at its current level of $7.25 an hour, set in 2009, when it was raised from $6.55.
With tens of millions of dollars earned running a hedge fund business, McCormick does not need a higher minimum wage to pay for his basic needs. But for the more than 10 percent of Pennsylvanians who live below the poverty line, a higher minimum wage would make a huge difference.
In an interview on the podcast Politics PA podcast, first flagged this week by the progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century, McCormick was asked whether he supported having any federal minimum wage at all.
"I wouldn't change the minimum wage we have now," the former George W. Bush administration Treasury Department official responded. "But I wouldn't raise it."
Pennsylvania has not opted to raise its state minimum above the federal floor, though Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has increased it for state employees and unsuccessfully prodded the GOP-controlled legislature to do the same for other workers.
But the $7.25 minimum set in 2009 is only worth about $5.34 in 2022 dollars. A person working 40 hours a week at that rate would make about $15,080 a year, well below the $18,310 federal poverty line for a family of two.
McCormick said on Feb. 18, "Inflation across our nation continues to rise — spiking costs for all Pennsylvanians, especially working families, at the store and at the pump." However, instead of supporting a minimum wage increase, he proposes to get rid of President Joe Biden's investments in infrastructure and families, cut taxes, and eliminate federal regulations on businesses.
All of Pennsylvania's neighboring states have opted to increase their minimum wages above the $7.25 level. In total, at least 25 states voluntarily raised their wage floor for 2022.
While recent polling shows about two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters support a minimum wage increase, Republican lawmakers at the state and federal levels have blocked Democratic proposals for a more livable minimum wage.
A McCormick spokesperson did not respond immediately to an inquiry for this story.
But according to a February report by Insider, McCormick is personally quite wealthy.
Between 2010 and 2013, he received at least $70 million in discretionary awards from his then-employer, the Bridgewater Associates investment management firm, according to information contained in his 2015 divorce records.
Had he been working at the minimum wage he does support in a 40-hour-per-week full-time job, it would have taken him more than 4,641 years to earn that much.
McCormick is one of several Republican candidates running in November's race to succeed retiring Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
Reprinted with permission from American Independent