Weekly Column by Lamar Alexander: “A Better Way to Solve Our Country’s Biggest Problem: Jobs”

Posted on May 5, 2014

This week, the Senate voted on the Democrats’ minimum wage proposal. The most important issue facing our country is jobs, but the Democrats’ so-called solution is a proposal that, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will eliminate 500,000 jobs. Republicans have real solutions to help people get better-paying jobs, not a plan that imposes one more burden on job creators and adds to the big, wet blanket of regulations that is smothering our free enterprise system.  

Democrats didn't intend to pass this legislation, but rather to point out political differences, and they didn’t allow Republicans to offer ideas for real solutions to help more Americans find a job. Republicans believe the best way to create jobs is to liberate the free enterprise system and help Americans get the skills they need to find a job. A few examples of the many proposals that would help create jobs include: 

  • Reform federal job training programs, with legislation such as the “Workforce Investment Act,” which would provide approximately $145 million for job training in Tennessee.
  • Pass the “Scholarships for Kids Act,” which would create $2,100 scholarships to follow 11 million low-income children to the school they attend.
  • Repeal the medical device tax, a $30 billion tax on revenue that has cost 33,000 jobs, increased the cost of life-saving medical devices and discouraged innovation in an industry that has become one of Tennessee’s top exports.
  • Build the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that would make us more secure in our energy supply and create thousands of jobs for American workers.

These are real solutions to help businesses create good jobs, rather than a minimum wage hike that will destroy jobs and does not serve its intended purpose of benefitting low-income Americans. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, only $1 out of every $5 earned from a minimum wage increase would go to individuals in families below the poverty level and would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers. Even Janet Yellen, President Obama’s chairman of the Federal Reserve, said about the Congressional Budget Office, “I wouldn’t argue with their assessment.”

Democrats’ stale, bankrupt minimum wage proposal is right in line with their other outdated job-killing policies that are burdening our free enterprise system. We need to spend our time on real solutions to help the 9.8 million unemployed Americans find a job.