Dave Brat, who defeated Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in Virginia on Tuesday, seemed to be taken off guard speaking to Chuck Todd on MSNBC Wednesday morning. When Todd asked him for his thoughts on raising the minimum wage, he told him that he thought that the interview was to be celebratory in nature, an opportunity for him to thank the voters for nominating him and that he did not have a “well crafted response” for questions on the minimum wage.
This is a strange response from a professor of economics. One would expect him to be very well versed in questions relating to the economy.
He did say that he is a “free market guy” and that he feels that the market is “already distorted” by over regulation and Obamacare, asserting the repeatedly refuted claim that due to the healthcare law, businesses are keeping employment below 50 employees and restricting the work week to less than 30 hours.
Pressed by Todd to answer whether or not there should be a minimum wage, Brat finally responded:
“I don’t have a well-crafted response on that one. All I know is if you take the long-run graph over 200 years of the wage rate, it cannot differ from your nation’s productivity. Right? So you can’t make up wage rates. Right? I would love for everyone in sub-Saharan Africa, for example — children of God — to make $100 an hour. I would love to just assert that that would be the case. But you can’t assert that unless you raise their productivity, and then the wage.”
When Todd observed that it seemed that he was trying to make a case against any federally mandated minimum wage Brat replied that wages must be tied directly to productivity once more raising the question of his qualifications as a professor of economics. Wages have remained stagnant since 1980 while productivity has risen steadily.
Watch Brat’s remarks in the video below.