Ilinois Republican Congressman Aaron Schock appeared last night on MSNBC after the State of the Union address. In case you forgot or didn’t know, MSNBC is the Progressive antidote to Fox News.
Republican elected officials are generally phobic about MSNBC, and approach it with trepidation, if at all. So I give Mr. Schock credit for his valiant appearance, if not for his ideas.
The last time I had seen Rep. Schock on TV was at Governor Rauner’s inauguration. He was one of a bipartisan pair of Illinois luminaries from the 114th Congress, who ex officio came to bless Rauner’s ascension to power. It was a boilerplate, cookie-cutter moment with every expectation of the usual cliches.
Except, Schock tried to add a classical cachet to his commendation. He evoked the Roman political folk hero, Cincinnatus, as icing on the ceremonial cake. Rauner, you see, is Cincinnatus Redux. Latin scholars and students were probably proud of Schock’s allusion . Even if he got his facts wrong. Cincinnatus served the Roman Republic. Not the Roman Empire.
But we all make mistakes.
Last night on MSNBC Congressman Schock was on firmer ground. After all, he was expounding on the wisdom of the minimum wage. But still getting his facts wrong.
No, Mr. Schock, most people who receive the minimum wage in the United States are not teenagers flipping burgers, or college students moonlighting. The average age of a minimum wager is around 31 and one-third of them are over 40.
Yet it wasn’t so much Schock’s Conservative-talking-point flub that bothered me. It was something else he said. As if it were handed down by the Almighty. Dollar.
According to Schock, why raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10? It would be just about as challenging, he asserted, to live on the latter as the former. So what’s the point? Better to think about job creation, economic growth, balancing the budget. And, he further opined, when does it stop? At $20? Why not $50?
It had a familiar ring to it. A rising tide lifts all boats. Mainly yachts.