I just spent twelve minutes listening to the podcast of Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) stammering through his Monday interview with Greg Belfrage about Referred Law 20, Novstrup’s proposal to cut the minimum wage for young workers.
This interview alone should explain why I am so eager to replace David in the Senate and provide District 3 with effective, articulate representation.
Twenty months after proposing his affront to the voters, Senator Novstrup can still barely spit out his rationalization that cutting kids’ wages gives them more opportunities.
Quick show of hands, workers: when your boss cuts your pay, how many of you shout, “Thanks, boss, for the opportunity!”?
Pressed by Belfrage to respond to the argument that his youth minimum wage treats workers differently (I would say, opens the door to age discrimination), Novstrup ad-libs this rhetorical gem:
People say well that’s not fair, those people work just as hard as somebody over eighteen, why can’t —they should get paid the same. Well, if we … think everybody should be paid the same, we should actually regulate that everybody should be paid the same, like, because right now, if you’re working for a business, and you’ve been there five years, and they hire somebody today, how would your listeners feel if they got paid the same wage as they do even though they’ve worked there five years? A lot of people would be very uncomfortable with that, so people I think should be paid on their work experience, are they on time, do they work hard for that employer, that’s how it should be decided, not just because everybody that walks in the door should be paid the same because not everybody has the same experience when they walk in the door [Sen. David Novstrup, interview with Greg Belfrage, “Youth Minimum Wage Would Encourage Hiring Teens,” KELO Radio, 2016.10.17].
Yes, Novstrup is that bad at defending a point. He’s not even talking about the minimum wage any more. He’s pretending that all the people who are going to vote down his Referred Law 20 are voting for some weird Harrison Bergeron socialism. Opponents of Referred Law 20 aren’t advocating a uniform wage; they are advocating a uniform minimum wage, the same basic labor protections for everyone able to labor.
At no point in my advocacy against Novstrup’s youth minimum wage can I recall saying that we should automatically pay a sixteen-year-old new hire the same wage as an employee who’s been on the job for five years. It’s unlikely I’ve said such a thing because I would assume that a reasonable employer will reward any employee who sticks with the company for five years with something more than minimum wage. David’s “example” not only doesn’t apply to the youth minimum wage; it doesn’t exist.
To demonstrate his inability to string together factual arguments, Novstrup offers this inexplicable sentence toward the end of his interview:
The business and the employee would have the discretion in between $7.50 and $8.55 [Novstrup, on Belfrage, 2016.10.17].
The employee has discretion over that wage? What? If a sixteen-year-old doesn’t like the $7.50 an hour Jason Parker wants to pay her to grill burgers in Arlington, she can set her own wage at $8.25?
I’m probably working too hard to find logic in Novstrup’s statements. It’s much simpler to look at his attempted explanation of the youth minimum wage as more feckless word salad tossed on top of a proposal he can’t defend.