The Koch brothers have historically favored peddling their influence from behind closed doors and through the many think tanks and organizations they fund. However, a Wednesday story by Huffington Post reveals that their key strategist, Richard Fink, made headlines when it leaked to the public that he compared raising the minimum wage to Nazi Germany.
In his statements, Fink argued that raising the minimum wage would create an entire class of citizens that were reliant on the government, and that this could lead to fascist conditions.
We’re taking these 500,000 people that would’ve had a job, and putting them unemployed, making dependence part of government programs, and destroying their opportunity for earned success. And so we see this is a very big part of recruitment in Germany in the '20s…. If you look at the Third -- the rise and fall of the Third Reich, you can see that.”
The comments seem to ignore that having a minimum wage that people can not live on also creates an entire class of people that depend on the government to survive.
The speech was recorded at a private gathering the Kochs held on June 16 to further spread their far right message. In the remarks, Fink selectively cited portions of a Congressional Budget Office report that estimated raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would cost the country approximately 500,000 jobs.
While this is certainly a shocking number of jobs to lose, it is important to consider the wider implications of the report and the actual percent of jobs this would represent. Over the entire job market, it would represent an increase of unemployment of about .03 percent.
However, slow job growth was not the only topic covered in the selectively cited report. According to estimates, this increase in the wage would directly raise the incomes of over 16 million Americans. In addition to higher incomes, the report also estimates that at least 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty.
While Finch’s comments have served as a rallying cry for those on the left, it is clear that the Kochs are continuing their strategy of misrepresenting reports to build straw man arguments.
Where do you stand on the question of raising the minimum wage? If you are a minimum wage worker, how would a raise increase to 10.10 an hour benefit you and your family?