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MAY 23, 2021 9:29PM ET


Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who collects a $174,000 salary, thinks that there is a “downside” to paying workers a living wage enough to cover expenses such as childcare. Johnson made his remarks while appearing on WKOW-TV to defend his support of a bill in the Wisconsin state legislature that would end the $300 per week federal unemployment subsidy in the state — a bill the Democratic governor has said he will likely veto.

“People are literally making more money on unemployment with the plussed-up federal benefits than they made at their job,” Johnson said in an interview with A.J. Bayatpour on Sunday, adding that he worries that businesses cannot compete with the equivalent of a $16.75 wage provided by the government. “Wages are set in the marketplace and businesses pay what wages they can afford based on the competitive situation,” Johnson said.

And instead of arguing that businesses should pay higher wages, the senator argued that employees should accept less because inflation could occur in the future. “Increases in wage rates ratchet up and that creates permanent inflation so you may feel good about getting a five, or six, or seven percent raise but if general inflation is six, seven, or eight percent, that increase is just completely wiped out,” he said.

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