Tanya Sinkovits

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — It may seem like an easy enough question: what is the federal minimum wage? But all three Republicans running in Missouri’s U.S. Senate primary didn’t know when asked during a debate Friday on KMOX.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25. While some states have higher minimum wages, Missouri’s is the same as the federal level.

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), businessman John Brunner and former Missouri State treasurer Sarah Steelman are competing to run against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in November.

Listen to part of the debate below:

The GOP candidates took part in the radio debate on the Charlie Brennan show this morning. His question to each candidate was if they knew how much the federal minimum wage was and if they would support increasing it.

They all missed the mark, either saying they didn’t know or guessing wrong.

John Brunner was asked the question first.

He addressed the issue of minimum wage and its effect on small businesses. Brunner also said when he ran a business he paid his employees “always above the minimum wage” because he was looking for the best people.

Sarah Steelman guessed the minimum wage was $7.50 an hour, which is 25 cents higher than the actual minimum wage. But replied “I’m not in favor of increasing it at this time.”

When asked for an explanation Steelman said “I think it’s high enough as it is.” Adding “young people sometimes can’t find jobs because they’re taken by other people and they don’t pay a lower wage, or are unable to pay a lower wage because of the minimum wage. So that squeezes jobs out.”

Rep. Todd Akin followed Steelman’s remarks by saying “my belief on this is its just another example of a wrong thing that the government does.”

“I don’t think the government should be setting the prices or wages on different things,” Akin said. “I don’t think that’s the function of the government.”

“If you got a kid that’s never held a job before and wants to just simply sweeping the floor and learn how to be a employee. Maybe they’re worth $6 an hour but the government says you have to pay them seven something — you don’t hire them. And that’s a big mistake.”

Akin also did not know the minimum wage, guessing “its somewhere in the 6 or 7, but I don’t know the exact number right now.”


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