Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, May 17, 2013
There are many reasons why Thomas Perez shouldn’t be confirmed as Labor Secretary, but the most pressing one is that his plan to raise the national minimum wage will cost America’s youth critical jobs.
According to Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit focused on educating and organizing young Americans on America’s problems, two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers are under the age of 30. Raising the minimum wage, in the organization’s opinion, would only cut the number of jobs available.
“It’s no secret that Thomas Perez has been touted as President Obama’s point man for a national minimum wage increase that will disproportionately harm America’s youth,” Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg said in a press release last week.
“We need someone heading up the Department of Labor who’s going to provide real leadership in promoting policies that will create jobs for our generation, and Thomas Perez is not that person,” Feinberg later told Red Alert Politics. “Our demographic will suffer disproportionately from a very bad government policy that Thomas Perez and President Obama are going to support.”
Feinberg added that Millennials would be better off if Perez focused instead on policies that would help create jobs through reduced spending, lower taxes and eliminating unnecessary red tape.
“Thomas Perez believes that the solution to our problems lies with bigger government,” Feinberg told RAP.
Before serving in the Justice Department under President Obama, Perez was the Secretary of Labor for the state of Maryland. Under his tenure the state implemented the country’s first statewide living-wage law.
His nomination was confirmed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on a party-line vote, 12-10, Thursday. Perez will go before the full senate next week, however it is unknown if the Democrats will have the 60 votes needed to confirm him. Perez’s confirmation has previously been delayed multiple times, with Republicans using the argument that his failure to partake in a whistleblower complaint against the city of St. Paul, Minn. over the Justice Department’s housing discrimination guidelines is grounds for his nomination to be withdrawn.
If confirmed, Perez would also be the only Latino serving in Obama’s cabinet.