Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is promoting a plan to increase the minimum wage proposed by the Waffle House restaurant chain that, he says, would raise the minimum wage in a way that won’t bankrupt small businesses.
Democrats’ so-called “COVID relief” bill would devastate small businesses already suffering from government restrictions by doubling the minimum wage, but the Waffle House proposal would raise the minimum wage more gradually and sensibly, Sen. Graham said Wednesday.
“The minimum wage has got nothing to do with COVID. Zero to do with COVID. It’s got everything to do with their liberal wish list,” Sen. Graham said at a press conference. Graham recalled how he learned how fragile small business profits are when, in his younger days, he worked for a café:
“The bottom line is, I know what it’s like for businesses to have to absorb increased costs. There’s only so much you can pass on to the consumer. So, this is the really bad idea. I don’t mind looking at increasing the minimum wage in a responsible way.”
Representatives from Waffle House have sold him on a plan to index minimum wage increases to inflation, Sen. Graham said, touting the restaurant franchise as an example of a business where hard-working Americans earn a living based on tips:
“I just met with the Waffle House today. If you don’t know who the Waffle House is, you’re not in touch with America.
“So, the Waffle House is where the rubber meets the road, in terms of affordable good food and people working hard and living off tips.”
Sen. Graham said he likes the Waffle House plan so much, he’s going to pitch it to Democrat West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin:
“So, they’ve got a plan I’m going to talk to Joe Manchin about – about how to increase the minimum wage, index it to inflation – that will be easier for business and get us to where we want to go.
“But, what these folks are proposing is doubling it at a time when government at the state and local level is pretty much restricting your ability to earn a living. You want a one-two punch for small business, this is it.”