Karen Handel’s opposition to a livable wage is essentially victim blaming

You hear it all the time: change begins at the local and state level. Local and state legislation will have a more immediate effect on your life. So if you are in Georgia, meet Karen Handel.

Handel is a life-long conservative who has been the Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Secretary of State, executive at CIBA Vision and account firm KPMG, and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. Currently, she is running for a seat in the Georgia House.

Oh, and she doesn’t “support a livable wage.”

That’s the quote making headlines recently. Many supporters are pointing out that the video going viral cuts off the rest of her response, which discusses tax cuts for businesses.

A Republican’s solution to poverty is tax cuts for businesses???


To make sure you are well informed, here is Handel’s full response:

So the solution is a robust economy “with low taxes and less regulation.” According to Handel, that will allow business owners to grow jobs and create good-paying jobs. After all, that’s the difference between a liberal and a conservative, according to Handel.

Another difference between liberals and conservatives: liberals do not live in this fantasy world where citizens work minimum wage jobs only because higher-paying jobs are unavailable.

More high-paying jobs do not help those who are working minimum wage. Why? Because those minimum wage jobs will still exist. It’s not like these newly-created high-paying jobs replace minimum wage jobs with the same employee. Georgia can create thousands of high-salary tech jobs, but it will not mean a thing to the mother working in a warehouse or fast food with no tech experience.

Conservatives like Karen Handel also live in this alien society where fast food and other low-paying jobs are only for high school students needing money for gas and prom. Ideally, that would be great. In reality, there are a myriad of life situations that lead adults to a life of minimum wage work; life situations that people who get into politics have never endured and could never comprehend.

Some people do not have the mental capacity or the resources to further themselves. This “bootstrap” mentality only applies to a utopian civilization. With that said, these less capable people are still working full-time jobs. People like Karen Handel want to punish these less fortunate people by denying them a livable wage obtainable within their means.

Let’s also discuss this bizarro world where lowering taxes and regulations will increase wages. The reason why a minimum wage exists at all is because without it, employers would be paying people Third-World wages regardless of profit margin. We saw it before unions banded together during the Industrial Revolution.

It is naïve to think that whatever money is saved from lower taxes and fewer regulations will go immediately to the workers. Historically, it has never worked that way without binding legislation ensuring that path.

Essentially, the argument against a livable wage is victim blaming. Karen Handel believes that people who cannot land high-paying jobs are at fault, not the system.

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