Mike Rowe Brings a Little Common Sense to the Minimum Wage Debate

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

Mike Rowe is known for his common sense, his advocacy of the worth of the “dirty jobs” (the name of his old show), and encouraging young people to think more about the value of trade jobs.

Rowe doesn’t generally wade into political battles, but he does sometimes opine on issues in his typical way which is less about politics and more about sense. As our Jennifer Van Laar wrote, he came out strongly against California’s AB-5 which was so harmful to freelancers and which Joe Biden is now trying to apply across the country with the PRO Act.

Rowe was promoting his new show “Six Degrees with Mike Rowe” on the Discovery Channel which explores major moments in American history and “connects the dots with surprising tales and humor,” according to Fox Business. “What we wanted to do was kind of shower you with a lot of information that hopefully would work as a portal and inspire people to go a little deeper,” the host said. It’s going to use animation, puppets and “green screen reenactments” to make things more fun. RedState’s Becca Lower wrote about Rowe talking about the show with BlazeTV’s Steven Crowder in February.

It looks like great fun, as well as teaching some important history.

Rowe then gave his opinion on the debate over the minimum wage, according to Fox Business.

“I want everybody who works hard and plays fair to prosper,” Rowe said. “I want everybody to be able to support themselves. But if you just pull the money out of midair you’re going to create other problems, like there is a ladder of success that people climb and some of those jobs that are out there for seven, eight, nine dollars an hour, in my view, they’re simply not intended to be careers. They’re not intended to be full-time jobs. They’re rungs on a ladder.”

“[Those jobs] are ways for people to get experience in the workforce doing a thing that might not necessarily pay you as much as you’d like, but nevertheless serves a real purpose,” he added.

Rowe said that he thought wrongly raising the minimum wage could have the “unintended consequences” of going on to those skilled trades.

“I worry that the path to a skilled trade can be compromised when you offer an artificially high wage for, I hate the expression, but an unskilled job. So to me, the brightest line needs to be drawn between skilled and unskilled work. We need to encourage more people to learn a skill that’s actually in demand,” he said.

With just a few words, he points out the simple problem with the whole debate. A lot of jobs weren’t intended to be careers, they were supposed to be first jobs and stepping stones on to better jobs, those jobs that could sustain and support a person and/or a family. If you artificially up the pay, not only are you going to put a lot of businesses out of work, but the very people you’re claiming to help will be hurt by not having that job any more or not being able to work as many hours. Even beyond that, not going on to more skilled jobs such as those for which Rowe advocates.

Unfortunately, there’s not enough of this kind of common sense in media.