After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough for ruling that a minimum wage should not be included in the COVID-19 relief package, she was slammed by various conservatives, including author Candace Owens, who asserted, “We should give her the Nobel prize in economics.”
On Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “It is utterly embarrassing that ‘pay people enough to live’ is a stance that’s even up for debate. Override the parliamentarian and raise the wage. McD’s workers in Denmark are paid $22/hr + 6 wks paid vacation. $15/hr is a deep compromise — a big one, considering the phase in.”
It is utterly embarrassing that “pay people enough to live” is a stance that’s even up for debate.
Override the parliamentarian and raise the wage. McD’s workers in Denmark are paid $22/hr + 6 wks paid vacation. $15/hr is a deep compromise – a big one, considering the phase in.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 3, 2021
MacDonough stated on February 25 that inserting the minimum wage requirement did not meet the guidelines for reconciliation, which Democrats are using to pass their relief plan. “The reconciliation process places a number of restrictions on what policy measures can be included in the legislation,” The Wall Street Journal explained. “It also allows Democrats to pass the legislation without GOP support, provided that they lose no votes among their own ranks.”
In response to Ocasio-Cortez’s reference to Denmark, the Daily Mail noted, “Denmark does not have a federally mandated minimum wage. Instead it has a strong trade union presence where individual industries and workers negotiate fair salaries on a sector-by-sector basis.”
Owens, speaking on Fox News’ “Hannity,” said, “I will say this. With AOC you never let facts get in way of a good story. You know what I mean? That is her motto. Personally, I think we should give her the Nobel prize in economics. If we’ve got Andrew Cuomo winning an Emmy for his coronavirus briefings, despite the fact that he was allowing people to die, why not award AOC the Nobel prize in economics.”
Nation Review’s David Harsanyi noted:
The most obvious problem with Ocasio-Cortez’s contention is that Denmark, like other Scandinavian nations, doesn’t have a statutory minimum wage. Industries and workers engage in sector-by-sector salary negotiations, which might well undermine intra-industry competition, but which is a much better idea than the flat national-wage floor being peddled by Democrats. So, this popular progressive talking point about Denmark’s miracle middle-class fast-food worker doesn’t make much sense to begin with.
Especially when one considers that the per-capita income in the United States is virtually the same as in Denmark — quite a feat given that we’re a pluralistic nation of around 330 million people that naturalizes another 900,000 people every year, many from poor nations, and that Denmark is a homogeneous country of fewer than 6 million citizens that, in recent years, has effectively shut down its borders to poor immigrants.
USA Today reported that Denmark’s trade unions “work to ensure that workers are paid a reasonable rate and try to keep the average minimum wage at $20 per hour. As of 2020, minimum wages in the country hover around $16.60 per hour, according to Check In Price. Minimum-wage.org, says Denmark’s average minimum wage is $18 per hour and annual minimum wage is $44,252.00.”
USA Today also points out that Denmark “has one of the highest tax rates in the world, with the average Dane paying a total of 45% in income taxes, according to BBC.”