Carly Fiorina said Monday that raising the the minimum wage would mean less opportunity for those workers most in need.
At the Des Moines Register-sponsored "soapbox"at the Iowa State Fair, the former Hewlett–Packard CEO said she thought the decision should be left to individual states – not the federal government.
"Why? Because it makes no sense to say that the minimum wage in New York City is the same as the minimum wage in Mason City, Iowa," she said at the event, skipping a big speech to go right into a question-and-answer session with the crowd, the National Journal reports.
"We have to remember that a lot of minimum-wage jobs are jobs where people start, and in those jobs they learn skills to move forward," she added. "So we need to be honest about the consequences of raising a minimum wage too high. One of the consequences is that young people who are trapped in poor neighborhoods will have less opportunities to learn skills and move forward."
Real job growth is created by letting smaller businesses thrive, she added, and forcing smaller businesses to pay higher wages would drive them out of the market.
"We are crushing them under the weight, the complexity, the cost, the power of a federal government that frankly advantages the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected, and is crushing the small and the powerless," she said. "Every time we destroy a small business or we destroy a community bank, we are destroying the opportunity for someone to get that first job, learn skills, and get a better job."
The National Journal reports the issue has been argued for years by economists, including a 2014 report from the Congressional Budget Office
that projected raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour would lead to a reduction in 500,000 jobs nationally while raising weekly earnings for some 16.5 million workers.
Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is an idea supported by Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Fiorina also said the government should stick to "some form of zero base budgeting" that would require a justification for all new expenses, the Washington Examiner reports.
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