I was amazed by Paul Ryan's admission that he was wrong to refer to people as 'makers and takers', and that in fact while some people do prefer to live on the dole, most do not. I still am not fond of him, but his comments raised my opinion of him.
I happened to see his comments shortly before coming across this phrase, here:
"I am not a supporter of the minimum wage. I believe it is better to
start at a lower wage and get lots of raises for good performance rather
than have everyone start at a higher wage. I do not support the minimum
wage because it doesn't help with poverty and instead hurts people that
it is supposed to help. I'd rather start at a job where my wage is a
bit low but I know I can get raise through hard work and exceptional
performance than one where my wage is essentially set in stone no matter
how hard I work."
I think the speaker is honest; I also think he's wrong. To hope for an increased wage based on performance is reasonable; to hope to get to a livable wage based on performance -- and not just performance but exceptional performance -- is wrong, because it means the employer is accepting that people are not being paid enough to live, and that they have to do exceptionally well to get a raise. Most people don't do exceptionally well -- thats why we call it exceptional -- so most people won't be paid a livable wage.
But even if the 'exceptional' in that quote is just hyperbole, like the people who describe everything they like as outstanding and superb, it's still wrong, because a higher wage does help with poverty. How can that hurt? (If a way is found, I'd like to see some CEOs stop hurting themselves, and slash their own salaries. I won't hold my breath.)