Tom Coburn: I Don’t Believe There Should Be A National Minimum Wage

May 1, 2014 8:00 a.m.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said Thursday that he doesn’t believe there should be a national minimum wage.

Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to block debate on legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Coburn was asked whether he thought the current minimum wage of $7.25 was sufficient.

“I don’t believe you ought to interfere in the market. My theory is if Oklahomans want a minimum wage, we ought to have it,” he said. “I don’t believe there ought to be a national minimum wage.”

Coburn said Democrats’ argument that not raising the minimum wage does an injustice to hard-working Americans is “malarkey.”

“The fact is if you look at the OMB studies and you look at the good economic models, the benefit is small. The cost of lost jobs is great,” he added. “It goes against the free market principle … We don’t know what the minimum wage should be. How’d they pick $10.10? Why not $22? Why not $100?”

The Oklahoma senator and physician was also asked whether a botched execution this week in his home state changed his view on the death penalty. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) ordered a review of the state’s execution procedures in the wake of the incident, in which an inmate died of a heart attack 43 minutes after his execution began.

“I’d say I’ve given it a lot of thought. I still think it has a deterrent capability,” Coburn said of the death penalty. “I don’t like it. I wish we put everybody that had such a history as this gentleman behind bars, working and doing things that would help them. But I haven’t changed my position.”

Coburn said statistics don’t bear out the perception that executions are frequently botched.

“It’s an unfortunate thing, but any time you’re doing something with a body, things can go wrong,” he said. “This leads to the discussion about the death penalty and whether or not that in and of itself is appropriate and then whether you can do that humanely.”

This post has been updated.

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