Guadagno's rules for working class: Suck it up | Editorial

on December 03, 2016

What state does Kim Guadagno live in?

It's a pertinent question, because every time the lieutenant governor stands before a microphone, you wonder whether she knows anything about the lives of New Jerseyans.

Whether that's a deal-breaker in her ambition to occupy the top chair is for voters to decide, but they should know that she believes all of the following:

A pauper's wage of $8.38 is fair, businesses should pay employees whatever they want, paid sick leave is folly even if that single mother working at the local deli coughs on your lunch, and - don't sip your beverage as you read this - a $15 wage will lead to self-service gas.

And, of course, she continues to spout the absurdity that we didn't need to raise the gas tax to fund transportation projects.

These observations were part of the hot mess she served the N.J. Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association Wednesday.

Start with the big-picture stuff - Guadagno's vision of the role of government, which is just the kind of ideology that made Chris Christie such a success.

"Should the government dictate to you what you provide to your employees?" she asked her audience of 100. "I personally do not believe so."

To follow that logic, we should rescind child labor laws, overtime laws, and minimum wage itself.

This altruistic vision was part of a larger, cringe-worthy point about minimum wage, which is: "If we pass the $15 minimum wage, you're pumping your own gas."

That was her attempt to galvanize the crowd under the unifying creed of "Jersey Girls - and Guys - don't pump gas." One snag there: It's illegal to pump your own gas - period - and if she believes that will ever change, she should google "Jon Corzine's Dumbest Moments."

The LG's spokeswoman objected: "You have to consider the audience: Her point was that if we raise the minimum wage, they cannot afford to hire, and (theoretically), it could lead to lost jobs."

Only not for gas-jockeys. And not in the fastest-growing minimum-wage job, home health aide.

Guadagno's second pander was her claim that private business should not provide paid sick leave.

Presumably, she rejects workplace protections when an employee is sick or pregnant. We directed Guadagno to a 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton study of 289 businesses in Jersey City that showed 4 out of 5 offer sick leave, with 92 percent saying there has been no abuse, and 42 percent reporting improved productivity. She asked how many were gas station workers.

That's not as relevant as the 1.25 million New Jersey workers who have no choice but to show up every day, even if they have jobs where they might sneeze in the soup, or if they have a kid at home with a 104 fever.

In the State of Guadagno, that arrangement is best left between employee and employer, her spokeswoman reiterated - though it seems more likely that the employee has two choices: 1) play in pain; or 2) stay home, get docked, or get sacked.

There's nothing wrong with being pro-business, even if supply-side drones have spouting this government ethic since Hoover. But the more we hear from Guadagno, the more we think she needs a government apprenticeship of some kind.

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