Kudlow calls federal minimum wage 'a terrible idea'

Key Points
  • White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow labeled the federal minimum wage a "terrible idea," saying it hurts small businesses.
  • He made the statement when asked whether the administration would favor a $15 an hour minimum wage.
  • Kudlow said he "applauded" Amazon's decision to raise its own workers' pay to that level.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

A federal minimum wage is "a terrible idea" that hurts small businesses, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Thursday.

With midterm elections less than a week away, speculation is building as to what changes might be in store in Washington, D.C. Specifically, Kudlow was asked during a forum on small business how the administration would respond if Democrats press for a $15 an hour national minimum wage. Polls indicate the House is likely to flip Democratic though the Senate is likely to stay Republican.

"My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea, terrible, and will damage particularly small businesses," he told a questioner from The Washington Post, which presented the event. "To force them to kind of take a payroll increase would be silly."

He made the remarks a day before the Labor Department will report October nonfarm payrolls growth. Some economists suspect average hourly earnings will grow more than 3 percent for the first time since the Great Recession.

1 million additional workers every year needed to add 0.5% to GDP
1 million additional workers every year needed to add 0.5% to GDP

Geography is an important factor when deciding what wages should be, said Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council.

"Idaho is different than New York. Alabama is different than Nebraska," he said. "That's why the federal minimum wage doesn't work for me."

The current minimum wage is $7.25, where it has been for more than 10 years. Some Democrats and labor activists have been pushing for the $15 level, which a number of communities have adopted.

Kudlow praised Amazon for raising its minimum to $15, saying he "applauded" the move.