Fox News’ Neil Cavuto opened a discussion on Thursday by saying, “I sometimes wonder” whether fast food workers demanding $15 an hour wages are “union plants.” But instead of any actual reporting, he called on Herman Cain – whose record in the restaurant business is “marked by a long and largely successful battle against minimum-wage increases,” as Huffington Post put it. Cain assured Cavuto that the protesters must be plants because minimum-wage workers “appreciate those jobs.”
On December 5, the day that workers held protests in about 100 U.S. cities, Cavuto implied that Cain was a neutral expert with some kind of first-hand information. Cavuto’s first words to Cain were: “You hear and see what’s going on here.” Then Cavuto asked, “How many of those who are protesting are fast food workers and how many just might be union plants? I sometimes wonder.”
If Cain had any inside scoop to impart other than his (biased) belief, he kept it to himself. Instead, he came up with his own unsupported theory:
Neil, I believe that most of ‘em are union plants because my experience with minimum wage workers, having led the National Restaurant Association, is that most of them appreciate those jobs and here’s why: They are not minimum wage jobs, they are starting jobs, and what never comes through the liberal rhetoric is the fact that most people who start at minimum wage, if they do a good job, they get increases within six months. …If you artificially force the minimum wage to go up, …there would be job losses. The losers would be the minimum wage workers or the potential workers and the consumers because any prices would be passed on to the consumers.
Cavuto asked whether starting wages could be raised “a little higher.”
Not surprisingly, Cain was against that, too. “You could start them a little higher, but that means that we’re going to hire a little fewer. That’s just the fact of the matter.”