Illinois' governor wants voters to know he helps those "who don't have big-shot friends."
Facing a tough re-election campaign, Gov. Pat Quinn is falling back on his well-deserved reputation as the populist defender of the little guy.
First, he announced that he's withholding legislators' paychecks until they pass pension reform.
Then he started denouncing William Daley, his opponent in the March 2014 Democratic Party primary, as just another rich out-of-touch banker who helped push the economy into a brutal recession in 2008-09.
Most recently, Quinn has announced that he's renewing his push to increase in Illinois' minimum wage to $10 an hour.
"It's a principle as old as the Bible. If you work 40 hours a week, you should not live in poverty," said Quinn.
That claim may come as a surprise to those who were not aware the Bible expresses an official position on the minimum wage. But it's no surprise that Quinn has fallen back on his official political religion — appealing to popular resentments — as the election season approaches.
Quinn pushed similar legislation earlier this year, urging a minimum wage hike in his State of the State address. The proposal, however, drew vehement opposition and ultimately got lost in the shuffle as legislators wrestled with a series of budget, debt and public pension problems.
Proposals to raise the minimum wage have a surface appeal that's hard to deny. For starters, it's always easier to spend someone else's money.
But here's a few things to remember:
— At $8.25 an hour, Illinois' minimum wage is among the highest in the nation.
— If you want less of something, increase its cost.
— Illinois currently has an unacceptably high 9.2 percent unemployment rate and a reputation as a state with a hostile business climate.
Some, of course, would benefit if the minimum wage is increased in stages from $8.25 to $10 an hour. But others would suffer — both in the form of current entry-level jobs lost and new entry-level jobs not created.
Quinn's plan to raise the minimum wage may be an effective vote-getter. But it's bad economic policy that will put this state even farther behind the eight ball than it is now.