Trump doubles down on debate claim: ‘Wages are too high’

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpClinton lauds Warren in first joint appearance Former Bush national security official backing Clinton over Trump Warren knocks Trump as she campaigns with Clinton MORE on Wednesday doubled down on his argument that American wages are “too high” after making a similar claim during Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate.

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“We have to become competitive with the world. Our taxes are too high, our wages are too high, everything is too high,” he said Wednesday morning during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“What's going to happen is now people are going to start firing people.”

Trump’s comments came when asked about the minimum wage, which he explained during Tuesday night’s debate on Fox Business News and reiterated on Wednesday. He said both times that high wages are hurting America’s ability to compete with other world economies. He added on Wednesday that China’s currency manipulation hurts American jobs.

“I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is,” he said during the debate, referring to the federal minimum wage.

“People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we cannot [raise the minimum wage] if we are going to compete with the rest of the world, we just can’t do it.”

The idea is likely to spark debate within both parties about income inequality, a hot topic surrounding the 2016 election. Trump has already called for America’s wealthiest to pay more, saying that his tax plan would cost him “a fortune.”

But the idea that America’s wages are too low likely won’t play well with the working-class, who make up a large coalition of Trump voters. While hourly wages have steadily increased over the past 50 years, the purchasing power that comes with it has stayed largely stagnant during that time period, gaining about $1.50 in adjusted 2014 dollars over that time period, according to Pew Research.

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