Mitch McConnell & Andy Barr are lying about the Minimum Wage

Ladies and gentlemen, Garland Hale Barr IV:

Andy Barr’s model for Kentucky is North Dakota proving yet again that Andy Barr doesn’t understand the basic economy of Kentucky — or, for that matter, North Dakota. But we’ll get back to that…

A week ago, Mitch McConnell told a group of TV advertising professionals (McConnell’s campaign and their aligned groups are dropping over a million dollars each week in TV advertising so it was nice of him to talk to them) that if he makes it back to the US Senate as the Majority Leader, he will allow votes on the minimum wage:

He promised to restore order to the U.S. Senate, allow votes on legislation he might not support, force President Barack Obama to sign or veto legislation for “a growth agenda,” and joked about the expense of running a U.S. Senate campaign. […]

[D]oes that mean he’d allow votes on such things as the minimum wage which Democrats generally support (including Grimes) and which Republicans generally oppose?

“Yes,” McConnell said.

Mitch McConnell’s can’t have it both ways. Either he’s going to allow votes on the minimum wage or, as he said at the Koch brother’s secretly recorded Billionairepalooza, he’s going to grind the government further to a halt and block votes on the minimum wage and a host of other “gosh darn proposals.”

We’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage.”

One way or another — Mitch McConnell is lying.

Last February, Mitch McConnell made clear that if there ever is such a vote, he would vote against any increase in the minimum wage — not even a penny.

Despite the fact that poll after poll shows overwhelming support among Kentucky voters for raising the minimum wage to $10/hr, this is not a new stance for Mitch McConnell.

Throughout his thirty year career, McConnell has worked to block raises in the minimum wage time and again, each time claiming that such a wage would only help people who didn’t need help and would absolutely cripple the American economy. It’s the argument he made in February 2014 and it is the exact same argument he made in 1988:

Raising the minimum wage above $3.35/hr will utterly destroy the economy!

The argument that raising the minimum wage to $3.35/hr in 1988 would have crippled the economy is provably false given that it’s now 26 years later and of all the things that have come close to crippling the economy, none of them has been the minimum wage.

Mitch McConnell was horrifically wrong in his analysis in 1988 and there’s no reason any serious person should trust he’s correct this time. Twenty six years later, Mitch McConnell is using the exact same argument to explain why this time raising the minimum wage will cripple the US economy.

Think about that for a second. Mitch McConnell has been making the same arguments against raising the minimum wage for 26 years — there are now eight years worth of new voters who weren’t even born in 1988. Mitch McConnell’s argument isn’t just stale, it’s been sitting in the way back of your grandmother’s closet inside a box of mothballs.

Mitch McConnell isn’t just recycling his own 26 year old argument against raising the minimum wage, he’s recycling the original argument against raising a the minimum wage — a 76 year old argument against even having a minimum wage:

The minimum wage has been controversial since it was established at 25 cents an hour by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which also banned most forms of child labor. Business leaders at the time warned the law would ruin the economy. It “constitutes a step in the direction of communism, bolshevism, fascism and Nazism,” said the National Association of Manufacturers.

On the one hand, that’s laughable. On the other, it’s overwhelmingly sad.

Either Mitch McConnell believes that bolshevism has destroyed the American economy for the past 80 years (a post-minimum wage era which saw the rise of the middle class)… or Mitch McConnell is lying.

It’s not just Mitch McConnell. That passage above comes from John Cheves’ recent must read report on the stark differences between Republican Congressman Andy Barr and his opponent Elisabeth Jensen.

In an age when political races are often run too safely, devoid of any actual vision and consisting only of a battle between idiotic talking points and an even dumber volley of attack ads, the 6th District Congressional contest between Andy Barr with his Wall Street millions and Elisabeth Jensen’s grassroots pull-em-up-by-the-bootstraps campaign offers two very distinct and very different world views.

One such differences between Barr and Jensen is on the minimum wage. As you saw in the video above, Andy Barr is opposes the minimum wage.

Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell are clearly playing out of the same playbook. Both men like to claim that raising the minimum wage will “kill” half a million jobs, and to claim this, they point to a CBO report from earlier this year.

Here again, Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell are lying. For a party that claims to be economically sound, their inability to understand statistics and economic analysis is astounding.

The CBO report, which Republicans love to selectively quote, offers a range of outcomes for potential job losses, and that range runs from basically zero to one million. The 500,000 figure that’s in the CBO report, as the CBO makes clear, is — and this is advanced mathematics here so bear with me — simply the plucked midpoint of their potential forecast. Raising the Minimum Wage could cost 500,000 jobs, but it could also cost essentially zero.

Regardless of whether 5 jobs are lost or 500 or 500,000, that loss is a tiny fraction of the overall benefit. Even if 5 million jobs were lost, and the CBO sees absolutely zero evidence to suggest that anything even remotely close to that outcome is even within the realm of possibility, the overall effect of an increased minimum wage is positive across the board.

The CBO report clearly states that 16.5 million workers would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage.

Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell either have a reading comprehension problem, or they are lying.

The CBO report clearly states that an additional 8.1 million workers who now make slightly more than $10/hr now would also receive a raise thanks to a spillover effect.

So that’s now 24,000,000 Americans who would benefit from the raise. Mitch McConnell and Andy Barr are using an uncertain “guesstimate” from the CBO to block raising the incomes of a considerably more certain CBO estimate of 24 million people.

Fun Math Fact: The “500,000″ jobs Barr and McConnell are pretending to “save” is just 2% of the 24 million Americans who would benefit. 

The Barr/McConnell lie about jobs “killed” is not only erroneously plucked from a February report, it’s also statistically questionable based on numbers made available in July. All 13 states that raised the minimum wage on January 1st showed higher rates of job creation over the first six months of this year than states that did not raise the minimum wage. Based on these numbers, not only is the selectively plucked CBO number inflated, it could be completely incorrect. Raising the wage, based on available evidence, actually creates jobs.

Barr and McConnell are also lying about who would benefit. While they claim that those who would get a raise are just about bunch of lousy teenagers, the fact is — again, the CBO clearly states — just 12% of these low wage workers are teenagers, 10% of them have a college degree and more than half work full time.

Fun Math Fact: 88% of the American workforce earning at or near the minimum wage are 20 years old or older. 

The same CBO report that Barr and McConnell are selectively quoting also makes clear that 65% of the increase in income from an increased minimum wage would go to families with incomes three times below the poverty line.

And the CBO also made clear that 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty simply by raising the minimum wage. That’s a net gain from the CBO. Other serious economists say it may be over 5,000,000 Americans.

In opposing an increase in the minimum wage, Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell are also denying help to 1,000,000 of Americas veterans.

Now… let’s get back to that video of Congressman Andy Barr at the debate with his opponent, Elisabeth Jensen.

Here, Garland H. Barr IV argues that while it’s factually accurate that the thirteen states that have raised the minimum wage have created jobs at a higher rate than states that haven’t, Andy Barr points to North Dakota.

This is classic Andy Barr.

North Dakota has indeed seen job increases despite the fact that the state refuses to raise the minimum wage. But the fact that North Dakota is enjoying job growth isn’t due to “fiscal conservatism” or “getting back to the economic principles that founded this country” but rather due to luck and technology. North Dakota is enjoying a massive oil boom. They’re producing so much oil that they are in the process simply burning off over a billion dollars worth of natural gas each year. Kentucky doesn’t have that market — and it’s not because of the government, it’s because the coal in the hills is running out and natural gas has become cheaper than coal and coal in Western states has become more abundant and the jobs and the suppliers and the manufacturers are all going to go to the places where those jobs are… places like North Dakota where many of the jobs barely require a high school degree and where oil companies are making a killing via horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing… none of which are viable options for Kentucky. Andy Barr’s comparison is either economically naive, fiscally ignorant or… yes, he’s just lying about the minimum wage.

“It wasn’t me!” — Andy Barr claims he didn’t vote to keep the government shut down

Andy Barr and Elisabeth Jensen are engaged in series of public meetings and a couple debates — the other day in Frankfort, Andy Barr made the absurdly false claim that he did not, in fact, support the government shutdown. Here’s the video:

What’s funny is that when Andy Barr cast his vote to keep the government shut down last fall, he told the Herald Leader that he thought about it long and hard and decided, “You know what? I don’t care.”

Based on the performance in the above debate, it seems like Andy Barr has changed his mind. Now that he’s not actually casting the vote but rather seeking votes, Andy Barr cares? Please.


After voting Wednesday night against the final deal that reopened the government and extended the debt ceiling, Barr told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he had reflected on his campaign promises and his daughters who stand to inherit a massive national debt. He was adamant that he had not considered the political ramifications.

“You know what? I don’t care, and I am not focused on politics,” Barr said. “This is not about politics. This is about the next generation.”

You’d think he’d be proud of his vote, instead, he’s running away from it and lying to voters, claiming it didn’t actually happen.

Maybe this will refresh his memory:


The upshot to all this? Andy Barr’s got a new campaign theme song. To be a true player, you got to know how to play.

Is Kentucky Rise trying to Submerge Kentucky?

***Update — INSIDERLOUISVILLE GOP activist admits involvement in Ashley Miller attack site, declines to say who is behind it ***


Last week WFPL’s Phillip Bailey reported on an attack website,, that featured ridiculously offensive smears of Ashley Miller, the Democrat running in the state’s 32nd House District. Miller’s opponent is Phil Moffett, the Tea Party Gubernatorial candidate who lost to David Williams in 2011 but who won the Republican Primary for this seat in May by defeating a former head of the Jefferson County Republican Party.

Moffett’s victory was one of the few bright spots for Kentucky’s Tea Party on primary night, although as B&P, WFPL and InsiderLouisville later reported there were some interesting donations to Moffett’s campaign from some of Mitch McConnell’s biggest boosters that helped get Moffett into the General. Moffett, unlike most other members of Kentucky’s Tea Party, remained silent in the Republican Senate primary, endorsing neither McConnell nor the Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin.

The SubmergeKentucky site is not currently available, directed instead to a holding page. As Bailey reported, the site was registered on August 4th of this year but the identity of the person or group who made the purchase and set up the site is not available.

Bailey reported on screenshots of the site which he’d been given:

Referring to the political newcomer as “Trashley Miller,” the page claims she is involved in providing “abortion referral services” for Planned Parenthood. It also slams Miller for appearing on a 2012 album cover by the Kentucky-based hip-hop group Nappy Roots.

“Nappy Roots is a popular gangster RAP group based in Bowling Green, Ky.,” the site said above two pictures of the album, which is titled “S—’s Beautiful.” The dual covers show Miller sitting in a bathroom stall. One version shows her sitting there with her underwear around her ankles.

“Ms. Miller is featured on the cover of their mixtape CD! But she ain’t just a model,” the site said. “(S)he’s a bad “MF” model!”

Should she be elected, as Bailey reported, Ashley Miller — who is a former Ms. Kentucky, a model, and an accomplished professional — would be the first African American elected to Kentucky’s State House in more than a decade. Phil Moffett told Bailey that he is not behind the site and does not know who is.

Some Googling around, however, may reveal the source of the site’s deeply offensive — and, frankly, racist and misogynistic — content.

The site is currently parked on a generic GoDaddy hosting page used by thousands of separate domains.

But if one searches for “trashley” and the site address, the following is returned:SubmergeTrashley

If one searches only the site’s address, two more interesting details emerge (or, submerge). First, in the second result you can see that the Google index still has some of the site’s content:

“The Kentucky Democratic Party’s structured program to ruin the lives of liberal, white-collar young women across the Bluegrass!”


More interesting is that third result. It indicates that the domain’s IP is, and indeed if you punch that IP and that site’s address into Google, you see several sites have results the same information:


A site’s IP address indicates where it is hosted, and can be searched to find that site’s “neighbors.” At a given IP address, there will be many websites, and the fact they are served there does not necessarily mean they are connected. For example, B&P’s IP is apparently the same as Among the hundred or so domains at a particular address, you find the usual flotsam of the internet. However… often when multiple sites are being run out of the same account, they will be served from the same location.

If you search the IP neighbors of SubmergeKentucky’s apparent IP address, there are 90 or so sites being run on, and if you look through those sites, a few interesting neighbors show up:



Sarah Durand is a leader of the Louisville Tea Party. She was the spokeswoman for Matt Bevin’s campaign. A WhoIs search on shows that site is registered to a Sarah Durand in Louisville. Sarah Durand also is the registrar on record for and

What’s particularly interesting here is that is the home of the Kentucky Rise PAC which belongs to Cathy Bailey. Bailey is widely expected to join the Republican field in the 2015 Governor’s race but has told press that right now she is focused on efforts to win the State House for the Republicans through her PAC, Kentucky Rise.

Bailey was the ambassador to Latvia under George W. Bush, and she and her husband Irv have strong ties to the Republican Party establishment, with both Cathy and, apparently, Irv serving on Mitch McConnell’s various campaign committees — and both Cathy and Irv have given generously to McConnell over the years.

Kentucky Rise PAC was formed earlier this year and it promptly have $2,600 to Mitch McConnell and another $2,600 to Andy Barr.


Another $5,000 went to RAND PAC, the Rand Paul presumptive campaign for president. Cathy Bailey maintains very close ties to Rand Paul — in fact, Bailey has played a central role alongside Doug Stafford and others in building Rand Paul’s political network.

In a February 2013 op-ed published in the Courier Journal, Cathy Bailey wrote of her “dismay” with the Republican Party as it became clear in the wake of the 2012 elections that the GOP has a real and worsening relationship with women — and Cathy Bailey offered her guiding principles on how to close that gap and make more women relate to the Grand Ol’ Party:

When I talk with women in our state, these are the issues that they care about. To convince them to vote Republican, we have to stop viewing elections solely as referendums on our opponents’ records and ideas. Instead, we must present voters with a meaningful choice between two different sets of values, policies and programs. We must prove that our agenda can better solve the pressing problems that keep women awake at night.

Of course, it’s not just the message; it’s also the messenger. One of the best ways to attract women to the Republican Party is to change the face of the Republican Party.

The SubmergeKentucky attack site is a “spoof” (and really, that’s giving it far too much credit) of EmergeKentucky, the program that has produced a slew of wonderful and very able female candidates who are now running in races across the state. Ashley Miller is one such EmergeKentucky graduate, as is Elisabeth Jensen who is running for Congress in Central Kentucky against Andy Barr — who has taken money from Cathy Bailey’s Kentucky Rise PAC.

The fact that the SubmergeKentucky attack website is hosted at the same IP address as Bailey’s could just be a coincidence — but it begins to stretch the bonds of ones imagination to see how.

Cathy Bailey, who hopes to be the Republican nominee for Governor and who started a PAC in the meantime to help win the State House for the state GOP, has a stated mission of countering the Democratic Party’s efforts to mobilize and empower women voters and women candidates.

SubmergeKentucky, which seeks to anonymously smear these politically active Democratic women via misogyny and, where possible, racist attack appears on the internet directly alongside the website for Bailey’s Kentucky Rise PAC.

And Bailey’s Kentucky Rise PAC has given $1,000 to Ashley Miller’s opponent, Phil Moffett. In fact, Bailey herself has also personally given $1,000 to Phil Moffett.

Among Kentucky Rise PAC’s biggest donors is Terry Forcht. Forcht runs Forcht Bank, the official bank of both Mitch McConnell’s campaign and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super PAC which is deeply intertwined with the McConnell aligned Super PACs Kentuckians for Strong Leadership and the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition — which are currently spending millions of dollars each week to attack another female candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes. Forcht and his associates at Forcht bank have given Moffett at least $6,000.

(In fact, many of the heavy donors — Jones, Brown, etc — to Kentucky Rise PAC are also big givers to the McConnell campaign and are also generous donors to Ashley Miller’s opponent, the Tea Party surprise of 2014, Phil Moffett.)

The website for Kentucky Rise PAC, as well as various other Kentucky campaign websites (Howland, Pate, etc), and a site called are all apparently hosted at the same IP address as and are both registered to Sarah Durand — and is also hosted at the same IP address as

And, to close this lovely circle, Sarah Durand is on the payroll of Cathy Bailey’s Kentucky Rise PAC:

SubmergeDurand2SubmergeDurand3 SubmergeKentuckyDurand

While it is possible the racist, anti-woman website just happened to be hosted at the exact same IP address as Cathy Bailey’s own Political Action Committee and Sarah Durand’s personal website it does seem that a coincidence here is wildly unlikely.

While Phil Moffett has gone on the record to explicitly claim that he does not know who put up this site, the available signs appear to point toward Kentucky Rise PAC, Cathy Bailey and her employee, Sarah Durand.

It could be happenstance that the McConnell-backing Rand Paul confidante Bailey employs the Bevin backing Tea Party leader Durand and that Bailey and the rest of the folks behind Bailey’s Kentucky Rise PAC are generous backers of Ashley Miller’s campaign and that all those parts just so happen to come to rest on the internet alongside this truly despicable anti-woman SubmergeKentucky website — but it could also not.

The funny thing about calling folks “trash” is that it can cut both ways. Sometimes the trashiest people are actually the ones who smell the rosiest.

Nappy Roots, play us out.


On KSR, Matt Jones again calls on Mitch McConnell to be a man of his word

Here’s the audio from KSR this morning:

The Grimes campaign just put out a press release attacking McConnell for continuing to dodge Matt Jones — you can read that below — but before we get to that, a few important points should be clear:

  • If Mitch McConnell’s campaign is now going to try to claim that they won’t go on Kentucky Sports Radio because of Matt’s politics, then they are lying.
  • They agreed to do the interview and now they are dodging that commitment.
  • If you’ve listened to Matt’s interviews with political figures, he’s never gone easy, even on those he supposedly agrees with politically.
  • The interview with Gov. Beshear and Mayor Gray, two Democrats, was pressing and unrelenting — hardly a softball situation.
  • If you listened to his interview with Alison, there was not one bit of it that could be construed as Matt “going easy” on her.
  • What that means is that they listened to that interview and they got scared.
  • McConnell’s campaign can only be dodging the interview with Matt Jones because they are scared that Mitch will have to submit himself to the exact same cross-examination as Alison had to endure.
  • The most offensive part of McConnell dodging Jones is that his campaign is simultaneously using Alison’s interview on KSR in partisan political attacks.
  • That means that if McConnell continues to dodge KSR, it is not because they feel Matt Jones is too partisan — indeed, if he was too partisan, they would not have material to feed their multi-million dollar attack machine — but rather that they are afraid that Mitch McConnell will be forced to actually answer a question.

There is zero doubt that at least one or two of the answers Grimes gave in her KSR interview will soon be bombarding Kentucky voters in McConnell campaign TV ads. It’s simply hypocritical of the McConnell campaign to use that appearance to attack Grimes when McConnell — who already agreed to do the interview — is now refusing to answer any questions of his own.

Similarly, there is little doubt that if Mitch McConnell ultimately does break his word and refuses to do an interview on KSR, his loudmouthed minions will yell and scream that it’s because Jones is an communist Obama lover. That will be their distraction from the fact that their guy, unlike Alison Lundergan Grimes, simply doesn’t have the balls.

What McConnell’s campaign is no doubt trying to figure out is whether they should just do the interview and get it over with or risk running afoul of the most listened to radio show in Kentucky which, as they knew well before they committed to McConnell’s appearance on the show, covers Kentucky politics in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Here’s the Grimes press release (which, I should add, is a bit of a softball itself… as there’s no doubt a McConnell solo appearance should be more to their liking than having to split the time in a straight up debate, and if Mitch has any brains — or any balls — he’ll accept the debate and ditch on his committed solo appearance):


LOUISVILLE – On Thursday while on Kentucky Sports Radio (KSR), Alison accepted an invitation to debate Mitch McConnell on the show.

“I look forward to debating Mitch McConnell here and at many, numerous 
other locations across Kentucky.”
– Alison Lundergan Grimes [Kentucky Sports Radio, 9/25/14]

KSR has yet to hear from McConnell, but this isn’t the first time Mitch has dodged a debate challenge:

  • Kentucky Sports Radio (KSR) Waits For An Answer From McConnell: “We have an invitation out to McConnell to come on the show as well, and if he doesn’t accept, Grimes will win the KSR vote.” [Kentucky Sports Radio, 9/26/14]
  • McConnell Campaign Not Returning KSR’s Calls Or Emails. “Don’t tell me you’re going to come, and then not come. Why do people have to lie? … They don’t return my calls and emails.” [Kentucky Sports Radio, 9/29/14]
  • McConnell Will No Longer Consider WDRB Debate.
  • McConnell Says No To Appalachian News-Express Debate. “‘In my opinion, they drug their feet and never had any intention to meet in Pikeville to debate Secretary Grimes,’ Vanderbeck said.” [Appalachian News-Express, 9/19/14]
  • McConnell Refuses To Respond To Beattyville After Grimes Accepts Debate. “The Enterprise has twice sent email requests for McConnell to appear in Beattyville for a debate, but no response has yet been received.” [The Beattyville Enterprise, 6/18/14]

Mitch McConnell is once again denying Kentuckians the chance to see an open, honest debate between the two candidates. The KSR invitation still stands – Alison Lundergan Grimes is ready and willing to debate Mitch McConnell if he decides to show up. Kentuckians are waiting.


Oh… and if you missed it on Friday:

Mitch McConnell & Andy Barr are lying about the ACA & Kynect

If you missed this excellent report from John Cheves in Sunday’s Herald Leader, then you will want to read it now.

Economists reject Republicans’ claims that health law is decimating Kentucky jobs

Key Republicans running for election Nov. 4 say the federal Affordable Care Act is putting Kentuckians out of work, but employment data and interviews with Kentucky-based economists suggest otherwise.

In a television ad, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, criticizes his Democratic challenger, Elisabeth Jensen, saying she “supports Obamacare, which has decimated Kentucky jobs.” In an opinion piece, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “there are so many stories about businesses holding back from expanding or hiring — or even cutting back on their workforces — it’s hard to even count.”

Politically, the frequently repeated claim might be effective. Polls show the health care law remains unpopular in much of Kentucky, although 521,000 people have obtained insurance coverage through it, some for the first time in their lives.

Factually, the claim doesn’t appear to be accurate. Kentucky had 26,271 more people working last month than it did in March 2010 when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s unemployment rate in that same period fell from 10.5 percent to 7.1 percent.

While Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell claim that Kynect is “decimating” Kentucky’s job market, the claim is not true. As the article goes on to make clear, the health care marketplace expansion has already created 3,600 jobs in places like Perry County in Eastern Kentucky and there are a projected 10,000 more jobs that will be added directly because of the law over the next several years.

Barr, McConnell and the Kentucky Republican Party have lied about the effect of the law and they have lied about official studies in order to back up those lies. As Cheves digs up, these Kentucky Republicans have claimed that government figures show it will “kill” two and a half million jobs, but instead all they have done is taken that study out of context, willfully misconstruing its finding and lying about its meaning.

The simple fact is that over half a million Kentuckians now have health insurance through Kynect. The simple fact is that Mitch McConnell has promised to rip that health insurance coverage from out of their hands “root and branch” — crippling working families, single moms, and young people recently out of college and more.

The simple fact is that Andy Barr, like Mitch McConnell, is lying about the health care law, and the simple fact is that Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell would leave half a million Kentuckians without health insurance coverage.

Here’s Andy Barr lying:

And there’s so many videos of Mitch McConnell lying about Obamacare, it’s difficult to pick just one, but, hey, let’s go with this one — in which Mitch McConnell says getting health insurance coverage for half a million Kentuckians is his biggest disappointment:


If you’d prefer to vote for someone who tells you the truth about Kynect…