Wednesday, April 30, 2014

President Obama on the Minimum Wage

President Barack Obama devoted this weekend's Weekly Address to raising the minimum wage.

As every good politician knows, vignettes about real people often strike a chord with listeners. So the President opened his address by sharing the stories of two businesses that recently raised their employees wages to ten dollars an hour.

The President asserted  that they did it not just because "it's the right thing to do," (a proposition that he made no attempt to establish.) They did it because "it makes good business sense." And for businesses that can afford to do so, it does make good business sense. Hiring, training, and, most important, retaining the right employees are critical to the success of any business. Good wages play a part in that. 

 "That’s why," the President claims, "two months ago, I issued an Executive Order requiring workers on new federal contracts to be paid a fair wage of at least ten dollars and ten cents an hour."

The President follows this with a  call for Congress to act on a bill to make a ten dollar and ten cent minimum wage federal law.

Even the most fervent Obama supporters surely must feel skeptical that "good business sense" is the reason behind the President's actions. Some business owners might believe that it makes "good business sense" to let them make the call, just like the owners of the two businesses he praises in his address.

He does not say much more about "good business sense." Obama uses the remainder of his address to revert back to "the right thing to do" and to attack Republicans. He tries to finesse the objection that young people fill many minimum wage jobs by asserting that the average minimum wage earner is 35 years old. He conveniently leaves out the other objection that most minimum wage earners only work part time.

This allows him to make the appeal that "nobody who works full-time should ever have to live in poverty."

And, of course, he describes all minimum wager earners as "hard working." Well, some are and some aren't. The one's that are hard working will not be earning minimum wage for long.

Not Obama speech would be complete without manifesting his perverse view of American society. He concludes that raising the minimum wage is important because "we know that our economy works best when it works for all of us – not just a fortunate few."

Even without the devastating wreck of an economy left by President Bush, progressives still see our economy as only working for the "fortunate few."

Ironically, the statement serves as a stunning indictment of his own administration when he sees only the success of the "fortunate few." 

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