There has been a big push recently by President Barack Obama to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from the current $7.25 rate*, bending to cries from some of the most-leftist congressional Democrats for a higher wage than his original $9 proposal.
President Obama’s proposal is bad enough, but fast-food workers, however, want $15 an hour, and many employees went on a one-day strike last week to voice their demands. This isn’t the first time this year fast-food workers have gone on strike over the minimum wage. It happened in various parts of the country in April, July, and August.
These workers complain that they can’t live on the $7.25 federal minimum wage, which comes out to $15,080 annually for a full-time workers (76% more than the $11,490 federal poverty level for a one-person household). Raising the minimum wage to $15 would come out to $31,200 a year for a full-time employee.
Though people tend to get caught up in the warm and fuzzy feelings of minimum wage politics, the debate is so much more than that. Looking at the characteristics of these workers tells us a lot.
There is a lot going on surrounding the budget as Congress approaches the December 13 deadline for lead negotiators — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of their respective budget committees — to reach an agreement, per the October deal that ended the government shutdown.
Republicans in Congress are, generally, ready to deal on the budget, one way or another, after the hit in the polls they took in October. But discussions current taking place between Ryan and Murray would undo tens of billions in sequester cuts, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal:
Lawmakers must still overcome significant obstacles, including last-minute pressure from Democrats seeking a renewal of expanded federal unemployment benefits and labor unions opposed to proposed cuts in federal employees’ pensions.
Still, officials close to the talks say that Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chief negotiators for their parties, are closing in on a deal that, while smaller in scope than past budget deals, would mark a rare moment of bipartisanship in a Congress that has been lurching from one fiscal crisis to the next.
Some have been praising the Internal Revenue Service for the lack of problems in its implementation of Obamacare. For example, Politico recently bragged that the scandal-plagued agency “has not messed up — yet” in its substantial role in the law.
The same cannot be said for other agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), given disastrous federal Obamacare exchange website, Healthcare.gov.
But a recently released report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the watchdog who oversees the IRS, found that the agency doesn’t have a plan in place to address Obamacare subsidy fraud:
The new tax credits that the IRS will handle under ObamaCare are susceptible to fraud, according to a new federal audit released Tuesday.
Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration said the IRS has yet to complete its strategy for battling fraud concerns like wrongly issued tax credits. The IRS’s systems for protecting private information also have software flaws, the audit found.
In a speech on Tuesday, part of his perpetual campaign, President Obama reached out to Millennials, who have grown weary of him, in hopes that they will enroll in a government-approved health plans on the Obamacare exchanges. But he also, strangely, urged bartenders to host happy hours to promote Obamacare:
During today’s White House Youth Summit, President Obama called on young people to do whatever they can to promote his signature health care law — including plying their customers with cheap booze.
“If you are a bartender, have a happy hour,” Obama said as the crowd laughed. “And also probably get health insurance because a lot of people don’t have it.”
“[The] bottom line is that I’m going to need you, the country needs you,” Obama said, reminding them that their friends and peers might not know the benefits of Obamacare.
An “Obamacare Beer Hall Putsch,” if you will, may sound like a good idea to promote the law, but President Obama must not have worked in the service industry. Many, maybe even most, restaurant owners and managers discourage servers from discussing any sort of political issues with guests because of the possibility of an incident that could hurt them in the community.
A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, via the National Journal, found that white women, a crucial block of voters for Democrats, have an increasingly unfavorable of Obamacare (emphasis added):
The Kaiser poll, which has been conducted monthly since Obamacare’s inception, shows the law has never been a big hit with white women. But this group’s opinions took a sharply negative turn in the November results.
According to Kaiser, 40 percent of college-educated white women hold a “very unfavorable” view of the law—10 points higher than a month ago. An additional 10 percent view the law “somewhat unfavorably.” A month ago, those two groups together totaled just 42 percent.
That’s not damning in and of itself, but this is the one slice of the white electorate where Democrats usually perform well. President Obama won 46 percent of the group in 2012, and even that was an underwhelming showing compared with recent Democratic presidential candidates.
And that’s not all. Democrats should be far more worried about white women who do not have a higher education. The numbers are astounding: In the latest Kaiser poll, 50 percent have a “very unfavorable” view of the law—9 points higher than in October. An additional 13 percent view it “somewhat unfavorably.” Indeed, antipathy among blue-collar white women runs even deeper than the most conservative white demographic group, blue-collar white men (59 percent of whom hold an unfavorable view, Kaiser found).
There are a few ways that a policy gets to be called racist: it is intended to negatively affect one race over another, it results in a negative affect on one race over another regardless of intent, or it has historically been used to negatively affect one race over another regardless of present intent or eventual result.
The first two are justifiably used to disqualify certain policies; of course we shouldn’t enact things that are intended to or serve to foster racial discrimination. But the latter is used as a fallacious smear tactic almost exclusively against conservative and libertarian policies. If that’s how we’re going to debate, it’s long past time the historically racist origins of certain liberal policies got considered too.
Federalism gets a bad rap obviously because of slavery and Jim Crow laws. The mantle of states’ rights was used for a long time as a means to get away with any number of heinous injustices and atrocities. That is almost never the case today, yet one risks being labeled racist for suggesting it, whether the issue to which federalism is to be applied has anything to do with race or not.
Well, if the putative federalist in question is a Republican, that is. Democrats are free to cling to states’ rights when it is convenient without having to worry about similar ad hominem attacks. Even after President Obama’s hailed conversion on the issue of gay marriage, he maintains that states should be free to decide the issue themselves.
This is effectively the same position as most elected Republicans, yet he doesn’t get called names because of it. Even the President’s signature health insurance reform grants states tremendous discretion in how much of the law’s new bureaucracy to implement themselves. Has anyone called Obamacare racist?
Louisiana voters have made themselves pretty clear on Obamacare. According to a recent poll, 59% of voters in the state oppose the law and 54% of them said that they’re less likely to vote for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) because of her support for Obamacare.
But Landrieu, who is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats, isn’t listening to her constituents. She insists that she would support Obamacare again if it came up for a vote in the Senate:
“The Affordable Care Act, as I said, the bill itself has got very good concepts and yes, I would support it again,” Landrieu said. “But, that doesn’t excuse the poor roll out of what should have happened. There should have not been a glitch in the software.”
Landrieu has sponsored a bill to allow Americans to keep their old policies. Insurance companies said they couldn’t offer policies at the same prices, though.
This isn’t the first time Landrieu has said that she still supports Obamacare. At an event sponsored by the Southwest Louisiana Chamber of Commerce in August, she declared, “If I had to vote for the bill again, I would vote for it tomorrow.”
But since that event, the Obama Administration poorly executed the rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and millions of Americans have seen their health plans canceled because of the law’s regulations.
A poll released this week by Harvard University found that Millennials, particularly those who are college-aged, are disenfranchised by President Barack Obama. This crucial voting bloc disapproves of his job performance and 52% of 18- to 24-year-olds would vote to recall him, if they could. What’s more, 57% of young people disapprove of Obamacare.
Republicans immediately seized on the numbers. “Young Americans put President Obama in office, but don’t think that means they agree with how he is handling his job as President,” said Raffi Williams, Deputy Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee, in an emailed statement. “Obama has increased Millennials insurance premiums and lied to them about keeping their coverage.”
“Young Americans aren’t daft, they know a bad deal when they see one and that is why they are abandoning the President and no amount of spin can change the facts that just like MySpace, Millenials are over Obama,” he added.
Williams is absolutely right.
President Obama’s economic policies, including Obamacare, have really hit young people hard. They are having a difficult time finding jobs or are underemployed, and those who graduate from college are leaving school with an average of $29,400 in student loan debt.
After The Guardian reported that only 1 percent of the files leaked by Edward Snowden have been published, the Washington Post reported that the NSA also tracks location data from mobile phone users around the world, allowing the agency to gather “nearly 5 billion records a day.”
The NSA is able to do that because it manages to tap into the mobile networks’ cables that happen to serve worldwide cellphones as well as U.S. phones. The NSA does that to collect information regarding its targets.
With this data in its power, the NSA locates and analyzes data from cellphones anywhere in the world. This represents an effort that might have no matching historical precedent since analysts can use this data to retrace cellphones’ movements and uncover potential relationships among users anywhere.
Elements of the intelligence community are not collecting the bulk cellphone location data intentionally, according to Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA. But the NSA collects this information anyway, mainly because one of the agency’s most powerful analytic tools, the CO-TRAVELER, can search unknown associates of intelligence targets by tracing intersecting cellphones.
Because ObamaCare is such a complete failure, the president is at least slightly welcoming the latest distraction to keep the masses from noticing that problem. Protestors took to the streets demanding that the government not only increase the minimum wage, but essentially double it. Of course, while that might seem like a nice idea for people that are barely making it by with low wage jobs, it would not work out very well for them in the end.
Forbes explored this issue at length a while ago, but their findings remain just as true today. Slight increases in the minimum wage have been shown to cause job losses, as companies downsize to absorb the increased costs of their labor force. One thing that has changed is the effect of ObamaCare on the situation. Many employers are already looking at cutting hours of low wage workers to avoid the increased costs of benefits for employees.
Liberals are demonizing this action, and are still demanding higher wages, while ignoring what should be obvious. Increased costs must be paid one way or another, whether by cutting labor costs, increasing prices for consumers, or a combination of the two. Since the latter is a likely solution for many companies that employ low wage workers, that would mean the continuation of a vicious cycle for the very people that liberals would hope to help by increasing the minimum wage in the first place.
Low wage workers tend to use the goods and services of companies like fast food restaurants and WalMart, so even if their wages are increased, it probably will not help them very much in the end. A pay raise doesn’t do much good if the price of goods and services goes up, too.