Barack Obama announced Saturday morning in his weekly address that he is urging Congress to pass a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage for all workers.
Noting that he used an executive action in the past week to require federal contractors to pay their employees at least $10.10 an hour, Obama pontificated that this action would be good “for contractors, for taxpayers, and for America’s bottom line.”
Ignoring the burden this action will place on businesses, Obama intoned, “That’s why we’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just a fortunate few. We’ve got to restore opportunity for all – the notion that no matter who you are or how you started out, with hard work and responsibility, you can get ahead in America.”
He then segued into his attempt to bully Congress into accepting his plan, saying, “But to finish the job, Congress needs to act… An overwhelming majority of Americans support raising a minimum wage that’s worth about 20% less than when Ronald Reagan took office.”
He did not mention exactly whose shenanigans helped bleed the economy so the minimum wage plummeted in value.
Turning to his most patronizing tone, Obama lectured, “Right now, there’s a bill in Congress that would boost America’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. That’s easy to remember: ten-ten.” Then, playing to working women he added, “Most lower-wage jobs are held by women. And raising the minimum wage wouldn’t just raise their wages – its effect would lift wages for about 28 million Americans. It would lift millions of Americans out of poverty, and help millions more work their way out of poverty – without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending.”
Obama continued, “It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend – and that means growing the economy for everyone.” Sure, if there are any businesses left.
Obama concluded with a mix of bullying and setting up a straw-man argument, saying:
You deserve to know where the people who represent you stand on this. If they don’t support raising the federal minimum wage to ten-ten an hour, ask them “why not?” The opponents of raising folks’ wages have deployed the same old arguments for years, and time and again, they’ve been proven wrong.
Which arguments is he talking about? As Forbes wrote at the beginning of 2013:
As a jobs program, raising the minimum wage is a real loser. Congress raised the minimum wage 10.6% in July, 2009 (know of anyone else getting a raise then?). In the ensuring [sic] 6 months, nearly 600,000 teen jobs disappeared; even with nearly 4% growth in the economy, this compared to a loss of 250,000 jobs in the first half of the year as GDP growth declined by 4%. Why? When you raise the price of anything, people take less of it, including labor. The unemployment rate for teens remains unacceptably high. Workers of all ages that are relatively unskilled are adversely impacted by this policy.