Obama, Dems hope minimum wage distraction will take Obamacare heat off
posted at 5:51 pm on December 4, 2013 by Kevin Glass
With Obamacare still buggier than a summer day in the Amazon, Democrats are trying their best to divert the media narrative. Today, President Obama addressed income inequality and the economy as a way to encourage the media and his fellow Democrats to divert their attention from his signature law’s train wreck.
“It’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that, in real terms, right now, is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office. This shouldn’t be an ideological question.
It was Adam Smith, the father of free-market economics, who once said, “that they who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged.” For those of you who don’t speak Old English, let me translate. It means if you work hard you should make a decent living.
…We all know the arguments used to oppose a minimum wage. Some say it will hurt low-wage workers. There’s no solid evidence that the minimum wage costs low-wage jobs.”
This is a smart move. We’ll see if the media – who have been falling all over themselves to fess up that they didn’t do their due diligence reporting on Obamacare the first time around – takes the bait. They’ve been following the White House’s talking points about the Obamacare “fixes” recently, so the time might be ripe to give the media a few more.
It’s a smart move by a White House that’s obsessed with public relations. Minimum wage hikes poll exceptionally well, garnering over 76% support in Gallup’s November poll. Even self-identified Republicans have shown majority support for a minimum wage hike.
Hopefully, much of the media won’t take the bait. This is the sixth time this year that President Obama has done a “pivot to the economy,” and it’s just a distraction from what the President’s real problems are. Luckily, maybe the media has wised up:
Update: Fox, CNN now not showing Obama’s CAP speech. MSNBC is.
— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcSan) December 4, 2013
That was 15 minutes into President Obama’s 50-minute speech.
A minimum wage hike is a good idea politically. It’s a terrible idea on the policy merits. In spite of recent progressive revisionism, and despite President Obama’s invocation of “evidence,” economists have generally agreed that a minimum wage causes higher unemployment than we’d have otherwise. David Neumark and William Wascher’s landmark 2007 study [pdf].
[I]n our view, the preponderance of the evidence points to disemployment effects… nearly two-thirds [of studies] give a relatively consistent (although by no means always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages, while only eight give a relatively consistent indication of positive employment effects. In addition, we have highlighted in the tables 33 studies (or entries) that we regard as providing the most credible evidence, and 28 (85 percent) of these point to negative employment effects. Moreover, when researchers focus on the least-skilled groups most likely to be adversely affected by minimum wages, the evidence for disemployment effects seems especially strong.
There was nothing new under the sun in President Obama’s “economy pivot” speech today. He pushed a minimum wage hike, the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, among other things that have long been progressive priorities.
Obamacare is what matters right now. It’s still not working. Hopefully no one outside of MSNBC will actually buy this new strategy.