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Obama Retrades Broken First Term Campaign Minimum Wage Promise in State of the Union Address

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It takes a lot of chutzpah for Obama to recycle a watered-down version of a 2008 campaign commitment and present it as his brightest, shiniest promise in the State of the Union address laying out his second term priorities. The Vichy Left was predictably over the moon at Obama’s pledge to raise the Federal minimum wage in increments to $9.00 by 2015.

When Obama ran for president in 2008, the minimum wage was $6.55 and set to rise to $7.25 in 2009 as a result of Bush Administration increases approved in 2007. Obama had vowed to increase it to $9.50 by 2011:

A minimum wage of $9.50 by 2011 would have represented a 14.5% compound annual increase over the 2009 level. By contrast, $9.00 by 2015 is a 3.7% compound annual rise.

And who was the “person who hasn’t realized he is being used and about to be thrown under the bus,” symbolized by having a special project highlighted in the SOTU and being rewarded by being seated in Michelle Obama’s box? Last year, it was Eric Schneiderman, who sabotaged the efforts of a growing number of state attorneys general to come up with meaningful mortgage settlement to become one of a clutch of co-chairman on a Federal mortgage task force (the now-infamous Lanny Breuer was a Department of Justice co-chairman). The Administration proceeded to humiliate Schneiderman by undercutting him, misleading him on the amount of resources he’s get and then correcting what he’d said about staffing in public, and dragging their feet even about getting phones. Ryan Grim and Sam Stein described in the Huffington Post how the mortgage fraud task force is such an obvious failure that rather than trying to tout thin accomplishments or promise that something big is coming soon, the Administration is trying now to claim that the media got its messaging wrong, that this was never supposed to a “prosecutorial” effort, just another part of a bigger task force…which as we pointed out earlier, had done all of nothing.

So who is the likely poster victim of 2013? Mary Duenwald of Bloomberg ferreted it out:

In the briefest of terms, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama promised to save as much money on Medicare in the next decade as was proposed by the Bowles-Simpson commission. That would include, he said, lowering tax subsidies for drug companies and asking more affluent beneficiaries to pay more.

And he said it would also include making a fundamental change in the way the government pays for care — by basing bills not on fee-for-service but on “the quality of care our seniors receive.” This explains why John Kitzhaber, the governor of Oregon, was watching the State of the Union address from first lady Michelle Obama’s box. Kitzhaber has made his state’s Medicaid program a laboratory that will test a promising model for making that change…

Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, has promised/gambled that the Oregon Health Plan will reduce the growth of Medicaid costs in his state by 2 percent within two years. To pay for this effort, the federal government is to kick in about $1.9 billion over five years, but only if the state can keep its 2 percent promise.

The governor’s strategy is a variation on the “accountable care organizations” that the 2010 Affordable Care Act is promoting nationally. These are collaborations among doctors and hospitals to take responsibility for the quality and cost of care of a defined population of patients….

If Oregon is successful, it will share in the savings it creates. If not, the state will lose its extra funding, and the medical world in general will worry in earnest about whether the ACA can succeed at its most important job — to improve the quality and slow the growing cost of care.

So Kitzhaber has, like Schneiderman, has taken on what may be a policy Mission Impossible, although Kitzhaber is at least (presumably) not saddled with having to work with and through Obama Administration officials who are dedicated to preserving rather than changing the status quo. Stay tuned.

Environmentalists were correctly cautious about climate change hand-waving. The Associated Press fact-checker injects some badly needed reality:

OBAMA: “I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

THE FACTS: Obama failed to get a global warming bill through Congress when both Houses were controlled by Democrats in 2010. With Republicans in control of the House, the chances of a bill to limit the gases blamed for global warming and to create a market for businesses to trade pollution credits are close to zero. The Obama administration has already acted to control greenhouse gases through existing law. It has boosted fuel-efficiency standards and proposed rules to control heat-trapping emissions from new power plants. And while there are still other ways to address climate change without Congress, it’s questionable regulation alone can achieve the reductions needed to start curbing global warming.

We’ll continue with some other notable snippets from the speech. The New York Times has chosen to hoist this statement above its large picture of Obama speaking:

The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next.

The “greatest nation” sounds an awful lot like “empire running on brand fumes” to me. America is not longer the wealthiest country per capita and is way down in the rankings among industrialized nations on pretty much every social wellbeing measure. And the US is turning back the calendar at an astonishingly fast pace as far as civil liberties and the rule of law is concerned. Oh, and our infrastructure sucks too. Yes, we are the pre-eminent military power. But we are increasingly heavy-handed and visibly aggressive about it.

But the creepy part is the juxtaposition of jingoism with bad MBA-speak. “Conducting its business” suggests that the aspirations of the US should be strictly commercial. It’s not clear how you “drift” into a crisis. And if the crisis is manufactured (an amazing bit of truth popping out, that the deficit scaremongering is a big fat hype), the plight isn’t the supposed lack of national direction but the fake crises. So why aren’t you addressing the real problem, Mr. President?

A Lambert pick:

They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share.

Millions ALREADY gave their fair share: Their jobs, their houses, and their health.

Yves again. More on the “business of America is business” subtext:

Tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let’s start right away.

So Obama wants private capital to fund infrastructure. Let me tell you how well that work. The investment bank that built that model, Australia’s Macquarie Bank, has made an art form out of “sweating the asset” which is code for jacking up fees anywhere and everywhere. The airports with the highest landing fees in the world, Syndey and Budapest, are both Macquarie deals. And contrary to the PR, don’t expect them to do more than what is minimally necessary. I’ve been in the Budapest airport, and it’s one of the least modernized ones in Europe. “Public-private partnership” means “pork for private equity, pennies for the public.” And you noticed “modern pipelines”? Despite the climate change talk, Obama remains fully committed to Keystone XL.

And what about this:

And this year, my Administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet.

20?!?!? This is a Clinton school uniform level of triviality…

Another standout:

That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.

What, killing Aaron Swartz wasn’t enough of a deterrent?

Frankly, the only reason to pay attention to an Obama State of the Union address is to see how much it misrepresents what he does later. As frequent NC commentor Hugh said at Corrente:

The easiest way to analyze a speech of Obama is to assume that everything he says is a lie. Comparing the lie to the known policy helps suss out what propaganda lines he will be using in the coming months and where the shiv is likely to go in.

So watch your back.

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72 comments

  1. jake chase

    Well done, but what a difference sixteen years makes! Clinton said pretty much the same loopy stuff and the country went wild with cheering. Meanwhile, his administration was busy hollowing out financial regulation, setting the stage for the big usury grab.

    There isn’t any point in listening to these speeches. They make as much sense as advertising. It’s all about crowd control, sending images to the unconscious, pacifying the multitudes while the stealing and looting continue apace.

    Our Presidential politics is best described as Bunkmanship.

    1. profoundlogic

      “The fraud and looting will continue until confidence is restored.”

      The Banana Republic is getting ripe.

    2. Middle Seaman

      One wonders how long will the blame Clinton with everything game will continue. So far it brought us W and Obama. Way to go guys.

      1. diptherio

        Blaming Clinton for all the f-ed up stuff he did is not what got us W and Obama. What the what, man? We got W via two stolen elections. We got Obama because certain people are genetically incapable of voting for anyone without a D behind their name.

        There’s plenty of blame to go around, and Clinton deserves his fair share (NAFTA, DOMA, Rawanda, Welfare “Reform”, need I go on?).

      2. Iago Yugo

        Clinton repealed Glass-Steagal in 1999. Sanford Weill, Citi Grp CEO (att) who along with Treasury Secretary Rubin S-C-R-E-A-M-E-D at Clinton to repeal GS, (or perhaps they g-o-a-d-e-d him, wink*wink*), only they know for sure. But since the “New-Age Depression” occurred, Sanford has publicly called for re-enactmant of Glass-Steagall, calling it’s repeal a ‘Mistake.’ You can chew on a stained dress all you want Middle Seaman, it has got NOTHING over Clinton’s biggest loser, because by Clinton repealing Glass-Steagall, Clinton triggered lenders greed button causing lenders to combine bad loans with good LEGALLY, and since lenders receive all of their money up-front now, lenders paid property appraisers to justify overpricing on homes (lenders are receiving money upfront, REMEMBER?) Chew on that, dummy.

      3. different clue

        NAFTA, WTO, and MFN for China are the gifts that keep on giving . . . like syphillis and gonorrhea.

    3. mac

      The people Obama was directing his “stuff” to will never know if it comes true, he said it they believe it now it is true.

  2. LucyLulu

    Obama has been told by the Fix the Debt Commission that they will bring more business back onshore if infrastructure is updated. Also, there was the study by the ASCE that we needed to spend over $1 trillion on infrastructure by 2020 just not to lose more ground, and to avoid economic losses in the multiple of trillions. So Obama knows that infrastructure is a priority. But he also knows that $50 billion or so won’t be more than a drop in the bucket, and the current Congress will never give him more than that. That leaves him with only two options. Let infrastructure deteriorate further or solicit private investment. There are no good choices, whether he would be willing to exercise them or not.

    My main takeaway from the speech was that he was asking for a lot of things that he can’t promise and he will never get. The raise in minimum wage would require Congress to pass legislation, ain’t gonna happen. John McCain’s energy legislation was a cap and trade bill, McCain dropped the bill when he couldn’t get any other Republicans behind it. It still won’t get any GOP support, nor will any clean energy legislation. Rubio, in his address advocated the gung ho pursuit of fossil fuels and cutting regulations (which btw, Rubio attributed the cause of the financial crisis to government intervention).

    We do need to move away from ‘fee for service’ healthcare. The British have used an outcome based system for providing bonuses to their salaried physicians. The threat here is that it will be used to reduce services in order to retain profits (or docs will selectively choose to treat those who are less sick). Physicians would need to have base salaries and all compensation independent of providers of other services, and would have to treat the whole spectrum of severities. The Cleveland Clinic has instituted a system like this and its working well. I don’t know what Oregon is doing, but the AMA is sure to fight such a proposal tooth and nail.

    He talked about a jobs program, new worker training programs, the 20(? or 15?) model cities, revamping the educational system, having universal preschool, maintaining our first-rate defense (which will get funded, as will cyber-security). Where will he get the money for all this? Surely not from this Congress? Nor will he be minting any platinum coins. He had big ideas but they all need money, and with revenues at 15% GDP and spending at 25% GDP, and Congress intent on reducing deficits, money is something he won’t be getting.

    I don’t worry too much about entitlement cuts that won’t take effect until future administrations. Legislation passed in one administration is always subject to change in the next. For thirty years, us babyboomers paid our FICA taxes having been told Reagan’s hike in rates would guarantee our benefits. Now that its time to collect, there is talk of reneging. In ten years when the cuts are being suggested to take effect, that could change again…….. either for the worse or the better.

    1. different clue

      No. Once the ripoff cuts to our PREpayed for benefits are legislated, they will never be de-legislated ever again.
      If they are ever permitted, they become permanent. So we have to prevent them, if we can.

      1. hunkerdown

        In politics, one never gets what one asks for, so asking for the status quo is doomed to failure. Unless one’s goal is to be seen losing “the good fight”, there are better places to spend all that energy.

        1. hunkerdown

          If nothing else, a broad campaign to ask for the moon ought to stimulate the public imagination and provide something worth getting riled up over, and more importantly more riled up over losing. For want of a truly audacious Oliver Twist, we’re all Dickens characters now.

    2. anyone

      On the plus side, the entitlement cuts enjoy the same “free pass” as military budgets. For all the tough talk, the pols can’t go after them wholesale for fear of their constituents, no matter how much corporate money they attract. Granted, they’ll chip away at them from here to eternity, and eventually they’ll have their way. In the mean time however, much bigger problems will assert themselves, and a lot of entitlement holders will simply die (or vote with their feet and emigrate) anyway. And in the end, isn’t that what most of us of modest means are worried the most about anyway? Making it to our final breath in some reasonable semblance of “normalcy?”

      To the young, what can we say? Believe it or not, not ALL of us baby boomers were selfish prick multi-millionaires. Small comfort that, I know. But sorry to say, many of the young have adopted the same ethos all too willingly, so to those I say: you’ve chose your slave master just as we did. Good luck with that in all your future endeavors.

  3. Laughing_Fascist

    Obama makes the promise to raise minimum wage ’cause it feels good to say it man. Meanwhile, and consistent with the last 4 years, his admin will actively stifle any true believer in the WH (maybe some intern?) who tries to follow up.

    Is Obama advocating cap and trade? Are there constituencies (other than WS) that actually still think this is a good idea? People never stop being fooled.

  4. Yata

    It’s disgusting. How is it you can graduate from an ivy league college and continue to regurgitate this spiel without some moment of reflection after these many years.

    There is no conscience involved, contrary to the perception being sold. This is a dollar-menu administration.

    1. tom allen

      I thought the reason one went to Ivy League colleges was precisely to learn how to regurgitate spiels like this without a moment of reflection.

      1. Thorstein

        Some go for other reasons, but for most the object is to get that big graduation gown, big enough to hide a multitude of sins.

  5. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for a concise summary that recapitulated the many long standing campaign themes that get a person elected president in this country. It was remarkable in the implicit level of cynicism displayed by another “Hope & Change” speech. Both legacy political parties know what the People of this nation need and want. Both are unwilling to deliver it.

    To me, the speech was also noteworthy for wasn’t said: Nothing about overturning Citizens United, nothing about reforming the monetary and financial system, civil liberties, … Keystone?… what Keystone?… etc.

    I will say that the president’s elocution, physical appearance, and body language are remarkable. He looks and acts like a “transformational president”. So, as Bill Murray said in the great film Caddyshack, “at least we’ve got that going for us.”

  6. Paul W

    it took over 70 years but Chicago’s gift to America: Al Capone in the White House. Bush with a Smiley Face for the suckers in the international community.

  7. Sam Adams

    Why are you worried? The last chapter was written by the second term of Bush2: barricades, guillotines and heads rolling. Its only issue is whose heads: the power elite or the revolutionaries.

  8. off_leash

    Want to get the infrastructure fixed? How about scrapping Davis-Bacon, so that the work can be done at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.

  9. Klassy!

    Number of times business mentioned: 14 times (+2 for entrepreneurs)
    Number of times government mentioned: 11 times
    Number of times labor mentioned: 1

    Of course it is worse than that because if he was mentioning government (except in the context of the military) it was about its limits and our need to do “more with less” (smarter, not bigger!).
    Business gets a free pass. It is the engine of all progress and the role of government is to serve as a conduit to funnel public money to private hands. This is just the way it must be.

    1. Susan the other

      I think he has big plans for “labor.” Every person will be an independent contractor. I nearly fell off the couch when he started talking about reviving 20 destitute towns with a bunch of private investors cooperating with the government to create islands of new high tech manufacturing. By using 3-D printing technology! Did I dream that? I could almost see Mao announcing his great leap forward and telling all the Chinese to go set up little kiln-like smelters in their back yard so they could become exporters of the metals the West coveted. We all know how that turned out. It disintegrated rapidly into Chinese on Chinese violence.

        1. Massinissa

          I think “Great Leap Backward” Is more apt for the entire half a century rather than just the Obama presidency. We have not had a good president or congress since at least the 60s, and this social and economic decay has only exacerbated since then. Everything has shifted to the right: Obama and Clinton are to the right of Nixon, and the right wingers of today are far more batshit crazy than Barry Goldwater ever was.

      1. anyone

        Independent contractors with a mandate to buy healthcare from the government sponsored cartel no less. I wonder if the Government can prosecute itself under the RICO statutes?

      2. hunkerdown

        Ah, the “dependent contractor” scam. Where the employer/”client” decides how much, when and even if to pay their workers. Say what you will about the black market; at least it’s somewhat honest.

  10. John F. Opie

    I think the Bard said it best:

    It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    signifying nothing. — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

    More of the same that got us where we are today. Anyone surprised?

  11. cripes

    The odious librul cheerleadering for the miserable little rhetorical scraps Obama spat in their faces really has set a low bar lower. What a bunch of sniveling cowards.

    The poisonous diversity posturing of demoRat libruls for the past genration had brought us to the place where they are clamoring for the rights of gay people to kill brown people.

    Obama’s legacy: leading billionaires of every color onward to fleece the nation of every last dime.

  12. Brooklin Bridge

    1) Cuts to Medicare for sure
    2) Cuts to SS coming soon
    3) XL Pipleline with real pipes
    4) More government control over the internet
    5) Avoid cuts to the military budget
    6) Infrastructure; let’s sell it
    7) Wages; the check is in the mail
    8) Climate Change; Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,…

    1. anyone

      Never thought I’d find myself actually rooting for catastrophic climate change. But if it’s inevitable anyway…

  13. BobS

    I think we can count on Obama to follow through on his promise for a TransAtlanticPartnership. The other stuff was, like someone upthread mentioned, a bunch of feel-good promises he knows he can’t keep.
    I was listening to a (usually) sports call-in show on the radio this morning where the topic was a minimum wage increase, when living wage is what we should be discussing. Several very small business owners called in and their concerns seemed legitimate, forcing me to think of possible (partial) solutions. Like a marginal rate for Social Security taxes, say half the rate for income below the median annual income (with employers still contributing the full share) and removing the cap at the upper end of income while capping only the employers contribution.

  14. ks

    A Bold Progressive Agenda (Jamelle Bouie). A Powerful Progressive Agenda (David Corn). A Largely Progressive Agenda (Adele Stan). I have a sinking feeling Matt Stoller’s going to be proved right about a lot of the people who call themselves progressives. (Love the term Vichy Left.)

    What I took from the SOTU is that we will continue to undermine and privatize public services and monetize every aspect of public life. Out with high school Liberal Arts, in with technical skills and “partnering” with employers.

    1. jrs

      They want you to pay attention to what he says not what he has done for the last 4 years and has continued to do after he got reelected (the chained CPI proposal was Obama’s idea). It’s beyond stupid, but I guess they do get paid for stupid. Hey in this economy plenty of people willing to self-lobotomize for a paycheck.

    2. different clue

      DURing the Obama vs. Clinton primary season, Stoller himself was a Vichy Obamacrat when his support made a real difference. He has never admitted to it even though the incriminating quotes from his own writing have been posted in comments in these threads. He has never been asked to show any shame or contrition for his PRO Obama support at that key early stage. It has never even been brought up or mentioned by any of the Headliner Commenters on this blog.
      It is left to lonely other bloggers like Riverdaughter or miq2xu to bring it up in the face of a howling gale of indifferent silence.

      1. LucyLulu

        How awful that Stoller made an error in judgment and fell for Obama’s ‘hope and change’ promises and isn’t appropriately and publicly contrite. Let’s flog Stoller down in the town square until he begs forgiveness for his egregious sins of 2008.

        Would that work for you? /snark

        If you enjoy reading what he writes now like I do, give him a break. It’s not a big deal. We all have our flaws, and our opinions have all evolved over time, at different rates. IME, more people than not will avoid admitting they were wrong and will go to all kinds of lengths to avoid it. In fact, I find it rather refreshing when I run across somebody who CAN say “You were right. I was wrong.”

        Having the humility to admit one made a mistake, as well as the ability to apologize, both seem to be incomprehensibly difficult for most people, IMHO. All it means is one is human. What a relief to not have to be perfect. :)

      2. hunkerdown

        He worked as Alan Grayson’s staffer for financial services in 2009, and since then he’s consistently critiqued the Democratic Party from its left.

        Why do partisans so consistently project their authoritarian personality-worship onto basically everyone else?

  15. Susan the other

    Did anybody else notice how choreographed Obama was? He does a good job of pretending to be casual, off-the-cuff and humanitarian. But when he took a little junket off-speech to mention that some people had accused him of acting outside the law and damaging our system of justice I took a close look at his face. He was not happy; he was also acting. He said the truth about his integrity was forthcoming because his DoJ, under Eric Holder is going to make public all the details. But he didn’t refer to the specific issues at hand (of course). Then he went back to being everybody’s best friend. After the speech, doing his handshaking and back patting, he and Holder had a confusing confrontation. Holder didn’t know what he was supposed to do so he just stood there stiffly and Obama gave him a very awkward hug. The hug was also cold and stiff. And I couldn’t help thinking that Obama pulled it off expertly. Because 2 seconds later the camera panned in on Holder from the side and he was all smiles, saying something to Obama as he moved on down the line. I think the takeaway here can be explained by one of Obama’s own quotes (paraphrased) “I may have been immoral, but I did nothing illegal.”

    1. anyone

      In all honesty, his REAL talent is and always has been acting. Not unusual either. In my experience that’s a PRIMARY talent for advancement in the business world, and I suspect it carries you a damn long way in law as well. And politics? Asked and answered.

      More power to the low-life scoundrel though. That’s simply the way the world works, high and low. No one held a gun to our heads to vote for him. Not yet anyway…

  16. JWJ

    Specifically on the federal minimum wage. What do you all think it should be? $15/hr, $22/hr

    Why shouldn’t this be a State issue and not a Federal issue?

    Do you think there is minimum wage level where low-skill jobs are destroyed?

    1. diptherio

      States can already set their own minimum wage, so long as it is not lower than the Federal one.

      Empirical research shows that raising the minimum wage usually leads to less unemployment, not more. There probably is some level at which raising the minimum would be detrimental, but we’ve never been anywhere near that point, so far as I can tell.

      1. JWJ

        “Empirical research shows that raising the minimum wage usually leads to less unemployment, not more.”

        So if the federal minimum wage was increased to $12/hr or $15/hr, employers would hire more higher priced workers than they have hired now?
        Given that, why doesn’t California help solve its unemployment issue by raising the state minimum wage even more? The minimum wage in Calif is only $8/hr.

          1. JWJ

            Thanks for the links. If I am understanding a few of the summaries correctly, the gist of the research you link to states that the minimum wage can be increased with no net adverse impact on unemployment rates.

            If there is no downside impact on unemployment, and those who are employed earn more money, why doesn’t California raise its minimum wage to $15/hr or $20/hr? or Maryland, or Detroit (can it be raised at a City level or just a State level?)

          2. Yalt

            “If there is no downside impact on unemployment, and those who are employed earn more money, why doesn’t California raise its minimum wage to $15/hr or $20/hr?”

            Because there would be no downside impact on unemployment and working people would receive more money?

    2. Jeff W

      Dean Baker says that, if the United States federal minimum wage had kept pace with productivity (as it had from the 1940s through the 1970s), it would be $16.54 in 2012 dollars.

      On October 26, 1949, President Truman signed the Fair Labor Standards Amendments which, among other things, raised the minimum wage 87.5%, from 40 cents to 75 cents (which took effect in January, 1950). According to this Hill piece, “No one found significant employment losses when President Truman raised the minimum wage by 87% in 1950.” (The same percentage increase in today’s US federal minimum wage would result in a minimum wage of $13.59.)

    3. William Neil

      Lost in this shuffle surrounding the centrist proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour by…2015 is Dean Baker’s and Will Kimball’s take on what it should be if it included the missing productivity gains, which he measures in two ways. One leads to a $16 dollar minimum wage, the other, to $21 dollars. Why should it be left at only an inflation peg to the late 1960′s…? Baker says the link to labor getting productivity gains in its hourly wages was broken in the 1970′s…say, isn’t that the beginning of the rise of the Right?

      Here’s the link at http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/the-minimum-wage-and-economic-growth

      1. Thisson

        Why not just raise the minimum wage to $100 an hour then? Because this shows how absurd the concept of a minimum wage is.

        Raising the minimum wage destroys legal jobs, driving them underground, despite what the flawed, so-called “empirical research” shows. No correlation between rising minimum wages and unemployment? Perhaps because raises in minimum wage tend to occur during periods of economic expansion? Correlation is not causation.

    1. Klassy!

      Ha!
      Well, what do you expect– multimillionaire addresses room full of multimillionaires. (Some more multi than others.)
      Yesterday I was at the grocery store. I hit the produce department first picking up staples– onions (3 pound bag 2 dollars), celery (2.40), a red pepper (1.50) . Hold it right there! If you’re making minimum wage in my state you’ve just worked an hour for this bounty of luxury items.
      And those folks will never get it and it never even crosses their vapid little heads to put themselves in someone else’s place.

  17. Casteelk

    raising the minimum wage is just distraction news propaganda from the White House. Nobody cares if its raised. It will be debated and heated arguments on video and whatnot. Just like the gun laws, just like abortion. These are distractions to keep the real issues off the table. Keep the gangs killing each other, then they stay out off my lawn.

    1. diptherio

      No one cares about the minimum wage? Really? I assume you don’t know anyone for whom the minimum wage is a real issue, but there are MILLIONS who care a whole lot because that is what they get paid.

      Ever been to a restaurant? Know what the standard base pay for a server is? Do ya? Minimum wage. Oh, but nobody cares, right? Right?

      You don’t care, that much is clear.

      1. jrs

        Yes but they don’t vote. Most of those who vote don’t really care (much less those buying up[ the politicians), it’s red tofu as mentioned yesterday.

        1. William Neil

          That’s right; a common wage in retail hovers around $8.50 an hour, and the work week is lucky to be 25 hours, not 35-40, as we know from the Wal-Mart struggles – and a recent study of retail by Demos…so that grand $9.00 raise – by 2015…translates into a $12.50 increase per weekly gross paycheck, $50 per month if you’re making 8.50 an hour.

          And that’s going to push someone into the middle class? That’s a cruel exaggeration.

          1. Thisson

            Worse still, raising the minimum wage to $9.00 eliminates any job that is uneconomical at that wage, making it more likely for workers to be let go or replaced with technology (especially when interest rates are so low, which makes it “cheaper” to finance the tech compared to employing labor)

      2. LucyLulu

        I agree. Saying he would raise the minimum wage was an attempt to capture a rather large targeted audience, who would very much like to see it raised. While $50/month may not seem like much, for those at that income level, it’s a meaningful amount

        But Obama has no authority to raise minimum wage. Congress would have to pass legislation. He can’t make Congress do that. He can’t get Congress to do anything. In fact, they won’t do it solely because he wants them to. (Even when he has had good policies he wanted to implement, I do think that Obama has faced unprecedented obstructionism.) So, it’s only an empty promise.

        1. Thisson

          Sure, some will gain $50/month. Others will lose their income completely when their job is eliminated.

          I can assure you that if you own a small retail store, for example, there is a point at which an elevated minimum wage will lead you to simply lay off your employees rather than comply with the wage requirements. That point typically depends on the value the owner ascribes to their own time, because it means they will have to mind the store themselves in addition to their other duties.

  18. Paul Tioxon

    Here is an even more egregious case of selective amnesia on the part of the president. Here, he clearly stakes out a left of center anti-Clinton Democratic Leadership Council’s thinly veiled brand of neo-liberalism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijxf3NN1B_s

    The gigantic loophole in the capping the collection of FICA at the first, then $97k and now $113k of EARNED INCOME, shows, that 94% of Americans pay the tax on 100% of their income. The wealthiest pay less than a miniscule fraction of LESS THAN 1%. And no capital gains, rents etc are taxed at all. He clearly stakes out a more LIBERAL position, left of center of the rightward drift first charted by Bill, and then inherited by Hillary. Including all income, earned and unearned with no income cap will eliminate any problematic needs to do any wonkish tweaking, even of cost of living adjustments for increases.

    Today, like the proposed increase in the minimum wage, which will not increase government spending or increase taxes, closing the Social Security income loophole seems to have been forgotten. Not only that, but the minimum wage is not even a universal law, with exceptions carved out since the New Deal have, leaving out farm labor and domestic help and restaurant workers. The exemptions are a long list of special business industries in lumber, sugar, hotels and motels for seasonal tourism and too many more to mention. The Term: UNIVERSAL MINIMUM WAGE should be used from now on by anyone who wants to see people who work for a living actually get paid more than a couple bucks with no over time pay set at more than the hourly rate.

    http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/screen75.asp

  19. Ep3

    Two things yves. In regards to the 20 worst cities, Michigan has flint and Detroit. You could fix the whole American economy by dumping money into those two towns because they needs so much fixed.
    Second, corrente’s quote. That’s exactly what we were saying during ‘W’. just take anything he says and figure he will do the opposite.

  20. Fran Lovin

    This may not be the best place to ask this, but, I want spanish classes and I can’t figure out how to find them… do you know anything about this event staffing company? Its located in Delhi, close to my house I can’t find reviews on them — LAVO Event Staffing & Promotional Agency, C-217, Hari Nagar Road New Delhi, Delhi 110064 – 099 99 299799

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