Minimum Wage Increase Becoming A Political Minefield For Obama
The minimal pay rise is good news for Wal-Mart employees. The extra three dollars could mean another hot dog on the weekend. Bad news for the Republicans who are in uproar about this audacious move on Obama’s part.
Republicans may not be able to scupper Barack Obama’s minimum wage increase to $10.10 a hour, but they’re not happy about it.
House speaker John Boehner said he will take legal action if Obama cuts into their territory. (As Boehner sees it).
“House Republicans will keep on looking to see if the president is loyally executing the oaths he took a vow to do,” he told correspondents on Capitol Hill.
““I think [in the case of] the federal contracts and the minimum wage he probably has the authority to do that, but we are going to watch very closely because there is a constitution that we all take an oath to, including him, and following that constitution is the basis of our republic.”
Pushed on what steps he may take, Boehner simply said, “there are choices accessible to us.”
Obama started 2013 with promises on firearm control, migration and environmental change. These issues remain untouched, but then President Obama was hampered by events. Edward Snowden’s leaks created havoc, and added fuel to the flames created by the ongoing debate about ‘Obamacare’.
Nevertheless, this has been the worst year for Obama since coming to office.
Could this be the reason for the minimum wage increase?
Well, the president’s annus horribilis was due to public resistance to Obamacare, the highlighting of which Republicans have made their mission. Also, Democrats have more to lose throughout the midterms than Republicans, and could see share of the Senate drastically reduced.
Hence, Obama will use his powers to gain popularity.
Cynics might say, ‘two or three extra dollars is peanuts no matter which end you go; God bless you sir.’
But with this minimum wage increase, is Obama really trying to do something for the little guy?
Well, yes and no.
The wage increase will hurt small business people, and job layoffs are inevitable. This is balanced by the relief for hundreds of thousands of American families living on the breadline. The extra money may increase spending, (and lead to jobs) but eventually this will level out with the rise in inflation.
Nevertheless, the wage increase addresses financial pain in the lower strata of society. Therefore, the cloudy lens of US politics is now squarely focused on the uncomfortable issue of inequality in America.
Rosa DeLauro who gave a speech about inequality got the ball rolling with her urgent warnings about the “crisis of inequality”. She stood and spoke to the house about the “existential threat to our nation,” posed by the “crisis” of national inequality, (that’s the 1% versus 90% of haves and have-nots).
Perhaps what DeLauro means is “listen guys, hadn’t we better spread it around, a bit? Better have a minimum wage increase, keep ’em quiet or they’ll come for us and our money too.”
Ergo, a few extra peanuts to the workers.
God Bless America!