Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Another short one.  This morning Jim Hightower did a commentary on President Obama's proposal to increase the minimum wage.
But then came the number: $9 an hour. Excuse me, Mr. President, but that means a person who "works full-time" would nonetheless "have to live in poverty." Yes, nine bucks is a buck-seventy-five better than the current pay, but it's still a poverty wage, and it doesn't even elevate the buying power of our wage floor back to where it was in 1968.
Of course I'd already heard this, and probably you have too.  What occurred to me was that Obama is up to his old tricks again.  You may remember that when he was putting together his first stimulus bill in 2009, he included substantial (and probably excessive) tax cuts, before the Republicans had even demanded any.  Later Obama conceded this wasn't the best idea:
Now in retrospect, I could have told Barack Obama in December of 2009 that if you already have a third of the package as tax cuts, then the Republicans, who traditionally are more comfortable with tax cuts, may just pocket that and attack the other components of the program. And it might have been better for us not to include tax cuts in the original package, let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts, and then say, O.K., you know, we’ll compromise and give you your tax cuts, even though we had already proposed them.
Has he learned anything since then?  Apparently not.  If you want to raise the minimum wage to an obviously inadequate, poverty-level $9 an hour, do you begin by declaring $9 as your goal, or do you start out higher?  Given the recent precedent of Obama's concessions on raising upper-crust tax rates, I think it's a good bet that he'll eke out some increase in the minimum wage -- maybe to $8.25 or even $8.50 -- blame the Republicans for their opposition, and then he and his devotees will tout whatever paltry increase is won as proof of Obama's great concern and care for the Middle Class.