Though he may not consider himself an emperor (at least not yet), this last Tuesday, I came to the decisive conclusion that Barack Obama is King of the Lotus Eaters.
With his heavy reliance on his oratory skills, his Marxist allies on the Left, and a well-financed PR machine called Organizing for Action, Obama has a rather uncanny knack of lulling
some many people (aka Low Information Voters) into a narcotic-like stupor, throwing the economic consequences of his (and their) decisions to the wind.
Such is the case with Obama’s State of the Union call to raise the minimum wage 24%–from the current $7.25 to $9.00 per hour.
Republicans, as they often do, are going to oppose the minimum wage hike by attempting to rely on intellect and sound economic arguments. This is, of course, in stark contrast to the feel-good Lotus mush that Obama spewed Tuesday night–and that his lapdog allies are already starting to feast on.
While I may be writing this with tongue only partially planted in cheek, I do believe it would be political foolishness for the Republicans to oppose the call for a minimum wage increase based on economic realism. In fact, it would only make the Low Information Voters that Democrats have come to rely on dislike Republicans even more.
Rather, what Republicans should do is to counter Obama’s minimum wage increase demand with a counter proposal…one that could truly have some effects on those LIVs clamoring for an increase in the minimum wage.
Since Obama’s proposal is really nothing more than a campaign ploy, meant to appease his critics and to set the Republicans up to fail in 2014, the Republicans should provide a proposal that raises the minimum wages for certain segments of the economy where an increase will have a dramatic and immediate effect.
Selectively target LIVs…
For example, on the main street in a town nearby, there are no less than a dozen different nail salons, all within one mile. In fact, on one block, there are three nail salons–each competing with one another for the soccer moms and, very often, price gouging one another with “specials” on manicures and pedicures (or “mani-pedis”).
Judging from the low amount the suburban housewives pay to have their mani-pedis done at these low-cost paint booths, it is hard to believe the workers in these salons make much more than the current minimum wage–with or without tips. Indeed, it’s been even whispered that a few of the nail salons are owned by the same person. [Trust busters, are you reading this?]
Advocating for an increase in the minimum wage for nail salon workers–or hair braiders, for that matter–would help raise those workers out of poverty. Right?
But, hey! Why stop at a mere $9.00 an hour?
Why not raise the minimum wage for these workers fifty percent, or even one hundred percent–to $14.50 per hour? [Who, by the way, decided Obama’s arbitrary increase to $9.00 per hour was “fair” anyway?]
Why should we care if those greedy nail salon owners can’t rake in as much money? If they don’t like it, they can always raise their prices, right?
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the income boost could help some households, although it could, in turn, hurt businesses.
“The president is correct that it would raise the amount of income going to lower income households,” Zandi told The Hill.
“The wage increases to those earning the minimum wage would be greater than the lost income due to fewer jobs and hours worked,” he said.
“However, it would also likely mean lower profits for businesses employing minimum wage workers and higher prices as businesses try to pass through their higher labor costs.”
So, what if they can’t pass along the higher costs? They can always close up shop, right? After all, those business owners didn’t build those businesses on their own anyway.
Besides, there’s an added bonus to not having as many nail salons: Not snorting nail polish all day would be far safer for those nail polish workers. Just think of the olfactory senses saved–not to mention the air quality around town.
Moving on to fast food…
Fast-food workers should have their wages at least doubled, according to the SEIU and other unions. According to fast food workers looking to unionize, they should be making $15 an hour–more than double the current minimum wage.
After all, why should a burger flipper make the minimum wage? I mean, if you think about it, flipping burgers is really a high-skilled job that deserves more than just $7.25 (or even $9.00) an hour, right?
Consider this: If a burger isn’t flipped 180 degrees and the flipper makes a mistake by flipping the burger 360 degrees, that could result in a burger having one side uncooked and we all know what that means…a danger to the public! I repeat…flipping burgers is a high-skilled job. [Repeat that three times and you too might believe it.]
So what if you pay twice what you’re paying now for that Big Mac or Burrito Supreme? If you can’t afford it, your waistline will probably thank you.
In fact, instead of eating fast food, maybe you’ll stop going to those fast food joints and switch to something more healthy–something that Michelle Obama or Michael Bloomberg would approve of.
Who cares if those fast food workers become the highest paid people on the unemployment line?
A higher minimum wage has the biggest impact on those with the least experience or the fewest skills. That means in particular those looking for entry-level jobs, especially teenagers. And sure enough, as nearly all economic models predict, the higher minimum has wreaked havoc with teenage job seekers, well beyond what you would expect even in a recession.
Artificially raising wages for unskilled workers reduces the demand for those workers at the same time that it increases the number of unskilled workers looking for work, which results in an excess supply of unskilled workers. Period. And another term for an “excess supply of unskilled workers” is an “increase in the teenage jobless rate.” Despite the wishful thinking of politicians like President Obama, the laws of supply and demand are not optional.
As the debate over raising the minimum wage becomes more heated, true to form, Republicans are going to wrongly go out and argue facts…to their own peril.
Instead, Republicans need to think and act differently.
One way for them to do that would be to negotiate targeted minimum wage increases aimed at the LIVs that Obama counts on for support.
If the law of supply and demand is somehow flawed and there is no resulting unemployment, the Republicans can share in the glory.
If, however, the law of supply and demand are, in fact, immutable and LIVs unemployment increases, not to worry…
The Lotus King will still take care of them.
By the way, in case you missed the link above, here it is again: Dems to use minimum wage against GOP in 2014.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
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