Obama's Minimum Wage Ruse
President Obama's newfound enthusiasm for the minimum wage is the political equivalent of a ruse of war.
With an eye on the approaching midterm elections, the Demagogue-in-Chief hopes to lure his Republican enemies into a discussion on his ideological home turf so he can pound away at them mercilessly and distract from his own political problems.
As his approval rating slides, Obama has heartily embraced the red herring as the cornerstone of his public relations strategy. Bearing his by now familiar deer-in-the-headlights look, he officially knows next to nothing about what his administration is doing and is constantly on the lookout for scapegoats and other distractions.
Democrats, as well as those leftists not disillusioned with Obama, desperately want to recapture the House and hang onto the Senate in the hope of imposing even more destructive progressive policies on the populace before a new president takes over in January 2017. The November congressional elections give these left-wingers their last kick at the legislative can during the Obama presidency. It is Obama's final opportunity to drop-kick America over the cliff and into the bottomless socialist abyss.
Obama promises that 2014 will be "a year of action." The president plans to keep the chattering classes busy blathering on endlessly about stuff that doesn't matter to normal people. He knows dragging voters to the polls in an off-year election is hard, so he wants to excite his base.
Obama is pushing a minimum wage increase, an otherwise marginal issue voters place well down on the list of national priorities, because he needs to get left-wing voters emotional. Even though under 3 percent of all workers in the nation (and an even lower percentage of full-time workers) earn the minimum wage, Obama knows that whipping up indignation over the issue gets voters to the polls.
Obama's former employer and legal client ACORN, the huge community organizing network that went bankrupt in 2010, viewed raising the minimum wage as an electoral crowd pleaser.
ACORN put minimum wage propositions on the ballot in order to drive up turn out among poor voters and the progressive faithful. "We would like it to become a fact of political life where every year the other side has to contend with a minimum wage law in some state," said Jen Kern, director of ACORN's Living Wage Resource Center.
"This is what moves people to the polls now. This is our gay marriage," she said some years ago before big chunks of the conservative movement went wobbly on same-sex marriage.
To further motivate supporters and distract from the weapon of mass socioeconomic destruction that is Obamacare, the president and his cabinet members are now lecturing Americans daily about things like "income inequality," "green jobs," and the alleged phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming. Obama even made income inequality the centerpiece of his most recent State of the Union Address.
Like the minimum wage, each of these issues is a ruse de guerre that Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky would applaud. Each issue can be used to recruit voters and fill the pockets of labor leaders who demand their cut of the action.
Obama can't acknowledge what he is doing out loud so he plays the compassion card.
"We know that there are airport workers, and fast-food workers, and nurse assistants, and retail salespeople who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty," he said in December. "And that's why 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."
Obama blames the federal minimum wage and other factors for this income inequality, an imaginary evil that dwells only in the nightmares of left-wingers. The prescribed rate is now $7.25 an hour. Obama wants to raise it to $10.10 an hour and recently took steps to make sure federal contractors are paid that hourly rate.
Pulling out hyperbole and glittering generalities from his bag of tricks, Obama, the former part-time adjunct lecturer opined that "the combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe."
Stoking the flames of class warfare by flogging a minimum wage hike helps the Left in several specific ways. No serious economist doubts that raising the minimum wage eliminates jobs from the workforce. Some of those newly unemployed people end up on welfare. People who are dependent on the government tend to support Democrats.
Raising the minimum wage benefits Obama's comrades in organized labor. It helps the cartels also known as unions by restricting competition among those offering their labor. It also helps unions because many collective bargaining agreements mandate pay raises for those covered by the agreement when the minimum wage is increased.
Obama telegraphed his misdirection plan years ago on the campaign trail.
If you can't beat your opponent's ideas, then you distort those ideas. Maybe you just make some up. If you don't have a record to run on then you paint your opponent as somebody people should run away from. You make big elections about small things. [emphasis added]
In the Oct. 27, 2008 speech Obama was referring to his then-opponent, John McCain, or so it seemed at the time.
But in a kind of Freudian political slip it turns out Obama was actually describing his own approach to voter outreach.
Matthew Vadum (website) is an investigative journalist in Washington, D.C., and author of the ACORN/Obama expose, Subversion Inc. Follow him on Twitter.