WASHINGTON - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came up with the perfect name for the Obama economy that you'll be hearing a lot in this year's midterm election campaigns.
"After more than five years under this administration, the Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy," the Republican governor told reporters after a meeting he and his gubernatorial colleagues held with Obama at the White House.
With his anemic economy still unable to produce enough jobs to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work full-time, Obama is offering a old, threadbare idea to raise the nation's minimum hourly wage to over $10. Congress's budget analysts say it could result in the loss of at least a half million jobs, and possibly a million.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that forcing small businesses to raise their hourly wages would result in layoffs to keep their payroll costs down, or cause employers to hire fewer low- wage workers in the future.
In a nation with a workforce of 160 million people, many of whom are jobless or can only find part-time work, this is a poor excuse for an economic recovery program. In fact, it is pathetic.
Making struggling businesses in a weak economy pay higher wages is not a plan to get America growing again.
"I think we can do better than that. I think America can do better than that," Jindal said. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it is almost word for word what John F. Kennedy told voters in the 1960 presidential election as he touted his plan for cutting income tax rates for everyone to boost economic growth and job creation.
Surely we can do better than this, but don't hold your breath believing that this do-nothing president will put the American economy back to work anytime soon.
What could we do right now to jump start the engine of a stalled economy? For starters, Jindal suggested that the president could approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline "if he was serious about growing the economy."
That would create thousands of jobs and give the U.S. energy industry a booster shot that would send a signal to the economy that we're serious about boosting the growth rate beyond its anemic 2 percent range.
But Obama has been dithering over this issue for the past two years because he fears his approval will anger his party's radical environmental allies in a critical election year that could put Republicans in charge of the Senate. His reluctance is holding back the economy and stronger job growth in the process.
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