The president is like the dog that chased a car and caught it. What does he do now? Faced with the necessity of presenting a program in the State of the Union, Obama couldn't rely on his "blueprint," because it was essentially cotton candy. So it appears that he rummaged around in the closet where they keep hoary liberal wish lists. He dusted a few off, renamed them things like "Fix It First," "Smarter Government," "Manufacturing Hubs" and so forth and rolled them out like parade floats.
The president gave only the most glancing lip service to the greatest threat facing America -- the crushing weight of entitlement spending and debt, and he repeated the preposterous claim that his new spending will be free (or "won't increase deficits by one dime"). For this, he guarantees that he will be remembered as an irresponsible failure.
There were too many bad ideas to rebut in one column, but let's consider two: Minimum wage and solar power.
"A full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year," the president said. "Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong. Tonight let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour."
Has Obama not read any economics since his undergraduate days (if then)? As a poverty fighting measure, you could hardly do worse than to raise the minimum wage. According to 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only .66 percent all of full-time workers in the U.S. earn the minimum wage. The suggestion that many workers are toiling full-time at minimum wage jobs is flat wrong. Among those being paid an hourly wage, just 5.2 percent earned minimum wage or less. Half of those earning minimum wage are under the age of 25. Even among teenagers who work, 77.2 percent earn more than minimum wage. And among those getting minimum wage, 40 percent come from families with incomes over $61,000.
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