State of the Union: Obama’s hollow speech
By Matt Miller,
And yet. People say when they read a story in the newspapers that they actually know something about, they can’t believe how wrong the papers get it. Watching a State of the Union is a little like that for wonks. Obama’s framework was exactly right: “How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?” But when you look at the details the White House put out on the president’s proposals, it’s less clear that he’s offering real answers.
Take the minimum wage. I ought to be thrilled. My column last week argued that a minimum wage hike should be part of Obama’s State of the Union, and there it was! It doesn’t get much better than that for a columnist, to feel like you’re a small part of the stream of argument helping nudge policy in the right direction.
And yet, Obama wants to take the minimum from $7.25 to $9, “in phases.” If he gets it – a big “if,” because of senseless Republican opposition – it would mean that when our community-organizer president leaves office, the minimum wage would be worth 15% less in real terms than it was in 1968. Would it be a life-enhancing boost for millions of Americans? For sure. Is it what a decent minimum in America ought to be? No. Read More