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The Minimum Wage and Economic Reality

Obama Minimum Wageby Steve Chapman

If you offer people something that is too good to be true, you will always find takers. Ask Bernie Madoff. Or ask Barack Obama. He recently proposed an increase in the minimum wage — an idea that suits the natural predilections of many people enough to distract them from the unsentimental and unwelcome logic of economics.

One poll found that 63 percent of Americans favor raising the federal floor from the current $7.25 to $10.10, as the president recommends doing over two years. The reasons are obvious. Wages have stagnated, low-income Americans are getting a smaller share of national income and many working people are stuck in poverty despite their best efforts. A higher minimum wage is the obvious solution.

Obvious, but wrong. The proposal rests on the assumption that the government can decree the price of a commodity — in this case, labor — in defiance of the dictates of the market, without ill effects. But that view requires a heroic suspension of disbelief. [Read more...]

ObamaCare is only one of many failed policies that are shackling the economy

Smug-ObamaObama’s biggest failure is that he hobbled the U.S. economy. ObamaCare is part of that, but it goes well beyond ObamaCare.

by Daniel Henninger

The ObamaCare train wreck is plowing through the White House in super slow-mo on screens everywhere, splintering reputations and presidential approval ratings. Audiences watch popeyed as Democrats in distress like Senators Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor decide whether to cling to the driverless train or jump toward the tall weeds. The heartless compilers of the Washington Post/ABC poll asked people to pick a head-to-head matchup now between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Mitt won. This is the most amazing spectacle of mayhem and meltdown anyone has seen in politics since Watergate.

No question, it’s tough on Barack Obama. But what about the rest of us? For many Americans, the Obama leadership meltdown began five years ago.

In fall 2008, the U.S. suffered its worst financial crisis since the Depression. That wasn’t Barack Obama’s fault. But five years on, in the fall of 2013, the country’s economy is still sick. [Read more...]

Economic Malpractice

obamanomicsIt’s amazing how little President Obama has learned about economics in his four and a half years in the White House. Growth, incentives, tax reform, tax increases, private investment, the middle class, a second great depression, the sequester—all these issues have one thing in common: Obama doesn’t understand their role in our economy.

Nor does he appear interested in finding out. Members of the now-defunct President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness have privately talked about Obama’s economic shallowness. After the 2010 election, he invited four conservative economists to the White House. When former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin broached the subject of the economic cost of Obamacare, the president dismissed it as politics, not economics.

Obama seems oblivious to the feeble recovery his policies have produced since the recession bottomed out in June 2009. The jobless rate is 7.3 percent. But if the millions who’ve dropped out of the job market altogether since Obama took office in January 2009 were counted, the unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent. “In other words, the United States faces a permanently larger pool of jobless Americans,” says the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis. [Read more...]

Killing the American Dream with the Minimum Wage

Minimum WagePolitical crusades for raising the minimum wage are back again. Advocates of minimum wage laws often give themselves credit for being more “compassionate” towards “the poor.” But they seldom bother to check what are the actual consequences of such laws.

One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired. [Read more...]

The Poor: Reagan vs. Obama

reaganfarewellby Ralph R. Reiland

I think the poor need another Reagan in the White House.

The income of black heads-of-households dropped by 10.9 percent from June 2009 to June 2013. This decline in black income is more than double the overall 4.4 percent drop nationally in real, adjusted for inflation, median household income during the same four years of alleged “recovery.”

Similarly, real incomes of those under age 25 fell by 9.6 percent over the same period — again, more than double the average drop in household income. [Read more...]

Tribute to Margaret Thatcher (October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013)

Margaret Thatcher was a friend to the United States and the principles of liberty. She rescued the U.K. from economic malaise with economic policies that empowered the individual and harnessed the power of the marketplace. She joined with Ronald Reagan to win the Cold War using the “peace through strength” doctrine. She empowered her people, strengthened her nation, and made the world a safer, better place. She will be missed.

Americans Are Migrating to States with Lower Taxes and Less Regulation

by John Merline   red state blue state

Americans are migrating from less-free liberal states to more-free conservative states, where they are doing better economically, according to a new study published Thursday by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

The “Freedom in the 50 States” study measured economic and personal freedom using a wide range of criteria, including tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, education choice and more.

It found that the freest states tended to be conservative “red” states, while the least free were liberal “blue” states. [Read more...]

The economy, jobs, and energy and carbon taxes

George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, issued the following statement:   GL Speaking 1

The economy is not some theoretical concept or ivory tower idea. A strong economy means that Americans have jobs and growing incomes. It means that families can provide their children with the care and opportunities that will provide for a bright future. Conversely a weak economy means fewer jobs and less opportunity. It means lower incomes and it means that families have to do without.

Too often big government slows the economy by taxing and spending too much. Those who support more and more government taxes and spending always argue that government can do something good with the money. But the problem with that argument is that families and businesses also can do a lot of good with that money if government doesn’t take it away from them. [Read more...]

The truth about the minimum wage

by Gordon Jones   Minimum Wage

In early 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the constitutionality of ObamaCare (né the Affordable Care Act of 2009). One would think that the time for such a hearing might be before passage of the act, but that is the way we do things around here, and besides, that is not the point of this column, which (as you can see from the title), is about the minimum wage.

The point derives from an exchange between Utah’s freshman (very fresh at the time, only a day or two old) Senator Mike Lee and Walter Dellinger, heavyweight lawyer, professor of constitutional law at Duke University, Assistant Solicitor General, presidential legal adviser, and then Acting Solicitor General in the Clinton Administration. In the course of the exchange, Lee wondered why, if the Interstate Commerce Clause would support a requirement for everyone to buy insurance, it wouldn’t support a requirement that every citizen buy (if not actually consume) three servings of leafy green vegetables every day. (That was in the heady days when supporters of ObamaCare still thought it was a regulation, before Chief Justice Roberts discovered that it was actually a tax.) [Read more...]

“Pay-up, or you’ll regret it!”

by George LandrithObama Mob

Dr. Thomas Sowell, the Stanford University based economist, wrote this week that when he was teaching he would ask his students to consider this: “Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do?” Sowell posits that the agency would naturally cut back on medications for children. He explains that is the only result that would lead to getting the budget cuts restored. And he pointedly explains why the government wouldn’t cut back on the silly statues: “If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.”

Dr. Sowell is absolutely correct! Years ago, when I served on a local school board I witnessed this almost reflexive response every year the budget was tight. The most absurd things were never offered for cuts. They always threatened to cut the things that would most outrage the public. They talked about cutting bus routes for kids that lived far away from schools. They talked about crowded classrooms. [Read more...]

The buck still stops with the president

by Nolan Finley  The Buck Stops with Bush, Not Obama

Playing the crisis card won’t work forever for President Barack Obama. At some point, the people will expect their leader to lead.

And the president hasn’t yet demonstrated the will to do so. Instead, he answers monumental moments such as the upcoming sequestration deadline with brinksmanship and blame-gaming.

For now, the approach is working. A Pew/USA Today poll last week found decisively more voters blame [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address: “We are a nation that has a government–not the other way around.”

“We are a nation that has a government–not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

The claim is made that the most important political event in history was neither the writing of the Declaration nor the crafting or ratification of the Constitution which secures our rights. It was neither of these two monumental accomplishments; it was the peaceful transition of the control of the executive office of the United States of America from George Washington to John Adams. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address to the ’88 Republican National Convention

“Our party speaks for human freedom, for the sweep of liberties that are at the core of our existence. . . . Together we’ve fought for causes we love. But we can never let the fire go out or quit the fight, because the battle is never over. Our freedom must be defended over and over again — and then again.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

At the end of a Super Bowl the winning head coach can rightly point to the day’s game plan, key plays, and stats. All these and more contributed to what was accomplished by the team – led by the coach.

At the end of his time in office, a successful two-term president can rightly point to the administration’s fundamental principles and key policies. All these and more produced the real-world accomplishments – led by the president. After eight years of concrete success and indisputable accomplishment President Reagan reported to the 1988 Republican National Convention. Prior to being elected Reagan had carefully and overtly taught — yes, taught — the country the key principles on which the Founders based the U.S. Constitution and preserved American culture. [Read more...]

[Flashback interview] Retired Senator Malcolm Wallop: “Frontier Freedom”

“America needed to define its interests. . . . The first, foremost obligation is defense of the homeland. . . . (2) We are a trading nation. We need access to our markets and we need for those markets to be reasonably secured. . . . (3) We are a communicating nation which needs access to space, access to the seas. (4) We are a studying nation. Scholarship from science is important to the whole world and those people need to be able to be safe and secure in what they do. (5) Our hemisphere is quite important. If there’s not security in our hemisphere, there’s not security in the homeland. (6) Finally we are a nation with some conscience. It means alliances are extremely important when they’re based on a national interest. We have to have the ability to sustain our presence within those alliances.”

wallop

by Rick Henderson & William H. Mellor III*

November 1, 1995

In the introduction to The Almanac of American Politics 1996 , Michael Barone asserts that the election of 1994 signaled that the nation seems to be returning to a “Tocquevillian America, to something resembling the country that French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville visited in 1831 and described in his Democracy in America. Tocqueville’s America was egalitarian, individualistic, decentralized, religious, property-loving, lightly governed.” [Read more...]

Federal Spending Up 78% After Inflation Since 1998

“If we had kept government spending down to just increases for inflation and population growth, we wouldn’t be in the trouble we’re in now.”

by David Hogberg

Spending chartPresident Obama says he wants a “balanced” approach to the fiscal cliff. But critics argue the real problem is spending, which has far outstripped rising tax revenue as well as economic growth.

Federal government revenue rose from $1.7 trillion to $2.4 trillion from fiscal 1998 to 2012, slightly exceeding inflation. Revenue growth averaged 2.9% annually, despite two recessions, bear markets — and tax cuts.

But federal spending rose nearly twice as fast — 5.7% per year — surging from $1.6 trillion to $3.5 trillion over that same span.

The spending spike also exceeds growth in the population. [Read more...]

Fiscal Crisis: Failing the Details, Math and Leadership Tests

fiscal cliffby George Landrith

President Barack Obama repeatedly chided Mitt Romney’s budget plan during the presidential campaign on at least two grounds: (1) it lacked detail, and (2) the math didn’t add up. Perhaps, we should use these two standards to see how Barack Obama’s plan stacks up. There is more than a little irony in Barack Obama criticizing others for not providing details or for their math not adding up. Obama has always been short on details and his math has almost never passed even the straight face test, much less actually adding up.

Nonetheless, let’s apply these two standards — (1) are there sufficient details? and (2) does the math add up? — to evaluate Barack Obama’s proposals for solving the so-called fiscal cliff. [Read more...]

George Soros and PBS vs. Art Laffer

Children Health Dental Careby Kerri Toloczko

Capitalism is good for everyone. Entrepreneurs access financial resources to create businesses. Businesses hire workers, and workers provide services to consumers. Consumer payments create profit, leading to more services,employees and entrepreneurs.

And according to one of America’s foremost economists, capitalism is even good for children’s teeth. You’d think everyone would be happy. But of course, they’re not.

Mainstream dentistry and Medicaid have habitually underserved low-income children — with painful consequences. Chronically untreated cavities can turn into painful abscesses, leading to costly Emergency Room visits and excruciating pain for a preventable problem. Poor children without dental care often suffer long-term health issues, school absences and even death. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan, “What Ever Happened to Free Enterprise”

“Will we, before it is too late, use the vitality and the magic of the marketplace to save this way of life, or will we one day face our children, and our children’s children when they ask us where we were and what we were doing on the day that freedom was lost?”

by Scott L. Vanatter

Before he was elected president Ronald Reagan delivered a series of speeches on various aspects of the American experience. He focused on core principles: our founding, our freedoms, our economy, and especially and repeatedly on the great promise of our being the Shining City on the Hill.

Thirty-five years ago this month, on November 10, 1977 , the future president spoke at the Ludwig Von Mises Memorial Lecture at Hillsdale College, Michigan. His remarks were titled, “What Ever Happened to Free Enterprise.” [Read more...]

Mandates, Taxes, Spending Cuts and Crazy Talk

by George Landrith

After a long, tough campaign, Barack Obama won reelection by a slim 51% to 49%. Now Obama is claiming a broad mandate to increasing taxes and demands that Congress yield to his view that there must be a higher tax burden for the wealthiest Americans.

Obama is correct that he made tax increases an issue during his reelection campaign. But so did the Congressmen who comprise the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. GOP Congressmen won reelection opposing tax rate increases on any Americans. [Read more...]

Post-Mortem Analysis: Why Romney Lost, Why Obama Won

It turns out that Obama’s ground game, was in fact, as good as they said it was. Supported by as negative and polemic a campaign as an incumbent ever ran.

by Scott L. Vanatter

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” A thousand pictures will be painted in post-election analysis. A thousand time over. Here’s one.

It takes a pretty good team to make it to the Super Bowl. Good and great players and coaches; an astute general manager and smart owner, scouts and staff. How the team deals with injuries and setbacks. Strength training and conditioning. Attitude, execution, an effective game plan — and a bit of luck. (Note: “Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.”) [Read more...]