The United States has heard talk of higher minimum wages for as long as I can remember. The federal minimum wage was last raised on July 24, 2009, when it went from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.
Candidate Bernie Sanders made increasing the minimum wage a major theme of his campaign. He wanted to raise the required wage to $15 and started calling it a “living wage.”
But what he failed to mention is something that, ironically, he finally pointed out a few days before the 2016 Election Day. Sanders told a crowd that the Obama administration might be touting an unemployment rate of 5% or less, but that they could only claim that number when part-time jobs are counted the same as full-time jobs. According to Sanders, the real unemployment rate is over 9%.
This change in determining the so-called “unemployment rate” is just part of how the Obama administration changed the measuring stick to make the job market look a lot better than it actually is. The Obama administration also decided that people who gave up looking for work or hadn’t found work in a certain amount of time would not be factored in to how the rate is determined. In this way, unlike any other President in history, Obama hides the long-term unemployed and gets to report an unemployment number without even having to factor them in. If we are being unbiased, isn’t that just silly?
It’s like me telling you that my golf score has gone way down over the last year because I decided not to count the bogies I had. Did I really improve at all? No.
But Obama’s fake unemployment rate can’t hide the record 94,708,000 people who aren’t in the work force. That’s where you’ll find those unemployed people who Obama doesn’t want to count anymore. They are there for anyone willing to take an unbiased look at the true state of unemployment.
So back to Bernie Sanders proposing a $15 an hour minimum wage. His democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton attempted to offer something similar by proposing a $12 an hour minimum wage. It was a popular idea.
A minimum wage increase is right out of Obama’s play book. Like the unemployment rate going down simply because Obama tossed out the factors that were keeping it high, raising minimum wage is equally as artificial and slight of hand. People would be getting a raise not because they had proven themselves to be a necessity to the company. They weren’t so in-demand that they had other job offers of higher pay and so they were offered more to stay. The raise wasn’t earned at all but only happened because the government said it had to.
In all of this we still fail to take into consideration that the reason a business would seek to pay someone the minimum amount is because their skills and experience is at a minimum level. Often times the person working for minimum wage is receiving valuable training in order to be worthy of higher pay in the future. In this way people on minimum wage are receiving valuable experience so that in the future, they can earn more because they are worth more to an employer.
Raising the minimum wage, in addition to making costs of goods and services increase to pay for the artificial pay/wage increase, costs jobs. But Obama has already been accounting for that with his pretend unemployment rate. In a world where perception is everything, why worry with pesky details like reality? So what if people on minimum wage who think they are getting a pay raise will actually pay the difference in the increased cost of goods and services? So what if businesses have to fire people in order to afford the government-forced minimum wage and then those folks who got a raise have to do double the work in the same amount of time? People who don’t think beyond the nice-sounding numbers don’t consider much beyond the headline. The president looks good. He smiles. The media gives glowing reports in Obama’s final days as president, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. The minimum is being given maximum reward and the dumbed-down masses are eating it up.
Some saw through it as evidenced by Trump’s victory, but too many are suckered by the real fake news, which is Barack Obama attempting to write a legacy for himself with minimum truth but a maximum wage for himself. Perhaps history will wisely define Barack Obama without all of the mirages and no substance. “Free” healthcare that’s not free or cheaper. A lower unemployment rate that’s not really lower. A higher minimum wage that’s not higher. A couple of years with a lower deficit but a record high national debt.
Rhett October is on Twitter @RhettOctober
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