HOUSTON, April 9, 2014 — The Democrats have made four policies the centerpiece of their agenda for the 2014 midterm elections: A higher minimum wage to attract the poor and the minorities; a pledge to close the alleged gender pay gap to get the single women voter; offering help to pay off student loans to bring in the young voters; and championing overtime pay reform to bring in the middle class voters.
They hope that this platform will excite their voting base in November.
This platform is a blatant attempt to buy off each major constituency of the Democrats’ voting base while demonizing Republicans. They are the same tired ideas that Democrats trot out when they want to make Republicans look uncaring, the better to extort money from taxpayers and private companies to redistribute to their voting base.
This platform is also designed to help Democrats pay off major donor bases, including labor unions — particularly the teacher’s unions — and the trial lawyers.
The platform also would expand the public sector workforce, making more people even more dependent on the government and creating more permanent pro-Democrat voters who will never vote to shrink the government.
These policies will never make it through Congress, but this deals Democrats an advantage. When Republicans vote against them, the Democrats can cry foul, claiming Republicans don’t want to help single mothers, poor folks, young people or the middle class.
For Republicans, that strategy is good news. The last time the Democrats employed an almost identical platform in the midterm elections of 2010, Republicans triumphed in a landslide. Unless Republicans do something extraordinarily stupid — e.g., taking the focus off of the train wreck that is Obamacare, or passing amnesty — the 2014 midterms should result in the same outcome as the 2010 midterms.
The major points of the Democratic platform are flawed:
1. Hike the minimum wage to $10.10
When the Democrats need to distract from the destruction their policies have created, they advocate hiking the minimum wage. After it inevitably fails in Congress, they attack Republicans for hating poor people.
On April 2, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan President Obama said, “Now, next week, members of Congress have a fresh chance to show which side they’re on. They’re going to get a yes or no vote on raising the minimum wage all across this country. And they’ve got to make a clear choice: Talk the talk about valuing hardworking families, or walk the walk and actually value hardworking families. (Applause.) You’ve got a choice. You can give America the shaft, or you can give it a raise.”
He added, “Now, the truth is the Republicans’ refusal so far to raise the minimum wage is pretty consistent with their general worldview (laughter) — which says — it says basically you’re on your own; government doesn’t have a role to play in making sure that the marketplace is working for everybody.”
Unfortunately for Obama, this tired attempt to demonize Republicans is played out; the American people are no longer listening.
2. Fight the gender pay gap
Obama has enlisted Senator Dick Durbin to help to lead the fight to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which allegedly will help equalize pay for women. When they put the Paycheck Fairness Act to a vote in the Senate, the Republicans will vote it down. Democrats will then demonize the Republicans until November for waging a War on Women.
On April 8, 2014, Obama held a press conference to launch this strategy. “I don’t know why you would resist the idea that women should be paid the same as men, and then deny that that’s not always happening out there. If Republicans in Congress want to prove me wrong, if they want to show that they, in fact, do care about women being paid the same as men, then show me. They can start tomorrow. They can join us in this, the 21st century, and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
Interestingly, the Washington Times reported that “Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), who is leading the Equal Pay Day push by Senate Democrats to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, pays women on his staff far less than he pays men … The average female salary is $11,505 lower than the average male salary in Durbin’s office … Four of the five highest paid staffers on Durbin’s staff are men, according to the analysis. … Not a single member of the Senate Democrat leadership has a female chief of staff or communications director.”
According to CNN, women staffers at the White House make 88 cents on the dollar compared to male staffers, and Jay Carney, White House press secretary said of the discrepancy, “The 88 cents that you cite, that is not a hundred, but it is better than the national average.”
Mainstream journalists will likely stay silent about this hypocrisy. The Paycheck Fairness Act is nothing but a gift to one of the Democrats’ largest donor constituencies — trial lawyers — by making it easier to sue for gender discrimination.
3. Student loan forgiveness and reform
Obama is pushing an inevitable policy failure: student loan forgiveness reform.
In his Ann Arbor speech, Obama said, “We got to help more students who are trapped by student loan debt — because this country cannot afford striving young people to be priced out of a higher education. Everybody has got to be able to afford it”
Democratic proposals are just another step towards bailing out all student loan debt. According to Elie Mystal, “The new Senate budget proposal would remove the ‘financial hardship’ showing currently needed to get into ‘Pay As You Earn.’ This would allow many more people to enroll in the program. And that would arguably encourage more people to go into public service despite high student debt.”
The Pay as You Earn program requires individuals to pay a maximum of 10 percent of their income on their student loan debt. After ten years of public-sector work, the taxpayers will pay off whatever remains, and after 25 years of private-sector work the taxpayers will pay off the remainder.
This is designed to balloon the public sector, making many more lifetime Democrat voters and further allowing federal control over higher education. It also allows schools to raise tuition as high as they like, knowing that the federal government will pay off the debt. That’s a sweet deal for teacher’s unions, who happen to be the single largest Democrat donor base, all the while enabling the demonization of Republicans when the bill fails.
4. Reform overtime pay policies
On March 13, Obama held a press conference to attack businesses for not paying higher salaries to their employees. Obama, a man who has never had a real job, knows more about running a business than employers do. He recycled his usual platitudes. “If you’re working hard, you’re barely making ends meet, you should be paid overtime. Period. Because working Americans have struggled through stagnant wages for too long.”
In a March 25 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal , Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants (owners of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s among others) described Obama’s proposals and the problems they will create: “Currently, if a salaried employee makes more than $24,000 a year and is part of management — if he manages the business, directs the work of other employees, and has the authority to hire and fire — that employee is exempt from overtime coverage. The president wants to raise this salary threshold, perhaps as high as $50,000, demoting entry-level managers to glorified crew members by replacing their incentive to get results with an incentive to log more hours.”
Democrats do not care about the human costs of their policies. They never have. Everything they do is calculated to score political points in some way or another. Not one of these initiatives will pass, and if Obama uses executive action to unconstitutionally and unilaterally implement them, not one will have a positive impact. But that is not the point.
The Democrats are concerned about losing control of the Senate, and they will do and say anything to hold onto power. Unfortunately it will be the American people who suffer from this distract-and-demonize tactic that will be front and center in the Democrats midterm election agenda.