By Tom Quiner
I couldn’t bring myself to watch the State of the Union address last night.
It is predictable.
I knew it would be a laundry list of destructive liberal spending and undue government intervention in the free enterprise system.
The president did not fail.
Let me focus on his call for higher unemployment. I know, I know, you Obama supporters are spitting nails right now and screaming at your computer monitor, “He never said that! He called for more job creation!”
How? By increasing the cost of labor.
Obamacare has already done that with increased taxes (or fines, whatever you want to call them) for insuring our employees. And most of Obamacare hasn’t kicked in yet. Employers are wary. That’s why unemployment rates remain so high.
Now the president calls for a dramatic new hike in the minimum wage.
Is that how you create jobs, by increasing the cost of labor? No, it’s a prescription to increase already high unemployment, especially for young workers, and even more for black teen-aged boys.
Retailers warn of the consequences. Says David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation:
“A minimum wage hike right now would be one more factor driving up costs for employers and creating headwinds for job creation, especially among the small businesses that create most of our nation’s new jobs.”
The minimum wage has already increased 41% since the start of the Great Recession. Now the president wants to boost it from the current level of $7.25 to $9 per hour.
This is government policy at its most ruthless. The president talks dreamily of lifting people out of poverty with a higher minimum wage.
Researchers from Cornell and American Universities disagree. Writing in the Southern Economic Journal , they warn that Obama’s hike in the wage …
“would eliminate at least 467,000 jobs. The study also found that the higher minimum wage would not reduce poverty, as a majority of beneficiaries live in households with incomes about the poverty level.”
The president is at a disadvantage. He’s never worked for a small business. He’s never owned a business. He’s never had to meet a payroll. He can’t relate to the negative impact increases in the minimum wage can have on employers and their employees.
I’ve been a small business owner most of my life. Let me tell you that labor costs loom large in any business. The president’s call for a higher minimum wage may make him and his liberal buddies feel good about themselves. But it will hurt like hell to the folks who lose their jobs.