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Government & Politics

Class Warfare Takes Center Stage

Obama's 2014 campaign plan takes shape -- hype "income inequality."

Jan. 6, 2014
Obama says the line isn't long enough.

After a politically disastrous 2013, Barack Obama is looking to do one important thing in 2014: set the campaign narrative for Democrats. Everything is campaign for Obama. First up are the so-called popular issues of the minimum wage and unemployment insurance. Those two things are properly lumped together, of course, because raising the first creates more of the second. When labor is more expensive, employers “buy” less of it.

In his Saturday radio address, which was recorded before the president left for his opulent Hawaiian vacation, Obama blasted Congress (read: Republicans) for going “home for the holidays” while allowing unemployment benefits to expire for 1.3 million Americans. “Denying families that security is just plain cruel,” the Demo-gogue in chief lectured. He demanded that another extension be the “first order of business” when Congress returns so that another 1.9 million people don’t lose benefits in the first six months of 2014.

It’s worth remembering that if the Obama “recovery” wasn’t such a dismal failure, three million Americans wouldn’t need unemployment benefits.

As for the minimum wage, Democrats plan a push for raising it to $10.10 per hour from the current rate of $7.25 – a nearly 40% increase. Look for them to ramp up their class warfare rhetoric as Obama did last month by calling “income inequality” the “defining challenge of our time.” The New York Times dutifully followed his lead with a weekend exposé on just how “successful” Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar “War on Poverty” has been over the last 50 years. The Times argued that it was the only way to offset the economic gains made only by “those at the top of the income ladder.”

Such a claim is hogwash. According to the Treasury Department, Americans have great income mobility, with half of those in the bottom 20% moving to a higher income quintile over a decade. On the other hand, real income for many Americans has fallen during Obama’s presidency. Even the Times acknowledged, “[T]he greatest hope for poorer Americans would be a stronger economic recovery that brought the unemployment rate down from its current level of 7 percent and drew more people into the work force. The poverty rate for full-time workers is just 3 percent. For those not working, it is 33 percent.” But one thing’s for sure – Obama won’t let the facts get in the way of a good campaign narrative.

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