Across the board, public opinion in all three major political groups — Democrats, Republicans and independents — identified unemployment as the nation’s top problem in a recent Gallup poll, released on Feb. 17.
The next day, ironically, an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — hardly an assemblage of libertarian-leaning economists —projected that the Democrats’ proposed minimum-wage hike from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 “would reduce total employment by approximately 500,000 workers” by 2016, and that job losses could reach 1 million.
The CBO, additionally, estimated that 81 percent of the proposed increased wages would go to workers who are not living below the poverty line. Roughly half the workers currently earning the minimum wage are between ages 16 and 24, many living in middle- and upper-income households.
In contrast, the segment of minimum-wage workers most likely to lose their jobs because of the proposed federally mandated wage hike will disproportionately be those who are the least skilled and least educated — the portion of bottom-rung workers who can least afford to be knocked off the occupational ladder.
For these officially projected hundreds of thousands of workers at the bottom who will lose their jobs, the unintended consequence of the minimum wage hike is more inequality and less hope in their lives, directly delivered by politicians who preach that their policies will create more equality and more hope.
A week before this report on the proposed minimum-wage hike, another CBO study concluded that the economic impact of Obamacare will be the equivalent of 2 million fewer full-time workers in the economy by 2017, and 2.5 million fewer workers over the next decade because of work disincentives that increase mandated costs on workers and increase subsidies for non-workers.
The CBO projected that this reduction in workers will reduce federal revenues by $1.4 trillion over the next decade, creating more red ink, larger federal deficits, more federal debt, more government borrowing and more interest payments for current and future generations of taxpayers.
Putting a positive spin on what’s been the slowest recovery since World War II and the lowest labor-participation rate in nearly 40 years, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that the projected jobless, the new nonparticipants in the labor force, due to Obamacare, will have “the liberty to pursue their happiness” and the freedom to “follow their passion.”
That sounds like Ms. Pelosi is still singing Scott McKenzie’s hippie anthem from the so-called “summer of love,” 1967: “For those who come to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”
The bottom line in the real world isn’t so fanciful. The U.S. economy is already stalled in a jobs recession, and the aforementioned Obama administration policies simply add to the job losses and stagnation.
“The number of Americans on food stamps has soared 50 percent under Obama to close to 50 million,” Investor’s Business Daily recently reported. “Indeed, more than twice as many Americans have gotten food stamps under Obama than have gotten jobs.”
Last month, five years into Barack Obama’s presidency, the number of Americans employed was still a million less than when the latest recession began in 2008 — historically, a record of critical underperformance.
Since the Great Depression of the 1930s, “there have been 10 other recessions before this last one,” reports Investor’s Business Daily. “On average, all the jobs lost in those recessions were recovered within two years after the recession started.”
With Obamanomics, it takes twice as long to go half as far.