If you haven’t heard, last night Obama said he would sign an executive order mandating that all federal contract employees receive a minimum wage of at least $10.10. This isn’t inconsequential: it would raise income for about 600,000 workers. Had Obama proposed a $12 per hour minimum, that would have helped almost two million workers.
This is what’s frustrating: like so many Obama initiatives, it does some good. It makes things better. At the same time, it’s not nearly enough. Unlike many other proposals where Congress has had influence, this decision is all on Obama–that’s why it’s called an executive order. The ‘Green Lanternism’ charge doesn’t apply here–Obama has complete agency. Nothing could have stopped him from making the minimum twelve or fifteen dollars per hour. Could the Republicans try to overturn that with legislation? Sure. But there’s no way they could have overridden a presidential veto. Could they hold other legislation hostage? Again, yes. But they threaten to do that anyway about…everything, so why worry about it? Could they use this as grounds to impeach Obama (BENGHAZI!)? Maybe. But let’s have that fight. Let’s make Republicans explain why they think it’s outrageous to earn twelve (or fifteen–AAAIEEE!!!) dollars per hour.
There was no political reason to go for such a low minimum wage. He should have gone higher.
This is getting old.