Patterico's Pontifications

1/28/2014

Obama to Declare a Grand New Era of Unilateral Action, Beginning with a Minimum Wage Hike for Employees of Federal Contractors

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

In tonight’s State of the Union, President Obama intends to set off an era of unilateral presidential action by unilaterally increasing the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors:

President Obama plans to sign an executive order requiring that janitors, construction workers and others working for federal contractors be paid at least $10.10 an hour, using his own power to enact a more limited version of a policy that he has yet to push through Congress.

The order, which Mr. Obama will highlight in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, is meant to underscore an increasing willingness by the president to bypass Congress if lawmakers continue to resist his agenda, aides said. After a year in which most of his legislative priorities went nowhere, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to make progress despite a lack of cooperation on Capitol Hill.

This idea was proposed back in December, and Jay Carney said something very interesting then:

Q: You spoke about some Republicans on the Hill, but congressional progressives — the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Democrats, have written a letter to the President urging that he circumvent Congress and sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage for workers employed through federal government contracts with private companies.

MR. CARNEY: I haven’t seen that, Peter. I would simply say that for those who watched or heard or read the President’s speech yesterday, you know how strongly he supports raising the minimum wage. This has always been done legislatively, and it has been done with support from Republicans and not just Democrats in the past.

And why has it always been done legislatively? Because, without some explanation of how Obama will offset the cost (what? there’s a cost? Yes, there’s a cost), it sounds like the President is spending our money without Congressional authorization.

Is this technically unconstitutional? I’m not sure. I have asked Eugene Volokh whether his blog will do a post on the matter today, and I hope they do. I am seeing word that the order will apply only to new contracts — and if that’s true, it may be constitutional. Here’s Charles W. Cooke on the matter:

That sounds right.

I think they ought to calculate what the cost would have been without the minimum wage, and appropriate that, and not a penny more. It’s then up to Obama to figure out how to handle the shortfall. Don’t like it? Welcome to the world of business owners, Mr. President! They have to make hard choices and so should you.

Like all my dreams about Congress standing up to this guy, this will never happen. The fact of the matter is that this President continues to appropriate Congressional authority in more blatant ways all the time. The New York Times piece linked above has helpfully catalogued some of the complaints from those damned carping Republicans:

Even so, Mr. Obama’s vow to use his executive authority more robustly has drawn criticism from Republicans who say he has already stretched and, in some cases, exceeded the bounds of his power, much as he once accused President George W. Bush of doing.

Among other things, Mr. Obama unilaterally deferred deportation of many younger illegal immigrants after Congress declined to pass legislation giving them legal status. He has delayed enforcement of several aspects of his hotly disputed health care law. He declined to defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act, a law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

As he looks ahead to three more years in office, and with Republicans likely to still hold one if not both houses of Congress, Mr. Obama has sought other ways of enacting his agenda. Perhaps the most far-reaching area will be the environment, where the Environmental Protection Agency is working on regulations to limit carbon emissions at the nation’s power plants.

Imagine if Republicans won the Senate this year, and lawmakers declared they no longer needed a presidential signature to pass certain laws. There would be a cry of outrage. And these actions would be ignored, because Congress has no enforcement agency. But Obama’s declaring he does not need congressional authorization to change our laws? That barely registers in the national consciousness. And yet this is more dangerous, because Obama has the police power. He has the guns. If anyone needs to be checked, he does.

On his radio show, Mark Levin has accurately described what is taking place here as a slow-motion coup. Regardless of the constitutionality of today’s action, it is clear that Obama is taking on powers that a President simply does not possess under the Constitution. The problem is, lawsuits are not the way to stop this. The way to stop it is Congressional action. And Congress won’t do it.

Once again, I am noting something that will be largely ignored. And our country slides a little further towards oblivion.

91 Responses to “Obama to Declare a Grand New Era of Unilateral Action, Beginning with a Minimum Wage Hike for Employees of Federal Contractors”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Yes, he will continue to usurp power until he is stopped, and as time grows closer to the end of his term, I imagine he will simply increase the speed and intensity of his usurpation.
    And as much of his usurpation includes/emphasizes/ features/is camouflaged by giving gifts and buying off voters, it makes it that much harder for Congress to oppose.

    As previously said, what is even worse is that Obama is not so much the problem is that we have a nation that was not only willing to elect him, but re-elect him.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  3. FDR did the same thing including punishing political enemies.

    AZ Bob (ade845)

  4. Excellent post. As is his habit, he goes to great lengths to expand the power and extend the reach of the State.

    Colonel Haiku (352287)

  5. Well it’s like bad kabuki;

    http://www.pocketfullofliberty.com/media-shocked-obama-is-failing/

    now will their be a judge willing to stand against it, rhetorical question,

    narciso (3fec35)

  6. You have to look at just what kinds of contractors our esteemed President is looking at. The only ones who would have minimum wage employees are those which provide food service or retail sales in some fashion, which means, primarily, vending machine companies, franchise holders who run Burger Kings on military bases, and contract operators of commissaries.

    If it is mandated that their costs must be increased, then they will have to make up for those increased costs by charging higher prices, prices which will be borne, primarily, by our soldiers and their families. A corporal (E-4) with four years of service has a base pay of a whopping $27,659 per year. Different allowances can increase that, but we significantly under-pay our soldiers now, and the Commander-in-Chief would increase the costs that they have to pay to support their families.

    The Army-daddy Dana (3e4784)

  7. I’m not that knowledgeable about it, but in FDR’s day were not some of the Dems in Congress, and perhaps the press, not so eager to give in to his ploys to pack the supreme court and such? I’m not sure Obama has those constraints.
    Correct me if I’m wrong.
    FDR did not have a blogosphere and radio talk to contend with, that is true.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  8. Comment by The Army-daddy Dana (3e4784) — 1/28/2014 @ 7:56 am

    You mean like the SEIU?

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  9. it sounds like the President is spending our money without Congressional authorization.

    No it doesn’t sound like that. He’s not spending any more money – he’s just getting less for it.

    You’d have to look at the law to see how much authority he has to set conditions for federal contracts. It is my understanding that a president can do this – he could for instance, demand they pay more for electricity, too.

    Now there are two things to notice about this:

    1> First, he arranges for a request to do this from some members of Congress.

    2> He is pretending he is doing more than what he really is.

    Obviously, this does nothing to the federal minimum wage, or the level of wages in general, but it can sort of sound like he’s doing something that matters.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b8667)

  10. A dog & pony show for the true Idiocracy elements of the electorate. That aside, voting and not voting have consequences. Keep that in mind when Nov. 2016 rolls around.

    Lawrence Westlake (48fb95)

  11. Offset the cost of Federal Contractors to the rise in minimum wage?

    That’ll be easy, since there are probably NO federal contractors that make anything close to the minimum wage.

    DejectedHead (a094a6)

  12. He’s careening around like a drunken sailor. But then sailors have at least some common sense when they are sober.

    Comanche Voter (12e67d)

  13. Ardilla gigante, Giant squirrel,

    narciso (3fec35)

  14. I think there is an easy answer here. Obama can raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for janitors, construction workers, and other contractors to federal employees, but Congress should demand that he offset the costs by either reducing the salary of other federal workers or eliminating their jobs altogether. I’ll encourage any Republican member of Congress to support that action.

    JVW (709bc7)

  15. A corporal makes upward of $27,000 a year? I should have joined the Army.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. That barely registers in the national consciousness.

    I’m assuming you’ve seen a recent poll that shows a slight majority of people don’t mind a president — presumably the current one being in the uppermost of most survey respondent’s minds — circumventing Congress and enacting policy without its approval.

    The banana-republic-izing of the US continues on its glorious path. This on top of all the foolish Americans who in other polls continue to blame current economic problems not on Barack “Goddamn America” Obama but on George W Bush.

    As the saying goes: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

    Mark (534100)

  17. 14. Comment by JVW (709bc7) — 1/28/2014 @ 8:27 am

    I think there is an easy answer here. Obama can raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for janitors, construction workers, and other contractors to federal employees, but Congress should demand that he offset the costs by either reducing the salary of other federal workers or eliminating their jobs altogether.

    He can’t unilaterally do that. Wages of federal employees are set by law, and are not negotiated by unions. The only thing a president can do is move employees from one wage level; to another. GS-15 GS-17 things like that.

    The reason he can set the minimum wages in this case is that they are not federall employees, and he can simply write this into the contract.

    In previous times, presidents have inserted anti-discrimination clauses into contracts. Everything he does is a little bit controversial, so you don’t see presidents adding conditions to contracts willy nilly.

    Ezxcept here, he’s tgrying to make a point. The point is actually wrong. Too many jobs at a too high minimum wage leads to many people not ever getting any kind of job at all for a long time.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  18. There’s going to be more and more of this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/28/opinion/bruni-emilios-great-race.html?hp&rref=opinion

    Not only the people who vote for him but many of those who don’t will not want to vote for any Republican.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  19. Too many jobs at a too high minimum wage leads to many people not ever getting any kind of job at all for a long time.

    to the First Fascist, this is a feature, not a bug. people dependent on the government teat can be depended on to continue to vote for more free sh1t, which means scum like Obumbles, Reid, Christy, etc stay in office.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  20. “There’s going to be more and more of this:”

    Sammy – Are you afraid of brown people or do you support the law?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  21. Obozo is a Leftard. He believes wages have nothing to do with the value of the work performed; but are the result of “evil” capitalists trying to squeeze the “oppressed” workers, by refusing to give them more of the money from the money tree all businesses keep behind corporate headquarters, in order line their own pockets. Thus explaining that raising the minimum wage puts people out of work, simply makes no sense to him.

    Mike Giles (760480)

  22. Breitbart News proclaims:
    STATE OF THE UNION PREVIEW: IGNORED, OBAMA TRIES RULE BY FIAT

    If only he turned the Gov’t over to Sergio Marchionne, something might just get done.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  23. Raising the Min-Wage for Federal Contractors?

    Doesn’t that present an Equal Protection problem since all the other employees in the workforce are being penalized?
    And, why would you want to become a Federal Contractor if you knew that right off the bat, your labor costs were going to go up without any productivity increase?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  24. Will this be mentioned at the SOTU?

    Ukraine Gov’t resigns en-masse. President negotiating to stay out of jail.
    H/T Hot Air @ 1101PT

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  25. After reading Gutfeld’s SOTU drinking game, I’m ever so glad I don’t drink alcohol (except for a margarita or beer every 6 mos.)

    Colonel Haiku (3ed4e9)

  26. “Will this be mentioned at the SOTU?”

    askeptic – I’m thinking he will announce another NASA outreach program to the Muslim world since the first one was so successful.

    Plus a whole lot of WTF!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  27. Patterico,

    Where do you get the idea that Obama intends to compensate the federal contractors? Sure those that are on cost-plus won’t mind, but they are already paying the highest wages they can justify to their auditors.

    Fixed-price contractors can go lump it, for all Obama cares.

    Kevin M (536c5d)

  28. There is a point to Impeachment here.

    Failure to convict a president for an, um, extension of authority creates a precedent that future presidents can and will rely upon.

    Any Senator who votes to acquit is also voting to marginalize his personal authority. Even some Democrats might balk at that. Especially if the marginalization of Congress is extreme.

    Kevin M (536c5d)

  29. On his radio show, Mark Levin has accurately described what is taking place here as a slow-motion coup.

    It would be better described as slow-motion Empire.

    Kevin M (536c5d)

  30. Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/28/2014 @ 11:34 am

    If we win much more of the future, we’re doomed.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  31. Why does this seem like we are reliving the last days of the Roman Republic?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  32. “Where do you get the idea that Obama intends to compensate the federal contractors?”

    Kevin M – I think the proposal is that federal contractors pay any hourly employees a new minimum of $10.10 if they aren’t already above that on new contracts, not increasing already allocated contract amounts. I could be wrong, though.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  33. Different allowances can increase that, but we significantly under-pay our soldiers now

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis suggests not. The average pay with all benefits for serving military is over $100K and is indistinguishable from other federal workers. See http://www.bea.gov/ National Income and Product Accounts Tables 6.2D and 6.4D (not directly linkable).

    Cash pay might seem small but the housing, food, PX, medical, pension, educational and other benefits add up.

    Kevin M (536c5d)

  34. daley,

    If I were a cost-plus contractor, I’d be paying all my workers the maximum the auditors would allow. If they were making less than $10.10/hour it would NOT have been my choice.

    Kevin M (536c5d)

  35. “If I were a cost-plus contractor, I’d be paying all my workers the maximum the auditors would allow.”

    Kevin M – That’s why it’s meaningless smoke and mirrors for the LIVs.

    Maybe he’ll give us some advance tips on his NCAA basketball picks, which would be about as useful as anything else he’s likely to say tonight.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  36. “There’s going to be more and more of this:”

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 1/28/2014 @ 10:11 am

    Sammy – Are you afraid of brown people or do you support the law

    No and no. What I’m saying is that people who try to ignore this are making a lot of trouble for themselves – a political party cannot maintain a position against amnesty, whether the law is enforced or whether it is not enforced, whether it will be enforced in the future, or whether it will not. It needs to be done.

    There will be more and more people affected by no change in the law.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  37. Kevin M:

    Why I Passed on WIC

    September 15th, 2012 Cassy Fiano

    When I had Benjamin, I almost immediately signed up for WIC. It would be helpful, I thought, to save some money for a family living off of one military paycheck. So we signed up and used the vouchers for quite some time. But I always felt somewhat guilty about it.

    Why? The benefits were there. We qualified for it. Lord knows we aren’t rich, and there’s no shame in accepting help when you need it. And therein lied the problem for me. There came a point when I couldn’t erase that thought in my head. Do we really need WIC?

    Almost everyone I know, every military family, uses WIC.

    More at the link. But if Mrs Chesser, who is married to a Marine Sergeant (E-5), was eligible for WIC, and every military family she knew was eligible for WIC, then we are way underpaying our soldiers.

    The Army-daddy Dana (3e4784)

  38. Cash pay might seem small but the housing, food, PX, medical, pension, educational and other benefits add up.
    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 1/28/2014 @ 12:27 pm

    I wonder how that compares on an adjusted basis to what was being paid (cash and benefits + promised future retirement benefits) to GI’s in the Early-60′s prior to the expansion for Viet Nam?
    I know that I, as a single E-5 under 4-yrs, was making $225.60/mo, plus overseas-pay and pro-pay IIRC.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  39. Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/28/2014 @ 10:09 am

    people dependent on the government teat can be depended on to continue to vote for more free sh1t, which means scum like Obumbles, Reid, Christy, etc stay in office.

    He doesn’t actually have to help people – he just has to convince them the Republicans don’t care – or, are actively conspiring against them.
    (to prevent them from voting, say – that’s a big turnout motivator – or to outlaw abortion or something else they don’t like, which is ot actually happening.)

    Usually it is fake. But in the case of opposing amnesty, it’s real. (and there are more and more American citizens affected by this, as illegal immigrants get more and more assimilated. It may especially affect the college youth vote. That’s what I pointed out)

    Where Obama has to actually do something for somebody is cases where he wants, not just votes, but campaign contributions. Those are not so easy to get.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  40. “No and no. What I’m saying is that people who try to ignore this are making a lot of trouble for themselves – a political party cannot maintain a position against amnesty, whether the law is enforced or whether it is not enforced, whether it will be enforced in the future, or whether it will not. It needs to be done.”

    Sammy – English please. What needs to be done and why?

    Where does immigration reform stand on the list of the publics’ priorities? I believe midteens.

    It merely shows how out of touch Obama and the Beltway are with the rest of America that they push topics like these when the country has much more pressing concerns. The same with gun control last year.

    Giant squirrels!!!!!!!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  41. Cash pay might seem small but the housing, food, PX, medical, pension, educational and other benefits add up.

    the PX is no bargain, nor is the commissary, as Congress made sure they didn’t disadvantage any of the commercial stores off post by providing significant savings.

    the medical care is for S**t, speaking from personal experience. it certainly isn’t worth any more than what you pay for it, and the quality of care is ghetto.

    education benefits aren’t much better, and you’d best hope a deployment or FTX doesn’t get in the way of a mandatory test or something, or you’re SOL, because you’ll be out doing police calls in the field instead of defending your dissertation, and, if that costs you all the time invested, TS GI.

    as for pensions, those are being cut by Congress, and will undoubtedly be pared back further.

    so you can cite all the studies by sillyvillians you want, but for your average enlisted GI, life on welfare would be easier and more remunerative
    than serving their country.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  42. Sammy – It would be a good time for Obama to go all in on climate change!

    That’s probably just as important to people as gun control, immigration reform and way above imroving the economy or jobs.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  43. daley, that would be perfect.
    The temp in DC currently, and projected to hold through the night, is +18F.

    Is AlGore in town?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  44. Why daley, the American people are absolutely clamoring for government action on climate change. 29% rate it as a priority.

    The American public routinely ranks dealing with global warming low on its list of priorities for the president and Congress. This year, it ranked second to last among 20 issues tested.

    There are substantial partisan differences over the importance of dealing with global warming, according to our survey conducted Jan. 15-19. About four-in-ten (42%) Democrats cite it as a priority compared to 14% of Republicans and 27% of independents.

    When we asked about climate change again in a survey conducted in Feb. 2013, only 34% of the public viewed new climate change policies as something that was essential for the White House and Congress to tackle last year.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/key-data-points/climate-change-key-data-points-from-pew-research/

    elissa (024be3)

  45. Obama beleives in climate change.

    In an interview, he said the thre things he was most concerned about (or some term like that) were:

    1) unemployment

    2) climate change

    3) Pakistan.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b8667)

  46. Teh Pivoting Pezzydent Wif Teh Pen!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  47. 12. He’s careening around like a drunken sailor. But then sailors have at least some common sense when they are sober.

    Comment by Comanche Voter (12e67d) — 1/28/2014 @ 8:18 am

    Drunken sailors who max out their credit cards at the bars and strip clubs can’t into Navy Federal S&L and demand a credit increase to “pay our bills.” And call the manager “irresponsible” when the she laughs in his face.

    Steve57 (dcc128)

  48. The Wonderment of the LightWorker:

    1) unemployment – the long-term UE is a disaster, and the official UE # is only as good as it is because millions have dropped out of the labor force.

    2) climate change – This is a joke not even worthy of a response.

    3) Pakistan – Who is more pissed at us today than they probably have been at anytime since Partition.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  49. ==Obama beleives in climate change.==

    Why did you post this Sammy? Is the public supposed to care more or be convinced if he believes? He went against the polls and common sense of the public with Obamacare. By all means let’s waste some more dollars on his cronies and their boondoggles.

    elissa (024be3)

  50. SOTSTFU

    Colonel Haiku (3ed4e9)

  51. Let’s hear about the income disparity between DC and the rest of America!

    Colonel Haiku (3ed4e9)

  52. lol

    even after food stamp’s decree these losers will *still* be making minimum wage

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  53. we should call this farce the STFU address…

    8-)

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  54. 48- more….
    I would direct everyone to Roger L. Simon’s post at PJM entitled “Will Obama Continue the Assault on Science During the State of the Union?”

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  55. so, if the minimum wage goes up on these contracts, either fewer employees will be w*rking, or the contractor will make less profit or the expense will be passed along to the government, which means we’re paying for it, no matter what.

    typical Obumble move: Barry the Dimwitted doesn’t have the sense G*d gave a hole in the ground.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  56. …but enough about Jay Carney.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  57. I think they ought to calculate what the cost would have been without the minimum wage, and appropriate that, and not a penny more. It’s then up to Obama to figure out how to handle the shortfall.

    Not a problem for this guy, Pat. He’ll just cut back on military retiree benefits.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-NatNq9NnUQc/UueqHj5p6sI/AAAAAAAAH14/Zp4_WRjwJz0/s1600/backstab.jpg

    Steve57 (dcc128)

  58. Deficit shmeficit!

    Icy (b22f5c)

  59. i’m a miss the big speech because of how it’s not a priority

    i hope food stamp does something about all the anti-biotic resistant bacterias crawling all over everything

    but he’ll need Daddy Soros to sign off

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  60. *antibiotic-resistant* I mean i did the hyphen thingy all wrong

    it’s been a long day I’ve already had many adventures and it’s not yet 3:00

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  61. In an interview, [Obama] said the thre things he was most concerned about (or some term like that) were:

    1) unemployment
    2) climate change
    3) Pakistan.

    Truth be told, it’s more like:

    1) His ability to lock-in the big government fixes he forced upon us in his first two years.
    2) His ability to escape in January 2017 without having had his questionable dealings scrutinized.
    3) His ability to be accepted as a hero by the left-wing academic/media nexus that he has so assiduously courted through his career.

    If given the choice between impeached and removed from office or, for example, having a Greek-style economic collapse followed by an Egyptian-style societal collapse, there is no doubt in my mind that Obama would choose collapse, just so long as he and his family were guaranteed to be taken care of.

    JVW (709bc7)

  62. Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 1/28/2014 @ 2:23 pm
    I was looking at the link, when I tried to go to page 2 it disappeared and hasn’t come back…

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  63. I really don’t think this will actually impact spending much if any.

    How much of any contract is spent on wages between 7.25 and 10 per hour. I mean there is already the davis bacon act.

    If you look at the breakdown of industries that employ minimum wage labor, it isn’t government. It generally is hospitality and restaurants that lead the list. Not only that but the BLS itself indicates that 50% of all employees at the Federal Minimum Wage are under the age of 25.

    Jeffrey (2eddb6)

  64. 24. Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 1/28/2014 @ 11:19 am

    Will this be mentioned at the SOTU?

    Ukraine Gov’t resigns en-masse. President negotiating to stay out of jail.
    H/T Hot Air @ 1101PT

    This is too new to work it into the speech. But there actually may be some references to forein policy and maybe even to this.

    There should be some vague generality about recognizing the aspirations of people in…can you think of a collective noun that can be interprted both to include and not include Ukraine? Some geographical area that maybe does, and maybe does not, encompass Ukraine?

    Syria should be mentioned too. Iran, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, al Qaeda, terrorism, and maybe Pakistan, India and China. Mostly touting success, which may not actually be success. What can’t be characterized as a success won’t be mentioned. Efforts to do things will be mentioned, but not failure. But it will be a small part of the speech. I think some presidents have given a State of the world speech. Maybe Ford did.

    Most of it will deal with the United States.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b8667)

  65. “The trouble is that, once the wages have gone up, he’s going to need more spending. And thus he’s going to need Congress.”

    Not to worry, he’ll get what he wants.

    Remember what happened last month with that budget deal that gutted the sequester and screwed over vets?

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (bff3f0)

  66. Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 1/28/2014 @ 2:25 pm

    if the minimum wage goes up on these contracts, either fewer employees will be w*rking, or the contractor will make less profit or the expense will be passed along to the government, which means we’re paying for it, no matter what.

    Fewer employees, not per contract, but fewer and more stretched out contracts.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b8667)

  67. Perhaps Obama’s handlers can call an audible and have some styrofoam Greek columns trucked in tonight to symbolize the largeness of his plan to increase the wages of some federal contract employees?

    Colonel Haiku (3ed4e9)

  68. “Ich bin ein jelly donut!”

    - President Barack “Helmutt” Obama

    Colonel Haiku (3ed4e9)

  69. Do you think he even realizes that by now the world is laughing at him? Or are his handlers keeping that from him, too?

    elissa (024be3)

  70. RIP astronauts of the Challenger disaster 28 years ago today. (Does not seem possible it’s been that long ago.)

    http://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-challenger-anniversary-transcript-2014-1

    elissa (024be3)

  71. yeah, here’s another take on those munificent benefits remarked upon above, from a FB friend who’s still in the service:

    “Very generous health care and pension benefits for able-bodied, working age (38-62) military retirees…”

    As a 25 year old Infantry NCO, my pair of tours in Afghanistan have caused a large amount of damage to my body. I am in pain every day of my life. When I retire at 38, 42, 45, whatever – my retirement ceremony will involve me walking with a cane. Therefore, the term “Able-bodied” seriously bothers me. I know, there is the VA, however my friends who have ETS’ed explain their treatments as “Band-Aid over a gunshot wound”. I’m well aware of this, and have accepted it knowing that I will have a small pension and healthcare to cover me when I get out.

    There is a reason for that 20-year pension. I did my taxes today, and as a single Sergeant (E-5), I earned just a hair under $30K last year. I work, on average, 55-60 hours a week. While I don’t have rent, or on paper don’t *need* to pay for food, and have *free* Healthcare (which is a crock)…it’s getting harder and harder to justify putting on the uniform every day understanding that morale is in the crapper, an intentional move from higher in order to help facilitate the manpower drawdown.

    If you want to slice a part of the pension, fine – start with every troop that enlists in FY14, or FY15. Not for those who have already put in their time, because this is essentially the government breaking a promise and flipping off the retired veterans. The Generals don’t get it, their pensions break the 6-figure mark when they call it quits. They’re all politicians anyway. The Enlisted – the blood, sweat, tears, and backbone of the Services – this impacts our small $2K a month or so retirement that we’d get after hanging up the boots one last time.

    Rant complete. I hate you all.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  72. RIP astronauts of the Challenger disaster 28 years ago today. (Does not seem possible it’s been that long ago.)

    I was part of a team at (what was then) TRW monitoring TDRSS-B from a remote ops center for the launch. It broke my heart.

    Chuck Bartowski (11fb31)

  73. Regarding his intent tonight:

    “What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class,” Obama will tell the assembled members of Congress, according to excerpts of his speech provided by the White House.

    Somerequire Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

    Emphasis added.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/196725-obama-i-wont-stand-still#ixzz2rkBLPXdz

    Dana (610912)

  74. Some loyal self-important songwriter is gonna riff off his “I won’t stand still” and write a modern anthem to be sung by

    Dana (610912)

  75. Oops…patriots everywhere.

    Dana (610912)

  76. No, I won’t stand still
    I don’t need your bill
    In a city that won’t give me my fill
    I won’t stand still

    I know how to write
    And take a big bite
    From Congress’s powers with a pen
    In the middle of night

    I’ve got the press
    And the IRS
    If you say something I’ll audit your ass
    I won’t stand still

    nk (dbc370)

  77. Here’s one reason to watch the Super Bowl–the year- upon- year always great Budweiser ad. For this one, a whole town welcomes home a returning vet. (And there are Clydedales, of course.)

    http://www.businessinsider.com/budweiser-a-heros-welcome-teaser-2014-1

    elissa (024be3)

  78. Chuck@73–how awful for you to have been monitoring the Challenger flight real time when it exploded. The transcript suggests that the crew never really knew what hit them. Is that your take as well?

    elissa (024be3)

  79. nk,
    To the tune I was thinking of also, I bet.
    Lots of guitars.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  80. for example, having a Greek-style economic collapse followed by an Egyptian-style societal collapse,

    All wrapped together with the wondrous cultural qualities of a Mexico and the effete social dynamics of a France.

    Lucky us.

    it’s getting harder and harder to justify putting on the uniform every day understanding that morale is in the crapper, an intentional move from higher in order to help facilitate the manpower drawdown.

    The canary in the coal mine to me truly is the fact that no less than the US military has been corrupted by the same type of politics that has undermined every other facet of this society, including our media, public schools, universities, entertainment industry (which has as an adjunct the world of sports, and all its increasing PC bilge), Silicon-Valley big business, Wall Street, religious institutions, the Boy Scouts, etc, etc.

    As much as I blame characters like Obama for propelling the decline of America, a lot of responsibility also has to be placed on the shoulders of a large portion of the American populace, who buy into the notion that do-gooder, left-leaning sentiments are a beautiful thing.

    Mark (534100)

  81. Comment by Steve57 (dcc128) — 1/28/2014 @ 2:37 pm

    He’ll just cut back on military retiree benefits.

    That was actually principally a placeholder.

    Congressional budgeting is a rather bizarre world.

    Senator Susan Collins was getting close to negotiatinmg an extension of unemployment benefits for three months (which would have been “paid for” by continuing some of the existing across-the-board federal spending cuts over a 10-year period, which was in line with the type of things agreed to in the budget agreement)
    when Senate Majoroty Leader Harry Reid suddenly called a vote in order to prevent that.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/politics/unemployment-benefits-extension-fails-in-senate.html?_r=0

    He let two votes be taken that he knew he would lose.

    One was for an amendment would have “paid for” an 11-month extension of extended unemployment benefits by an extension, for one more year, from 2023 to 2024 of a 2 percent cut to Medicare health providers that nobody intended to see happen. It failed 52-48 and that was not 60.

    The second vote was on the unamended bill, which would have extended benefits for three months without paying for it (but added $6.4 billion to the deficit) failed 55 to 45.

    Reid was requiring any amendments to meetthe 60-vote threshold, but asking for a simple majority on the bill itself.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b8667)

  82. Re: Challenger disaster. I wound up recording it on the VCR we had. But I couldn’t play it back too slow. It was hard to catch anything.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b8667)

  83. Chuck@73–how awful for you to have been monitoring the Challenger flight real time when it exploded. The transcript suggests that the crew never really knew what hit them. Is that your take as well?

    Yes, that was the impression I had. I don’t remember having an audio feed from the astronauts, just from the ground crew, and telemetry from the bird. None of us in the room could speak for an eternity.

    Chuck Bartowski (7f50c5)

  84. so you can cite all the studies by sillyvillians you want,

    Red,

    This is from the ongoing statistics from our government, not just military but all employment compensation, public & private. It’s not a study, any more than the census is a study.

    Now, it may be wrong (although you see the same thing moth after month), and they are probably counting the COST of the services they provide rather than their value (which you seem to discount), but those are the hard numbers.

    Kevin M (536c5d)

  85. Makes me wonder if there’s a necessity to continue with these pesky elections. After all, the only thing those horrid Republicans do is stand in the way of progress.

    Lorem Ipsum (cee048)

  86. Bite-sized nuggets of statist flatulence.

    Colonel Haiku (3ed4e9)

  87. When you look at the money congress spends on NewPapers.. Yes newspapers, purified h20 (in stead of the water fountain) and expenses like that which they could buy their selves. Yes, tons of money is spent on so each can have their hometown paper delivered along with NYtimes etc , I don’t have an issue with Federal Raising mim wage for fed employees. Some say its a small drop in the bucket, a lot of them small drops make a bucket.
    After all, a job of a janitor is disgusting. Someone has to do it — they arent slaves.

    Kim (93d51b)

  88. #88
    When I had jobs that disgusted me, I left no stone unturned in trying to get another job.
    Janitor and soft serve ice cream servers are entry level jobs. The idea is to get into the labor force and then see how high you can fly.
    I’ve seen these parties celebrating someone who has been pushing a mop down the same hall for 30 years… a party? That is an occasion for tears.. where was the drive to move up or out. WTF happened? You’ll see these types of employees, often externally friendly and likable who are attending work. They show up everyday and take good care of as little as possible. $80 a day to keep one bathroom kinda clean.

    My experience as an employer is that the employee who stays in that entry level position for years has problems. Problems at home, problems with the law, problems with motivation, problems with responsibility, problems with alcohol, reluctance to learn new things, learning disabilities, inability to lead others. They just want to show up, clean ditch from point A to B, and collect $80 buy a burrito and a 12 pack, watch some TV, repeat.
    I have a guy who is very very simple. He works hard, does everything (simple) the exact way you show him. He gets $12.50 and competitively he is more than maxed out. He is smart enough to have found a way and a place where he can make more by putting his head down and getting it done.
    I have others that are like mustangs, they are young and full of nonsense. They are only worth $10 because they break tools, lose tools, try to nail the burrito truck girl on the foreman’s front seat, when they are on point they do very well, someday they’ll get it together… or not.
    Then there are the people who earn raises. They show up early, they are clean, they want to learn, once they learn they look to apply it. They are responsible, polite, they respect others, they respect property. Someday they might leave me and start their own business… but maybe the wage security I can offer incentivizes them to stay

    steveg (794291)

  89. Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot has an interesting post up. Apparently there is more to this E.O. hiking the minimum wage than meets the eye.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/369616/whats-really-driving-push-hike-minimum-wage-union-dues-jim-geraghty

    The two-page “fact sheet” for the move fails to mention how many workers would be getting better wages. Note that the executive order only sets the minimum wage level for new contracts, as the White House cannot change the terms of existing contracts.

    Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., co-chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, pushed for the change, and contended the raise would affect 2 million workers, which seems astonishingly high, considering that the high estimates of number of federal contractors is about 4.4 million.

    These comments from the Government Executive site indicate a federal contractor making minimum wage is rarer than hen’s teeth…

    Richard Berman: “The Center for Union Facts analyzed collective-bargaining agreements obtained from the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. The data indicate that a number of unions in the service, retail and hospitality industries peg their base-line wages to the minimum wage… The two most popular formulas were setting baseline union wages as a percentage above the state or federal minimum wage or mandating a flat wage premium above the minimum wage.”

    I always wondered why unions push for a higher minimum wage since so few union workers make minimum wage. Now I know.

    Veronique de Rugy discusses some data relevant to Prom Queen’s push to raise the minimum wage at The Corner.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/369792/data-about-presidents-minimum-wage-proposal-veronique-de-rugy

    And in doing so indulges in a habit that irks me to no end.

    In other words, it is likely that the people the president is trying to help are exactly the ones who will be hurt by a raise in the minimum wage.

    Why do people insist on attributing good intentions to President Mean Girl when all the evidence is that he has none? Hasn’t Ms. de Rugy been paying attention for the past five years?

    Somebody who’s well intentioned doesn’t send troops to die on a mission he doesn’t believe in merely for cynical domestic political purposes. Everything is about him. Whatever he does is calculated to serve Tiger Beat’s short term interests. His recent nominees for ambassadorships to Norway and China amply demonstrate that. They’re merely rewards for services rendered. He doesn’t care one bit that both these people have harmed US interests abroad even before they left the country. What are America’s interests compared to President Bieber’s?

    So if he’s screwing people over, then he’s screwing people over because it works for him. He isn’t trying to help anybody else.

    Steve57 (5b9a77)

  90. “No, it doesn’t impact the ‘full faith and credence’ clause, because the USGovernment never made that promise. You did. So I guess you’ll be paying out of pocket. You owe us 6.8 billion, slick. And no, we won’t take a check.”

    Mojo (6db70b)


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