Obama newest economic initiative, something he is now publicly touting as an example of his new found economic populism, is like so many other Obama initiatives, nothing more than snake oil, smoke and mirrors designed to sound good but which will accomplish nothing.
It's a proposal by which millions of Americans who currently work overtime without getting paid for it, would now be paid.
This newest bit of sleight of hand consists of raising the base salary for which workers are entitled to overtime from a current ridiculously low $23,000 a year to $50,000 a year. Sounds good right? Sounds like something long overdue, right? Sounds like trying to strike a blow for fairness and income equality right?
Not exactly. It's more fakery and snake oil, a proposal that sounds good for what ails you but on closer examination is like flavored water - empty and meaningless. It should be labeled "for entertainment purposes only" because that's what it is.
And it's meaningless because of one very important fact -- there is nothing in Obama's proposal or law that would prevent an employer from cutting the base salary of an employee who would qualify for the overtime under the new law to offset the new overtime increases, resulting in a net gain for the worker of zero. Nothing. And cutting base salaries to compensate for increased overtime pay is the first thing employers will do if the law passed. Then the employees that Obama is claiming to help will have two choices -- take the pay cut or quit.
It's a proposal that does nothing for workers who work overtime without getting paid for it. But it does give Obama something to talk about. And talk he is. He announced his proposal with the statement " I believe in middle class economics". Which is why not a single Wall Street or bank executive whose greed caused the economic crisis that threw millions of people out of work and out of their homes was ever prosecuted for fraud even though they admitted to it and were allowed to cut a deal by paying big fines instead of going to prison. While tax payer dollars bailed them out. If that isn't believing in middle class economics I don't know what is.
Obama's new proposal is hollow and gives the pretense of doing something to benefit workers while at the same time giving a wink to employers and will have no affect on doing what it pretends to do -- put more money in the pockets of workers who put in overtime but don't get paid for it.
Obama said in announcing his new proposal, " The current rules leave millions of Americans working long hours which take them away from their families without giving them the overtime pay they deserve". That's all true. And under Obama's stirring new proposal it still will. Which means if there was ever an offer of help that deserved the reply, " thanks for nothing" this is it.