For those who are tired of the almost-constant claim from critics that President Barack Obama is tyrannical or a dictator: Strap in, it’s about to get worse. According to The Huffington Post, the president will sign an executive order this week that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for “workers under federal contracts.” The order does not simply raise the wage, either, but ties it to an "inflation index” so that it keeps pace with the cost of living. Until the order is released by the White House, it remains unclear how many will benefit from the increase.
The president is “making good” on a promise made during his State of the Union Address. “I am eager to work with all of you [in Congress], but America does not stand still – and neither will I,” he said during the speech. Afterward, critics vilified Obama for the same executive overreach of which the left has accused past Republican presidents.
The central question is whether the president has a legitimate complaint about an obstructionist Congress. During his first two years in office, even though the Democrats held both chambers of Congress, they fell just short of the filibuster-proof majority they needed, and everything became a dogfight.
Since Obama’s inauguration, Republicans have almost doubled the previous record for filibustering. Even simple procedural votes, such as raising the debt ceiling, have become bitter fights wherein the combatants are more concerned about the political costs than actual governance. Still, one must wonder if this may set a troubling precedent for the kind of executive action the president can take.
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Raising the minimum wage is controversial, with many suggesting that it will ultimately kill jobs and raise costs. Others suggest that it will ultimately help the economy, because it gives more spending power to people who work full-time and make just enough to be broke. If anything, this executive order will serve as an interesting pilot program to see just what kind of real-world effects raising the minimum wage will have.