The worst Obama orders have one terrible thing in common. They use the best things about us to force us to do something we don’t have a say in and can’t stop. Two new orders epitomize how our values can be twisted to do harm.
Why Americans are so unfair
It’s fair to say that Americans don’t support discrimination. Most of us believe in equality, opportunity, and fairness. These values make us better, but we are often accused of not supporting them. Why? To bully us into adopting a politically-motivated vision of how America can be better.
We were just hit with two new Obama orders. A threatening directive on transgender kids was dumped on schools last week under the guise of offering helpful guidance. After that, businesses got the bad news that their payrolls are going up when a mandatory overtime order kicked in.
New Obama order for schools: fair and equal, or else
Being fair and equal is good, but it isn’t a fix for everything. Some things can’t be fixed. Sometimes there is no need and we shouldn’t try. We should never, ever use fairness and equality to bring change by singling out people for agenda-setting lawsuits.
A year before the transgender order was sent out to schools the Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management released what sounded suspiciously like a “how to sue” guide for federal employees, Addressing Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment:
This informative resource will help LGBT federal employees make more informed choices about how best to pursue their individual claims when they believe they have suffered from discrimination.1
2016 is an especially divisive, high stakes year. It should be no surprise that gender identity rose to the top of the liberal to do list. Schools made vulnerable by their dependence on federal money are a perfect target for the fair and equal treatment.
The joint Department of Education-Justice Department suggestions on how not to run afoul of Title IX was not an Obama order per se. It might as well have been. We know where it came from and the instructions made perfectly clear what schools were risking if they refused to bow to the administration’s transgender take on civil rights. Adding insult, the letter insinuated that the problem was us and how we react to people who are different:
As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.2
Sound familiar? We heard the same rhetoric about xenophobia in support of immigration amnesty. Of course, singling out a class of people for special treatment creates differences that can trigger discriminatory behavior. The letter raised the dreaded hostile environment threat for those who “treat differently on the basis of sex,”3 which is precisely what these guidelines ask schools to do: accommodate hazy gender identities that are neither established nor proved. The Justice Department calls this providing clarity and asserts that:
In recent months, we’ve heard from a growing chorus of educators, parents and students around the country about the need for guidance on how schools can successfully support transgender students and non-transgender students in compliance with federal civil rights laws.4
Rest assured the non-transgender students aren’t the ones Lynch’s department is focused on. With only a very small minority of the U.S. population claiming to be transgender, just how loud can this chorus be? Likely not louder than the voices fearful of federal lawsuits and the cost of accommodation to address an issue that rose to prominence because of election year greed and the determination of a president stymied in his efforts to fundamentally change how this country thinks.
New Obama order for overtime: a raise is a terrible thing
The president just increased the cost of doing business as part of his administration’s policy to punish businesses for not raising the nation’s standard of living.
The Department of Labor claims that millions of workers will make more money:
More than half – 56 percent – are women, which translates into 2.4 million women either gaining overtime protections or getting a raise to the new threshold as a result of the rule. We also find that more than half – 53 percent – of affected workers have at least a four-year college degree, and more than 3 in 5 (61 percent) are age 35 or older. And 1.5 million are parents of children under 18, which translates into 2.5 million children seeing at least one parent gain overtime protections or get a raise to the new threshold.5
What is at play is not the underpaid worker who has the right to find another job. It is the assumption that businesses don’t pay workers fairly or honestly for a day’s work and have to be forced to raise pay to a level that can be added to the president’s endangered legacy:
Every week, millions of Americans work more than 40 hours a week but do not receive the overtime pay they have earned. Tomorrow, the Department of Labor will be finalizing a rule to fix that by updating overtime protections for workers.6
These millions of workers didn’t earn overtime. They weren’t cheated out of pay they weren’t legally entitled to, but that didn’t stop Obama from giving America a raise to punish employers and make himself look good:
It’s a simple premise: A hard day’s work ought to lead to a fair day’s pay.
The problem is, our current legal code doesn’t reflect that simple truth. We’re doing something to change that.7
Obama couldn’t get Congress to change the law. We may not be able to get rid of the overtime order, either, but businesses can get rid of employees they can’t afford. Nothing speaks to unfairness like being tossed out on the street because a politician did something stupid and ran afoul of the simple, timeworn rules of free enterprise.
Obama orders run the gamut of trickery
The really terrible thing about the new directive to schools and the overtime pay order is that real life doesn’t work the way things do in Obamaland. The world treats you badly when you are different. Setting aside special facilities and encouraging kids who don’t yet know who they are to be separate and different is not a smart way to be fair and equal any more than forcing pay raises will cause businesses to shell out more money without making changes elsewhere. The new Obama orders are not a recipe for healthy societal change. They are a set up for pain, humiliation, and hurt that encourage us to despise ourselves and our country for not doing what the government tells us to do.
That’s manipulation, not fairness.
Updated 5/21/2016: link to post on xenophobia added; text edits for clarity.