Is America still in a recession, or is the problem that we have not dedicated enough funding to poor people with the flimsy excuse that we are helping the middle class recover?
No one likes to admit it, but poor people are not good for rousing sympathy from taxpayers, especially when calls for more spending are politically motivated. There will always be suspicion about how poor people got to be that way, so if Democrats want to spend more to help the poor they have to make the spending palatable. That’s where the middle class comes in.
White House turns bitter over spending for poor people.
Still hanging on to his Year of Action pipe dream, the president sounded bitter and confused during yesterday’s Weekly Address. He blamed Republicans for “stacking the deck in favor of those at the top”1 and threatened executive action on behalf of the middle class after charging several days earlier that:
A Senate Republican said he doesn’t think the minimum wage helps the middle class.2
Raising the minimum wage won’t help because if you are earning minimum wage you are not part of the middle class. 2014 federal guidelines place the poverty line at $19,790 for a family of three and $23,850 for a family of four.3 At $10.10 an hour your annual income is $21,000. Are two-parent families with both breadwinners making minimum wage the new definition of middle class?
More jobs are bad news for poor people and Democrats.
With the job market getting better and the stock market at an all-time high, the Democratic Party’s worst nightmare is coming true. The economy is improving.
Politically desperate times call for desperate measures. Promising to help poor people by raising their wages is the best get out the vote strategy Democrats can come up with, so when our Labor Secretary discussed the April jobs report he confused not working with not making enough money:
I’m encouraged by this report, but we can’t let one month of strong numbers diminish our sense of urgency or distract us from helping people who are still hurting. I meet too many working families who are barely getting by, let alone getting ahead.4
The president made the same mistake, blaming Republicans for not passing jobs legislation:
But so far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every serious idea to create jobs and strengthen the middle class.5
Democrats continue to insist that the minimum wage is the ticket for poor people to get into the middle class. Perhaps that is why a Commerce Department report prepared for Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force argued that the middle class is best defined not by income, but by intangibles like values and goals6 (see: Obama Deceives With New Middle Class Jobs Plan). The report also showed that the year before Barack Obama took office the lowest 25th percentile of two-parent, two-child families earned $50,800 and the median $80,600,7 far above the $21,000 incomes touted by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s American Opportunity Agenda:
Raising the minimum wage is a common sense way to grow our economy, support job creation, and rebuild America’s middle class. By rewarding hard work, not only will more families raise themselves into the shrinking middle class, but we can grow our economy for generations to come.8
Where does that leave us? How far do we have to lower the bar?
Raise the working poor or lower the middle class?
Democrats are happy to confuse the issue of whether we are helping poor people, supporting Middle America, or sticking it to the wealthy because it brings in votes. Do they want to raise the working poor or lower the middle class? If the middle class really needs a minimum wage boost to stay where they are, they are a lot worse off than we thought, but in an election year it sounds a lot better than admitting how little the Obama administration has done for poor people.