A brief look in the rearview mirror, please.
It will forever be known as the weekend that President Obama played golf with Tiger Woods. But the jarring incongruity between President Hope vs. President Flim Flam will always define February 15-16 for this writer.
On Friday, February 15th, the president gave a speech in Chicago – three days after his State of the Union Address – in which he championed a 24 percent hike in the minimum wage to $9 an hour. The initiative was roundly panned by economists as the Minority Youth Unemployment Act (to borrow the Wall Street Journal’s memorable headline). Such is the experience of minimum wage hikes – it destroys opportunities for youth, especially teens in competitive labor markets like Chicago and Detroit.
Linda Gobler, President of the Michigan Grocers Association, says the president’s plan would be devastating to young people.
“Minimum wage hikes always hit our industry hardest,” she told me that week. “The retail food industry is a huge employer of young people. But it is an industry with 1 percent profit margins, so government wage hikes do a particular disservice to youth job opportunities. Grocers are the first employers of young people in school. We cringe when we see these increases in the minimum wage.”
No matter. President Obama surely knows these facts. The last such mandate in 2009 has led to record teen unemployment. But he wants the minimum wage as a political issue (62 percent of the public supports it and Big Labor demands it as a collective bargaining floor), not an employment issue.
Having thrown youth under the bus, Obama then jetted off to Florida to play golf with his One Percent cronies. Of course, that’s not how the media reported it. The White House press pool was in a snit over not getting celebrity pics of Obama’s golf date with Tiger Woods.
But as TCPalm.com reported, it was the White House that asked to use the exclusive Floridian golf resport in Palm Beach. Obama wanted some private vacation time to play with his rich pals – including Eric Whitaker of Chicago; Tony Chase, a Houston businessman and fundraiser for Obama; and Milton Carroll, a Houston energy exec who is also an Obama donor.
“We got a call a week or so ago and asked if we’d be receptive to having him there,” said Jim Crane, owner of the Floridian and the Houston Astros, told Major League Baseball.com. “And we said, ‘Certainly, it would be an honor to have him there.’” And who is Jim Crane? He is the founder of a private equity firm named Crane Capital.
Rhymes with Bain Capital.
From job-killing minimum wage advocacy to golfing at a resort owned by a private equity tycoon – a profession Obama demonized during the 2012 campaign. Forty-eight hours that define a cynical presidency.