A left-leaning Facebook friend posted this status right after the State of the Union Address tonight:
"I don't understand why Paycheck Fairness and raising the national minimum wage are such divisive things. I mean isn't it a great way to keep people of the welfare rolls by having them get paid more?"
I listened closely to the State of the Union address. Naturally, I agreed with a lot of the talking points. We should try to help the middle class. We should ease the tax code, close loopholes, and help small businesses. We should make America energy independent by increasing our oil supplies and embracing renewable energies. Bring our troops home. Balance the budget. Fix Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Secure our borders by increasing border agents and make comprehensive immigration reforms. Upgrade schools and strengthen skills in math and science.
Why would anyone disagree with any of the things mentioned in the State of the Union? And more importantly, how could any of these issues be divisive? After all, all of these talking points were also mentioned in George W. Bush's 2007 State of the Union Address, see for yourself:
He even talked about dealing with global climate change, which is a super divisive issue.
The problem is not the goal, most Americans can align on most goals. The problem is agreeing on how to achieve these goals. Too many Americans listen to biased news, idealistic movies, and music written by inexperienced artists, which often makes one side (I'll let you guess which) seem like their goal is different. People really believe that nearly half of this country wants to suppress the poor and abuse women. How could fair pay and raising the minimum wage be divisive issues? Because people are sold on the goals and not how to achieve those goals.
For example, why don't we raise the minimum wage to $50/ Hour? Use the same logic presented tonight. People will have more money and people can spend more money. It will lift people our of poverty, won't it?? Clearly, it would have an effect on employers ability to hire employees, it would lower resources other benefits, and it would certainly restrict the employers ability to do business.
"In July 2007, the unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-old workers was 15.3 percent; three years later, following a 41 percent increase in the federal minimum wage, the rate was 25.9 percent." http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/e
Republicans rely on businesses to be reasonably regulated, but to decide their own capabilities and Democrats want to enforce higher standards. This is a legitimate debate. This is also a debate that could help propel positive reforms for both side. The big issue is when the debate does not happen. When one side believes that it's goals are better, therefore they know best.
If you don't believe that Democrats are this arrogant, then re-watch the State of the Union from tonight and compare it to GWB's 2007 speech. President Obama promises to take executive actions and truly believes that Republicans have only hindered progress. He said that he proposed a profound Jobs bill 18 months ago and Congress only passed some of it, implying that if they pass the rest of his bill, our economy will be fixed. Even on Climate change, "But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will." http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/us/pol
What about fair pay? There is a convincing statistic that gets repeated in the echo-chamber of the mainstream media, something like women make 72% of what men do for doing the same work. As Libertarian economist Economic Facts and Fallacies, Sowell, 2007).puts it: "If employers pay a woman only three-quarters as much as they would pay a man for doing the same work with all the same skill, this means that those employers who hire an all-female workforce can get four workers for what other employers are paying for three. Smaller production cost differences than that can mean that some companies prosper while some other competing companies go out of business because of their high productions costs prevent them from selling profitably at competitive prices." (
This is a new idea to people who have repeated the statistic previously mentioned. It's a brand new argument because this debate is not taking place. Instead, Republicans are made to seem like they just want to take advantage of women and keep them from working. This is just what people think now. You can't understand how issues could have two sides because people do not consider a position other than their own. The President proclaimed tonight that "the time to act is now," which will lead to action with the intentions of reaching our goals, but we will never reach our goals if these debates are not had.