Hope and Change. Really?
Let’s start with the premise that all politicians, to one degree or another, are cynical, hypocritical and are not always honest. But Barack Obama makes even the worst of that crowd look like the virtuous Mother Teresa.
When he was running for re-election he did nothing to stop a friendly super PAC from running an ad that suggested that Mitt Romney was responsible for the cancer death of a woman whose husband worked at a steel plant that Romney’s company had shut down.
When the facts came out it was clear that Romney was about as responsible for the woman’s death as the man in the moon was. Still, Barack Obama, the man who promised hope and change, the one who was going to be different and better than the mere pols who came before him, looked the other way.
To pass ObamaCare he misled the American people over and over again, assuring them that if they liked their doctor they could keep their doctor, that if they liked their insurance plan they could keep their insurance plan.
This year he pushed for a higher minimum wage even though a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office study concluded it could cost the economy 500,000 jobs. And he emphasized how a higher minimum wage would especially help women – the key demographic Democrats need to win elections, like the ones coming up in seven months.
Now he’s at it again, this time signing two executive orders supposedly designed to close the pay gap between men and women.
"Equal pay is not just an economic issue for millions of Americans and families,” the president said. “It's also about whether we're willing to build an economy that works for everybody, and whether we're going to do our part to make sure our daughters have the same chances to pursue their dreams as our sons," he said.
How much of this has to do with the midterm elections? Everything.
Since I’ve written about the myth of the pay gap before, I’ll be brief. Men, on average, make more than women because men tend to work longer hours; men tend not to take time off to raise children or care for elderly parents; men, more than women, work in dangerous jobs – in coal mines and oil rigs -- that pay premium wages. In 2012, men were victims in 92 percent of all workplace deaths. Higher risk. Higher pay.
So yes, men earn more than women but there are legitimate reasons. If women really did earn less for doing the same work, wouldn’t every employer in the country hire only women? Imagine how much employers would save doing that if women make only 77 cent for every dollar a man earns – or whatever the latest phony number happens to be.
(A quick side note: Turns out that women who work at the White House earn 88 cents on the dollar compared to male staffers. The president didn’t bother mentioning that in his remarks at the White House signing ceremony.)
So what is it with this president who was going to change the nasty tone of politics as usual? There aren’t too many possibilities. Either he’s a liar – (a word I try very hard not to use when talking about any U.S. president) -- who will turn Americans against each other simply for political gain, simply to get women mad enough about how they’re supposedly treated in the workplace so they’ll vote for Democrats in November – and take their pretty little minds off of ObamaCare … or he is monumentally incompetent and really thinks that greedy, bottom-line, corporate thugs are paying men more just to keep the gals in their place.
Take your pick. But I'm going with the liar part, which is one reason he ranks as the most polarizing American president ever.
And that, my friends, is what Barack Obama’s version of hope and change looks like.