February 20 2014
When It Comes to the Economy, Democrats Should First Do No Harm
Carrie L. Lukas
In The New Republic David Vinik laments that Republicans are failing to offer new ideas for how to increase wages for lower-income workers, and concludes that “Against a proposal of nothing, a minimum wage increase doesn't look too bad.”
Yet there is something worse than doing nothing, which is doing something that makes matters worse, which is what a minimum wage hike would do, as explained by the Congressional Budget Office and acknowledged by David Vinik.
Vinik suggests President Obama has a strong job proposal, while Republicans offer just more of the same:
In the American Jobs Act, President Obama proposed infrastructure spending, payroll tax cuts, extending unemployment insurance, and tax credits for firms to hire the long-term unemployed.
What have Republicans offered? The same thing as always: reduce regulations, cut taxes and “get the government out of the way.” But these are supply-side policies aimed at promoting long-term growth. They aren’t ideas to help in business cycle downturns.
Yet President Obama's proposal epitomizes more of the same. It is exactly what was contained in the President's original nearly-trillion dollar stimulus that was supposed to address our unemployment crisis and has failed so that we are left today debating the same question of how to address high unemployed, an increasingly shrinking workforce, and wage stagnation.
Republicans do need to shout from the roof-tops about the positive reforms they have for encouraging job creation. But it makes sense that many of those reform proposals begin with undoing the tremendous damage that has been done to job creation with laws like ObamaCare. There are other very worthy conservative ideas that should be considered. But let's also be realistic: While liberals lament that Obama's agenda is held back by House Republicans, clearly out-of-power Republicans have little ability to push their own reform agenda.
We all agree that we need policies that promote economic growth and job creation to help the unemployed and encourage wages to rise. But the best first step is to stop pushing legislation and regulation that take us in the opposite direction and destroys jobs.