Another worthless 'I guarantee' from President Barack Obama

After delivering his hour-long, chewed-over state-of-the-union speech on Tuesday, President Barack Obama hit the road and issued another one of his worthless "I guarantee" promises.

As the New York Daily News reported:

Obama visited a Costco store in suburban Maryland to drive home the argument that businesses who pay higher wages can improve their bottom line. “I guarantee you if workers have a little more money in their pocket, they’ll spend more at Costco,” Obama said to applause from the workers surrounding him in blue and red vests.

Yeah, sure. How many times did Obama "guarantee" that if you like you health care insurance or doctor you can "keep it." In just one of the many, many times he made that pledge, you can see it again at about 8 minutes into the below You Tube video:

Why should Americans believe anything he says anymore. Doesn't he or his advisors understand that his credibility with Americans is sliding toward rock bottom?

Take, for example, the assertion that low-income Americans will take the increased money in their pockets from an increase in the minimum wage and spend it at Costco. Not likely. Costco serves a wealthier customer base; more than likely, they'll spend the money at Walmart or a Sam's Club.

Obama makes a big deal about Costco paying more than the minimum wage, and that other companies (unspoken, but he means Walmart) should do the same.  Problem is, Walmart has many, many more employees than Costco, and the hike in the minimum wage would impact Walmart much, much more. And because Walmart is where  the people that Obama is trying to help shop, they would be more directly impacted by the higher labor costs that would be passed along to them.

My own feeling is that the minimum wage debate is overheated. Government does have a proper role in encouraging, if not requiring, that employers pay their employees a decent, just and living wage. What exactly that is comes down to a political choice. Truth is, in my view, both sides exaggerate the impact and importance of the issue.

But I do agree with the critics who say that a one-size-must-fit-all approach of a mandated federal minimum wage does not take into account the significant and many differences to be found in businesses and states across America. I also get tired of hearing the assertion that if you oppose an increase to the levels demanded by one party, that you are coldhearted and don't  care about people who don't have it as good as you. It's a public policy decision with lots of "nuances" and complications that require a decent, non-demagogic  debate.

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  • You wouldn't have this opinion if you were trying to live at the current minimum wage. I guarantee it.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    What about the minimum wage of thirty and forty years ago, which I was paid and perhaps you, too. Nobody looked at it as the final career stop. In fact, it was so pathetic $1.55 per hour, that you worked like a dog to learn, adapt, apply and move up.

    Aquinas, do you think $49 per hour is a good minimum wage? I do. And even higher. So why are you wanting to ONLY pay people a paltry $10.10? Seems very cheap of you.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    So, Richard, why do raise it to a paltry $10.10?

  • So what do you think about the fact that Walmart employees are on public assistance since they don't earn a living wage? Why should our taxes essentially subsidize Walmart's wealth?

  • In reply to Jenna Karvunidis:

    Right on, Jenna. The Walton family's wealth is greater than that of the bottom 40% of Americans combined!

  • Jenna, I've also heard that about Walmart employees having to be on assistance and I'm interested in finding out more. Do you know how many or where I can find a citation?

    I found this (below), but not sure where the congressman got his figures:

    "Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private sector employer, is also the biggest consumer of taxpayer supported aid. According to Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, in many states, Wal-Mart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients. They are also the single biggest group of food stamp recipients. Wal-mart’s "associates" are paid so little, according to Grayson, that they receive $1,000 on average in public assistance. These amount to massive taxpayer subsidies for private companies." (from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-13/how-mcdonald-s-and-wal-mart-became-welfare-queens.html)

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    You will find links to state studies in Massachusetts Wisconsin, Missouri and California, as well as a report written by a Democratic House Committee staff in May of 2013 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacy-mitchell/new-data-show-walmart-who_b_3402985.html

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Interesting. Did you look at the study itself? I followed the HuffPost link to the Massachusetts study and discovered that the outfit that has the largest number of employees on the state's subsidized health care program is the state itself: 6,128 employees, costing the state $14.3 million. I'm not sure what to make of it other than the possibility that the state of Massachusetts is worse than Walmart (and all the others listed) when it comes to failing to pay its workers a living wage. In this bluest of all states?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Typical right-wing response. Ask to cite facts, facts are cited, so you go off-subject.

  • LOL...Alan Grayson. He of the "Republicans want you to die" speech on the Congressional Floor.

    I have no idea if this is true or not, but I *do* know that I would NEVER accept anything posited by Grayson without cross-checked references.

  • In reply to jcaschaumburg:

    You shouldn't accept anything from anybody without cross-checked references.

    By the way what is the Republican health plan?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    HR2300

  • In reply to Yee Yang:

    HR2300 was referred to a House committee on June 6, where it died. The Republican-controlled committee never even reported it out.

  • Once again: Google "Republican alternative to Obamacare."

  • The first item I got on Google was "Republican Alternative To Obamacare: Raise Middle Class Taxes While Yelling 'Free Market!'"

  • In reply to jnorto:

    So that's where you stopped reading?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    The first page all has responses from September of 2013 or later. It took that long for a response? Over 4 years? Or should we hit number "10" on the "Gooooooooooogle" links at the bottom and keep looking?

  • In reply to Lou Berger:

    Lou, you are a moron.

  • If the republicans had such a great alternative to the Affordable Care Act, than why did they wait until now to try to unveil it. This was actually a care act presented by Nixon and acted upon by Romney. Now all of a sudden its a horrible thing? Healthcare is bad because they call it O'Bamacare and not GOPcare? I am not in favor of the mandate, but at least there was an effort made by Obama to supply healthcare to all Americans, while the GOP voted over 35 times to repeal healthcare to help the American people. Instead of just pointing the finger at the "Black Guy", how about introducing bills that actually help middleclass people and get rid of corporate tax subsidies, apply tariffs on imports, get rid of Citizens United and vote for term limits for starters. Democrats, Republicans and the unrealistic Tea Baggers are all to blame for there own self interest and wealth and looking out for the good of the common American citizen.

  • I misstated my last sentence in my previous post.

    If the republicans had such a great alternative to the Affordable Care Act, than why did they wait until now to try to unveil it. This was actually a care act presented by Nixon and acted upon by Romney. Now all of a sudden its a horrible thing? Healthcare is bad because they call it O'Bamacare and not GOPcare? I am not in favor of the mandate, but at least there was an effort made by Obama to supply healthcare to all Americans, while the GOP voted over 35 times to repeal healthcare to help the American people. Instead of just pointing the finger at the "Black Guy", how about introducing bills that actually help middleclass people and get rid of corporate tax subsidies, apply tariffs on imports, get rid of Citizens United and vote for term limits for starters. Democrats, Republicans and the unrealistic Tea Baggers are all to blame for there own self interest and wealth, rather than looking out for the good of the common American citizen.

  • Even if what you say is true about the Republicans and "tea baggers" (and it's true that the GOP failed miserably to solve the problems of those who are uninsured because of prior conditions), does that make the ACA any more workable? Is it possible that some of us oppose it and wish it gone, to be replaced by a workable alternative, simply because the ACA is a mess that no matter how much you tinker with it or perform major surgery on, it's still a disaster? Choose if you must to go down with this sinking ship if you must because your ideology requires it, but some of us believe that that's not the best alternative for the nation. What more evidence do you need of its abject failure than the fact that the president himself strongly believed that it would do something (keep your insurance, keep your doctor) that it clearly doesn't. (Here, I'm giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, that he wasn't outright lying, again and again, about what the ACA can do.)

    A footnote: I have never once said or thought I opposed Obamacare because of "that black guy" and it's a good indication of the paucity of your argument that you bring race into it.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I know that you never said "that black guy". Your party and personal news station "Fox so called biased news" have gone after Obama since day one. He's the best republican president you ever had. The wealthy are getting wealthier, stocks are at record highs, wages are still low, insurance companies still made a killing, and big corporations can still hide their money overseas. You get everything you need and you can point the finger at Obama. What a great position to be in for the republicans and the Tea baggers. Again you only blame Obama, but have no back up plan. Typical right wing tactic. The validity of your argument is off because you make it sound as Obama can just lay down laws at will. You never mention the do nothing house, the record filibustering senate. What about the meeting with Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Mitch Mc Connell, Newt Gingrich etc., to stop the president at every step back in 2009. All of that is forgotten. Its easier to just point the finger than to actually do something, like their job.

    The "black Guy" is actually from your Tea bagging friends in the south comment. its not about race, its about people. Your friends on the right tend to forget these kind of things.

  • In reply to Uwep2109:

    I have no "tea bagging" friends. I don't represent the Republican Party. I don't only blame Obama. I never said Obama can lay down laws at will. You've made a lot of assumptions about me, and if that gives you comfort, go for it.

    If the House is "do-nothing," so is the Senate: the House repeatedly passed a budget; the Senate, finally at last after years of ignoring its constitutional duties. How many bills has Reed refused to call? Speaking of do nothing, how long does it take for Obama to "study" the Keystone Pipeline?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    that's all you have, a worthless pipeline. We have a lot them already that are of no benefit to us. How about infrastructure. How about the Eisenhower era of thinking. What a great republican he was. The last of the greatest Presidents ever. I truly mean that. The pipeline will create only 10000 jobs to start and then keep only 1,000 people to maintain it. Hopefully with your way of thinking with minimum wage paid workers so that the greased congressman's friend can make a very nice profit with our subsidized money. A true red thought.

  • "Another worthless guarantee from President Obama..."?

    No - another silly, drunken, pointlessly pedestrian article by Dennis Byrne.

  • In reply to JackSteen:

    Very persuasive argument. Speaks more about you than it does about me.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I think you started it and asked for it by having an incendiary accusation to begin with (if not the title, which I don't think came from you, then the column itself). OK, so let's say they don't spend it at Costco and spend it at Walmart or Sam's instead. The fact is, they're spending it, and it's not a government subsidy. It's money coming from the corporation itself. So that money is going back into the economy. Virtually all of it from the working poor and lower middle class. Do the top 1% spend all of their income? Hell, no. Most of it stays with them.

  • The argument that Walmart has more employees, therefore it will have a greater impact on their bottom line (as opposed to Costco) is fallacious. Walmart is much larger, and has a much larger revenue, so it is simply unclear whether it would be impacted more by paying higher salaries.

    A better argument would mention that many Walmart stores are in areas of relatively low income, as compared to Costco. Cost of living in rural Arkansas is lower than in Lincoln Park.

    Nevertheless, it is surely true that if employees have a sufficiently low income, this will result in costs that ultimately will be paid by all of us--whether in bigger use of public assistance of some form, worse conditions for children to grow up, etc. So a living wage is not a liberal folly -- it is common sense.

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