Politics & Policy

Democrats Should Live Up to Their Own Lectures

Senator Bernie Sanders rallies to raise the minimum wage. (Win McNamee/Getty)
They preach and regulate but violate the rules they want to impose on others.

Democrats’ relentless efforts to tell Americans what to do might be a few microns less annoying if they obeyed the rules and exhortations that they inflict on everyone else. Alas, hypocrisy has become a core Democratic principle.

Consider one pot that they pound loudly: raising the minimum wage.

“We owe it to workers across the country to make sure our minimum wage is set to a level that works for them and their families,” Senator Patty Murray (D., Wash.) insisted last month, as she introduced the Raise the Wage Act. It would boost the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 per hour by 2020 — a 66 percent hike. Added House co-sponsor Representative Bobby Scott (D., Va.): “We can’t build a strong economy on the backs of impoverished workers.” Thirty-two senators have co-sponsored this bill, as have 165 House members.

Amazingly, the Employment Policies Institute reports, 94 percent of these 197 Democrats pay their interns zero. Senator Murray pays her interns bupkis, as does Congressman Scott. According to EPI (minimumwage.com), such minimum-wage-hike cheerleaders as Senator Al Franken (D., Minn.), House Democratic chief Nancy Pelosi of California, and Democratic National Committee chairwoman Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida also pay their interns nothing.

But wait. House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland responds, “Interns will gain practical experience.” Senator Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) says her interns will develop “communication, problem solving, and time management skills.”

True. But interns could do this and make more than $0.00 per hour if their liberal bosses did not subject them to what Karl Marx denounced as “the alienation of labor.”

Of course, if private employers tried to offer interns real-life know-how, marketable skills, and, say, $5.00 per hour, they would be prosecuted.

The Gang of 197 should explain why it’s okay for them to pay interns $0.00 per hour, yet it’s a federal crime for others to pay them up to $7.24, even if these young people want to make some money, rather than none. Any private-sector payment would be less exploitive than the “wages” of these Democratic “defenders of the downtrodden.”

L.A.’s union bosses are two-faced enough to merit changing the Hollywood sign to read: HYPOCRISY.

Meanwhile, just days after pushing a $15-per-hour minimum wage through the Los Angeles City Council, union bosses are trying to sledgehammer an exit out of the new law. They want to exempt unionized companies from the higher wage!

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both,” the L.A. County Federation of Labor’s Rusty Hicks told the Los Angeles Times. “The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them.”

This, precisely, is management’s classic response to government price controls on the cost of labor. Rather than mandates, let employers and employees negotiate whatever compensation makes them both happy. In this sense, Hicks is indistinguishable from the alleged “heartless capitalists” whom he and his members excoriated just last week.

L.A.’s union bosses are two-faced enough to merit changing the Hollywood sign to read: HYPOCRISY.

For her part, Hillary Clinton banged a related skillet in South Carolina. “Too many women earn less than men on the job,” she said Wednesday. “When a woman is short-changed, the entire family is short-changed.”

Too bad Clinton short-changed her female staffers.

Although Clinton complains that “women who work full-time, year round, earn just 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes,” she paid her female Senate employees just 72 cents for every dollar their male colleagues saw. The Washington Free Beacon’s analysis of Clinton’s Senate expenditures demonstrated that her women earned median annual salaries of $40,791.55; all the senator’s men pocketed $56,499.93. Thus, Hillary Clinton’s $15,708.38 gender pay gap favored men over women.

“I don’t even know what to say right now,” one woman replied when a journalist gave her these facts. “I’m kind of shocked. That makes no sense. That makes no sense. Like, why? I’m stuck,” she told Caleb Bonham of the Centennial Institute and Campus Reform. “That makes her hypocritical, and that makes me less likely to vote for her. It’s like, why are you trying to fight for something, but you’re not doing it? That makes no sense.”

Obama also plays the equal-pay cowbell.

“Ensuring equal pay for women is a no-brainer,” Obama declared last month. He has failed this test.

“The average male White House employee currently earns about $88,600, while the average female White House employee earns about $78,400,” the Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb reported last July. “That is a gap of 13 percent.” Citing White House data, the Post added, “In 2009, male employees made an average of about $82,000, compared to an average of $72,700 earned by female employees — also a 13 percent wage gap.”

So, after five years of pay-gap chest-beating, Obama’s “change” equals zero. Literally.

Obama this month bellyached that “those who are doing better and better . . . are withdrawing from sort of the commons.” He further moaned: “Kids start going to private schools. Kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks.”

Just for sport, Obama should say things that are harder to knock down than hitting doves with a bazooka.

Obama is the product of Honolulu’s Punahou School, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School — all elite private campuses.

Obama’s kids entered Sidwell Friends, Washington’s poshest private school, early in his reign. Obama almost simultaneously defunded the D.C. voucher program, dashing educational hope for thousands of poor, mainly black children. Thankfully, House speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and then-senator Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) secured money to save this initiative.

As for those evil private clubs, Farm Neck, Reflection Bay, and Royal Hawaiian are just three privately owned clubs where Obama has golfed as president. Surely some kids work out at those places.

Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, should stop making fools of themselves and follow her advice: “Our credibility depends on practicing what we preach.”

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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