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Thursday, October 27, 2016

By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Republicans are “not necessarily cold-hearted” in their economic policies but spent much of his speech Wednesday to college students lampooning them for opposing his views.

The new House Republican budget plan is a replay of 2012 campaign themes, he said, “like that movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ except it’s not funny.”

If Republican policies were a sandwich, Obama went on, it’d be the “meanwich.” He later compared opponents to raising the federal minimum wage to people who yell at kids, “Get off my lawn!”

“They’re not necessarily cold-hearted,” Obama said, “they just sincerely believe that if we give more tax breaks to a fortunate few and we invest less in the middle class … then somehow the economy will boom, and jobs and prosperity will trickle down to everybody.”

The edgy speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor showed Obama in campaign mode, focused on 2014 congressional elections and on keeping the Senate in Democratic hands. The retirement of Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., this year offers Republicans an opportunity to pick up a Democratic seat.

A day after announcing that more than 7.1 million people had signed up for health care during the first enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, Obama was out to publicize that victory. He gleefully referred to his health care reform plan as “Obamacare,” the term coined by Republican opponents.

But the White House is mindful that many voters are still suspicious of Obamacare, and so the references to it were minimal and framed as part of a bigger Democratic plan for the economy. Rolling out his campaign-focused speech Wednesday, Obama pressed harder on the idea of raising the minimum wage, which is favored by three of four Americans.

Republicans were prepared with their response. They point to analysis by economists who say the president’s plan to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 would kill jobs.

“The president’s plan would increase costs for consumers and eliminate jobs for those who need them most,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. The House will keep working on its own plan to “protect workers’ hours and create jobs, not the president’s plan to destroy them,” he said.

AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm

  • charles king

    I have been around four generations and some this President Obama is the only one Who? has been on the side Of, By and For the People. Why? are You the People so hypocrical of the man. ObamaCare Works, FDR’s Social Security WORKS, Medicare Works Food-Stamps Work for the people, the President is trying to keep the middle class alive. Wake-Up People cause MONIES are trying to make us a Nation of beggars instead of a Nation of Doiers. Plutocracts has taken the People’s Assets and privatize them such as Plubic Parks, Senior citizen’s Activity centers, public Arena’s and other things that the public tax dollars paid for and call theirselves Management companies. The VOTE is still Supreme so put those people out of office. Thank You are the magic words in my book . I Love Ya All. Mr. C E. KING

  • Independent1

    From the article:

    “Republicans were prepared with their response. They point to analysis by economists who say the president’s plan to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 would kill jobs.”

    It seems that Republicans cannot address a political issue without either distorting the facts or downright lying. It is not economists who are saying that increasing the minimum wage will kill jobs; it was the CBO that made this prediction.

    Economists are actually downplaying the CBO’s predictions; and it’s not a few economists anymore, it’s grown to more than 600 of them. Not only do these 600 plus economists dispute the CBO’s projections on killing jobs, they project raising the min wage could spur the economy by 22 billion and create at least 85,000 jobs. Facts which totally dispute the absolute lies and distortions being spewed by Republicans in Congress.

    See this from the Huffington Post:

    It’s about time to raise the minimum wage, at least according to 600 economists.

    The group, which includes seven Nobel laureates, attached their name to a letter released earlier this month by the Economic Policy Institute urging lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. In the two weeks since the left-leaning think tank first published the letter, the list of signatories has grown from 75 to more than 600 of them.

    Whether a minimum wage increase helps or hurts low-wage workers is one of the most hotly debated topics in economic research. The EPI letter, which requires one has a Ph.D. in economics in order to sign, aims to put that debate to rest. It states that the “weight of evidence” shows that “increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.”

    A minimum wage hike could also stimulate economic growth, the letter states, by putting more money in the pockets of those most likely to spend it immediately — low-wage workers. A December EPI analysis found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would boost the U.S. economy by $22 billion during the initial phase-in period, creating 85,000 jobs.

  • docb

    It is good that the President is calling them out in real time!..No more gop baggers sliding their lies and distortions thru the press for months..Slap them down daily!

  • coffeeHouse1982

    Hussein Obama is a delusional marxist.