Obama’s Overtime Decree


Virtually every domestic policy enacted by Obama has had the effect of maintaining or exacerbating high unemployment. A coming decree regarding overtime will be no exception:

On Thursday Mr. Obama is expected to order the Department of Labor to make millions of salaried workers eligible for overtime pay. New categories of white-collar employees will likely become eligible for time-and-a-half pay once they exceed 40 hours of work per week.

Conveniently, this can be imposed by fiat:

Unlike the President’s stalled legislative proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from $7.25, new overtime rules can be enacted administratively.

No doubt the move will help mitigate Obama’s plummeting poll numbers in the short term. Fools will be delighted that Santa Claus has just commanded their employers to give them a raise.

Yet the malignant effects of such a decree should be obvious to a child. When businesses are compelled to pay more for labor, they will employ less labor. Unemployment will be jacked up even higher, driving former workers into the arms of Obama’s welfare state.

Other effects will be more insidious.

The rules will particularly harm workers who want to climb the economic ladder by going the extra mile for their employers and demonstrating why they deserve promotion. …

The rules also discourage a model that has created the world’s most productive companies. The Silicon Valley way is to encourage all employees to think like owners. It works. In contrast, the new Obama plan will encourage more workers to think like unionized hourly wage-earners. Ask the people of Detroit how well that model works.

This isn’t just about pandering to idiot voters who prefer eating candy now to having dinner later. It is about the fundamental transformation of America from a country that has inspired pride largely because of our ambitiousness and industry to a nation of slackers, timecard punchers, and welfare moochers.

Obama often tells us that the enemy is income inequality. This will help fight it, all right. By effectively limiting overtime, he is limiting ambition. Only in a world of drones where no one tries harder than anyone else can you have income equality.

The most horrifying aspect of this story is that one man – a left-wing community organizer who doesn’t know anything about business except that he disapproves of it – is in a position to unilaterally intercede in the relationship between employers and employees to such an intrusive extreme. The free market, consisting of countless voluntary interactions, determines labor rates in a free country. In our country, labor rates are determined at the whim of one guy for political/ideological reasons. Forget Detroit; ask the people of the Soviet Union how well that model works.

But I’m forgetting: there is no such place as the Soviet Union anymore – just as there will be no such place as the USA for very long if we do not reinstitute the limited government that made this country what it has been.

On a tip from Varla. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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