Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Minimum wage hike set to devastate healthcare industry in New York

The unintended consequences of government meddling are nowhere more apparent than the minimum wage. Minimum wage increases have historically led to unemployment and even helped trigger recessions. It’s basic economics, really. When the government makes an employer pay its employees more without any new income something has to give.

Fast food restaurants are already introducing pay stations where customers place their orders and wait for their food, thus eliminating cashiers. Assembling burgers costs an estimated $9 billion a year in labor costs according to Momentum Machines. They have a solution to the rising cost of burger-flippers. It’s a burger-making machine that can churn out 400 burgers per hour. Not only does it almost totally eliminate the labor involved in burger cooking and assembly, it takes up far less space. So imagine the burger joint of the future where you place your order electronically and only two people are needed in the restaurant. One to continually feed the machine and one to bring your order to the counter.

I bet this ain’t what those malcontents with the signs demanding $15 per hour had in mind.

Now the hospital industry in New York is raising a red flag to a proposed mandatory $15-per-hour minimum wage. They say it will have a devastating effect on their industry, adding an estimated $570 million to their costs. At the very least, businesses will either have to increase prices, hire fewer workers, or even fire some existing workers. Some businesses could close their doors altogether.

This is something proponents of mandatory minimum wages fail to take into consideration. You think healthcare costs are high now, wait until the minimum wage is doubled. These proponents of government meddling say that no one can live on the minimum wage. No one was ever intended to. The minimum wage was designed to be just that, a bare minimum wage for the least-skilled labor. Think teenagers in their first jobs. They have little or no skills to offer. It’s how most of us started in the work world.

They also claim the minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation. The truth is it’s the other way around. The minimum wage started out in 1938 at 25 cents per hour. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage today should be $4.20 per hour. Instead, it’s $7.25. There is no argument whatsoever for raising the minimum wage. In fact, what companies pay their employees is none of the government’s business.

Eliminating the minimum wage horrifies many. They believe people would be destitute without it, yet only a relative few actually earn it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 4 percent of hourly employees are paid the minimum wage. Furthermore, 58.7 of all workers are paid by the hour, so that 4 percent is 4 percent of less than 60 percent of the workers. In other words, hardly anyone makes the minimum wage.

What happens when the government mandates employers double it? Not only do you have to raise the minimum wage but every other hourly wage to boot. If you’re making $15 an hour now, you’re going to be hopping mad if you’re paid the same as entry-level employees so your pay will have to increase. You’ll bump up against the guy or gal making $20 per hour and on up the chain it goes.

Now you see why force-feeding a minimum wage increase on American companies is a bad idea, especially one that doubles the minimum wage. Instead, we need to encourage workers to develop the skills where they’ll never make minimum wage.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

13 Hours, but will people care?

I went to see 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi on opening weekend. Doing what I do for a living, I knew the story. Or, at least, I thought I knew. The media reports have not come close to capturing the true story and that’s the biggest revelation from this movie. Normally, I let politics roll off my back, but I left this movie literally shaking mad.

This is the true story of what happened on September 11, 2012 as told by the guys who were there. The movie never mentions Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. It doesn’t have to. These people were abandoned by their own country and it’s crystal clear who abandoned them.

What’s even more infuriating is Obama and Clinton were sitting in their cushy chairs watching the whole thing unfold via a drone circling overhead. Despite seeing everything they were seeing, no one lifted a finger to help them.


That becomes the central question in the viewer’s mind of 13 Hours. Why were jets not scrambled? Why were assault teams not sent in? Why? We’re left to fill in the blanks because this administration has never been forthcoming as to why.

One can only imagine that it was close to the president’s re-election bid and a full-scale, planned out attack on an American installation would mean failure on so many levels. Ambassador Chris Stevens knew there were threats and had asked for additional security from Hillary Clinton. She didn’t send it. When the attack began, the CIA annex was in contact with Stevens and an aid. They were hold up in a safe room but the attackers were closing in. They pleaded for help, but the CIA station chief refused to get involved.

Enter Tyrone Woods and his CIA contractors. They stood by until they could take it no longer, and set out the mile across Benghazi to the consulate to rescue the Ambassador and others trapped inside. The hesitation from the CIA chief, on orders ostensibly from Washington, meant the rescue was too late. Stevens and information management officer Sean Smith were already dead.

The team returned to the CIA annex where their compound came under at least two heavy attacks. During the night Tyrone Woods and another CIA contractor, Glen Doherty, were killed. This despite repeated pleas to Washington from CIA personnel for help. Again, as those back in Washington watched it all unfold in real time.

There was a cover-up for sure, but it was so much worse than that. Americans could have been saved and they were literally left to die by the Obama administration. There were so many resources that could’ve been sent to their aid. U.S. Special Ops soldiers were not allowed to come to the rescue. Even a flyover by F-16s to at least scare the attackers was nixed. Gen. Martin Dempsey later said it would take F-16s in Italy 20 hours to reach Benghazi, yet they were less than an hour’s flight away.

It was 13 hours of brutal attacks, of undying bravery, of unspeakable betrayal. To add insult to injury, Hillary and Obama conspired to spread a lie that the attack was a spontaneous escalation of a protest over an anti-Muslim video that sparked protests in Cairo. We now know that to be a complete fabrication, one that was repeated by administration officials for weeks although they knew from the beginning it was never true.

One overriding question gnawed at me as I left that theater. How on earth are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton not in jail?

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Is Ted Cruz eligible?

Is Ted Cruz eligible to be president? Ted Cruz and many pundits in the media scoff at such a question but it’s one that needs to be settled and it needs to be settled quickly. Long before Ted Cruz ever announced his candidacy for president, I said if the courts clear him for takeoff I just might be on that plane.

As far as I’m concerned, we’re still waiting for instructions from the tower.

Now it’s the eleventh hour and Trump has masterfully weaved the issue into the campaign under the guise of helping Cruz solve his “problem.” That’s apparently spooked enough people in Iowa to where Trump has retaken the lead. I certainly don’t blame Trump for talking and tweeting about it. Despite what some have called an issue “for the kooks,” it’s a question of monumental importance. The American people want to know if someone they’re voting for is actually legally eligible to be president.

Let’s review Cruz’s “problem.”

He was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. It’s also possible that his father, at the time of his birth, was actually Canadian. Some claim his dad became a Canadian citizen around 1970. Dad would later renounce his Canadian citizenship and become an American citizen in 2005.

Cruz came to America with his parents in 1974 at the age of 3. There’s no evidence that his parents filed a CRBA. That’s a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. It’s customarily filed by American parents who have children in foreign countries but intend for those children to be regarded as American citizens. In other words, if I were on some radio assignment in France and my wife had a child while we were there, we would file a CRBA to make certain everyone understood our child was an American citizen. We don’t know that wasn’t filed because Cruz has denied requests to unseal official documents regarding the issue. Suspicious, to say the least.

Some like to compare the Cruz issue to Obama. Without opening that whole can of worms, there was never any question in my mind that Obama was born in Hawaii. That birth certificate he finally released was obviously bogus, but I believe it was bogus for reasons other than his place of birth. It may have the race of the child listed as caucasian since his mother was white. Who knows? If Obama was actually born in Kenya, as some have argued, isn’t he just as much a citizen as Ted Cruz?

That’s a good question and one that should have been decided by a court long before now. What if Cruz gets the nomination? You think the Clintons aren’t going to go after him on the eligibility question? Remember, the Clintons are the original birthers.

Each candidate Cruz faces has this issue in their back pocket. It’s just a matter of when they want to pull it out and cast doubt in the minds of the voters. You can argue that it was the Washington Post that brought the question up to Trump, but you know Trump’s no idiot. He could’ve deflected the question by simply saying he’s not a lawyer and can’t answer it. In fact, he told ABC News in September, “I hear it was checked out by every attorney and every which way and I understand Ted is in fine shape.” Now it’s a “big problem.” This time, when asked about it by the Post, Trump took to Twitter to offer “advice” to Cruz on how to settle the issue once and for all. And settle it he must.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Obama has the right idea, just the wrong approach

In typical fashion, President Obama has decided what he can’t get from Congress he’ll do on his own. He often brags about working with Congress, but his definition is different from mine. Working with Congress means sitting down and negotiating details of a particular issue until both sides feel comfortable enough to support it. What it doesn’t mean is insisting on your point of view then walking away in a huff when you don’t get it.

Obama’s executive order on guns is just the latest example of a spoiled president who doesn’t get his way then thinks he has the power to make it happen with a pen. If Congress doesn’t pass a law it doesn’t become a law. Executive orders are not legally binding laws. Anyone with even cursory knowledge of the Constitution knows this. 

Personally, I don’t think what the president is proposing is unreasonable. Basically, he wants to require anyone selling more than 50 guns a year at a gun show to obtain a federal license and perform background checks. Most people who buy guns and gun shows already go through a background check because most people are purchasing those guns from licensed gun shops. As it stands, individuals buying weapons from other individuals at a gun show are not subject to background checks. Some call this the gun show loophole. Some Second Amendment advocates say there is no loophole. Let’s be clear. There is.

You’ll not find a more ardent supporter of your right to keep and bear arms than me. I’ve owned guns my entire adult life. I have a carry permit and I carry. However, I also have common sense. It makes no sense that some people can come into a gun show and leave with a gun without going through a background check while others cannot. Here’s what’s going to happen. Someone is going to purchase their gun at a gun show then go out and kill a bunch of folks and the left is going to scream that the gun shows should be shut down because they’re a public menace.

Why on earth would we give them that argument? Obama’s not asking anything of a gun buyer that they’re not already subject to in any gun shop in America. The problem is in the way he’s going about it. This is not a unilateral call by one person. It’s something that should be debated before Congress and voted on. Just because it doesn’t go Obama’s way doesn’t mean he has the right to make it happen with an executive order. Quite the contrary. The fact that Congress has rejected this idea is evidence that he doesn’t have the right to do it on his own.

I happen to believe that closing the gun show loophole and requiring everyone purchasing a gun to go through a background check is a good idea, but I don’t have the power to override Congress either. The question is when is somebody going to stop Obama from doing it?

But closing the gun show loophole is not going to stop the mass killings, which is ostensibly why he’s doing it. Background checks at gun shows have nothing to do with solving the problem.

I’ve laid out the solution in The Conservative’s Handbook, the second edition of which is out this week. We have to have designated defenders in schools, and we have to stop creating soft targets for crazy people. Mass killers choose locations where they know no one will shoot back. One thing has become perfectly clear in all this. We have to start shooting back.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.