by Whitney Pitcher
Last weekend, Governor Palin gave a measured and thoughtful speech at the Western Conservative Summit, speaking primarily in the tone of the “forgotten man”–“the hard working middle class man who can’t catch a break”. She also used a masterful analogy of the “calloused hand that built America”. What a stark contrast between an open hand calloused from hard work and the clenched fist of socialism. What a stark contrast, too, between Governor Palin’s speech that hit a tone that resonates with middle class America and the tonedeafness and lack of self-awareness of Washington.
Take, for example, the Left’s newest pivot to the economy–raising the minimum wage. On Thursday, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky tweeted her menu for the week of “living the wage”:
For the Congresswoman who wines and dines in D.C. and represents an area seen by some as one of Ivy Leagues of the Midwest (Northwestern University is in her district), that may seem like punishment to her palate, but to many of us that looks like a normal menu. The forgotten man eats such meals with thankfulness, not as a gimmick to raise the minimum wage because of the negative effects of liberalism on the American economy. President Obama also took to Twitter to push to “raise the wage” with these two tweets yesterday:
The price of food has indeed increased since President Obama took office, which is a testament to the destructive policies he supports. In fact, food prices in general have increased 13% since last September. This, in part, is due to a loose monetary policy supported by the president which has led to inflation. Sean Davis at The Federalist wrote a great article earlier this week taking to task even the “conservative” economists and pundits who support the actions of the Federal reserve. Davis writes in part:
Prices are rising, they’re rising faster than wages, and they’re rising for items that comprise a large chunk of the budgets of working American families. Those are facts. The question is what to do about those facts. The subtext to all of the inflation critiques from the likes of Perry, Pethokoukis, and Ponnuru is that we should leave the Federal Reserve alone. Stop blaming the Fed for inflation, you guys. Please ignore that QE, QE2, QE3, and a multi-year zero interest rate policy, etc. were all intentionally designed to increase inflation, you guys. Just ignore all the different goods for which prices are rising really rapidly, you guys. Ignore the fact that higher prices and middling wages are eroding standards of living, you guys.
Unfortunately, the constant Federal Reserve apologetics are seriously clouding these pundits’ collective judgment about an increasingly important political issue: whether America’s current political class has what it takes to make rising standards of living — rather than just rising prices — the norm for American families again. That is why families are so anxious today. They’re worried that the American dream is slipping away, and that only thing people in Washington and New York care about is protecting people in Washington and New York.
As you may recall, Governor Palin warned against quantitative easing in 2010 and predicted how inflation would have a negative impact on American families.
Furthermore, President Obama’s policies on ethanol have negatively affected farmers and all Americans, and not only because they cause an ecological mess. While ethanol subsidies may be a small boost for corn farmers, they have a negative ripple effect for other farmers. Corn is often used in animal feed, such as for chickens and dairy cows. Ethanol subsidies increase the cost of these animal feeds which in turn increases the cost of eggs and milk for American families.
President Obama’s solution for the problems that he has perpetuated are only indicative of the economic disasters of his administration. You cannot fix a poor economy by raising the minimum wage. You fix a poor economy by maximizing employment mobility and minimizing cronyism and destructive regulation. President Obama’s home state of Illinois has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, yet it consistently has one of the country’s highest unemployment rates and the poorest economic environments. Liberal policies keep people poor and dependent; free market principles help people become economically mobile and independent. As Governor Palin noted in her speech last week referencing a comment on her Facebook page:
I grew up poor. My mother was a die-hard FDR Democrat. When I turned eighteen the first president I voted for was Ronald Reagan. My mother was beside herself. When she asked me why I had voted for him, I told her I didn’t plan on staying poor.
The manicured hands of Washington craft out-of-touch, unproductive policies, but the calloused hands of the forgotten man are what make America exceptional and give her promise.