Fox Doesn't Know What Obama's Move to Expand Overtime Will Do But Attacks Anyway
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Fox News reflexively attacked President Obama's forthcoming proposal to raise the salary threshold for overtime compensation, claiming the plan would hurt the economy and discourage hiring, though experts have previously promoted such a change as an opportunity to boost the economy and worker compensation.
President Obama Proposes To Increase Salary Threshold For Overtime Pay
NY Times: Obama Admin Will Direct Labor Department To Reevaluate Overtime Pay Regulations. On March 12, The New York Times reported that President Obama will use his executive authority to direct the Labor Department to change standards in order to increase the number of salaried workers who qualify for overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act:
Under the new rules that Mr. Obama is seeking, fewer salaried employees could be blocked from receiving overtime, a move that would potentially shift billions of dollars' worth of corporate income into the pockets of workers. Currently, employers are prohibited from denying time-and-a-half overtime pay to any salaried worker who makes less than $455 per week. Mr. Obama's directive would significantly increase that salary level.
In addition, Mr. Obama will try to change rules that allow employers to define which workers are exempt from receiving overtime based on the kind of work they perform. Under current rules, if an employer declares that an employee's primary responsibility is executive, such as overseeing a cleanup crew, then that worker can be exempted from overtime. [The New York Times, 3/12/14]
Fox Attacks Move As "Unprecedented," Predicts Hiring Decrease
Fox: Changing Requirements Is "Unprecedented" And Will Hurt Job Growth. On the March 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that the proposed change is "unprecedented," and an effort by Obama to "buy votes." Varney went on to claim that the new regulations would hurt business, wages, and hiring:
VARNEY: I would say this is unprecedented. For the first time in a major way the president of the United States, the government, is by command saying, "hey all you salaried people, you're going to get paid more. Now, we've never done that before, to my knowledge. Maybe we've done it in very limited areas with salaried people. But this is unprecedented. It breaks really new ground. You're raising the cost of hiring to all businesses and you're changing the way we set wages and salaries. We're now saying the government will command this.
HASSELBECK: But to voters, you know, financially this may not be wise, right? In terms of where the money comes from. Politically, this probably the smartest thing that could happen, am I wrong?
VARNEY: He's buying votes. This is buying votes. Businesses will have to pay for this.
KILMEADE: But what the president doesn't seem to understand is there is a reaction to everything. Now the reaction of business to these new rules will be they're in the profit making business, so what is that going to mean for hiring? What is it going to mean for employees and the number of hours they work?
VARNEY: It's going to depress hiring. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/12/14]
Fox's Martha MacCallum: Expanding Overtime Eligibility Is "Forced Income Redistribution." On the March 12 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, Fox host Martha MacCallum railed against expanding overtime compensation, saying it would change workers' mentality and calling the proposal "forced income redistribution":
MACCALLUM: What the administration is grasping for here, to counteract the rebellion in many part against Obamacare is the minimum wage and increasing overtime pay, right? So they're going to the other side of the spectrum, exactly the opposite of what we're talking about here which is to continue to sort of - you know, give people, it's income redistribution essentially, I mean that's what that is.