- - Monday, May 22, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“Do As I Say (Not As I Do)” carries the strength of religious doctrine in Washington, where the U.S. government and all its minions are dedicated to instructing everyone in flyover country in how to live their lives — or else. Someone could write a book. In fact, Peter Schweizer has. His book became a bestseller and even a movie.

He cites as a typical example how Hillary Clinton, as the first lady, supported the right of 13-year-old girls to have abortions without parental consent, but forbade her daughter Chelsea even to have her ears pierced back in Little Rock, just before the Clintons moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In another example, which must wait for a later edition of Mr. Schweizer’s book, Mrs. Clinton put a plank in her party platform last year promising to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Nice work if you can get it, but if you worked for the Democratic National Committee last year, good luck getting it. Field workers for the party have sued the national committee and several state parties seeking the overtime pay they didn’t get working workweeks of 80 to 90 hours.

“These workers were out there in a campaign that was promising $15-an-hour minimum wage, and expanding the overtime rights of workers,” Justin Swidler, the Cherry Hill, N.J., lawyer for the plaintiffs, told CBS News. “They got paid a flat salary of $3,000 a month, which isn’t even minimum wage for some of the hours that they were working.”

The party proclaimed that it believed “that Americans should earn at least $15 an hour and [we] will work in every way we can — in Congress and the federal government, in states and with the private sector — to reach this goal.”

The party platform further promised to “defend President Obama’s overtime rule, which protects millions of workers by paying them fairly for their hard work.” One Obama-era Labor Department rule, since invalidated by a federal judge, would have raised the threshold for salaries requiring overtime pay. There were no asterisks exempting the grunts who stuffed envelopes and knocked on doors on Hillary’s behalf.

There was no shortage of campaign cash to pay fair wages. The convention host committee in Philadelphia, site of the convention that nominated Hillary, awarded a bonus of more than $300,000 to the executive director of the convention, a $750,000 gift to the Philadelphia school district and at least $80,000 to various nonprofits and charities.

Edward Rendell, the former governor who chaired the host committee, observed, a bit churlishly, that his committee wasn’t named as a defendant, after all, and besides, none of the plaintiffs worked for the host committee. (Move along, nothing to see here.)

Neither Mr. Swidler nor his clients were satisfied with that. They believed in the Democratic platform and ideals. “I think everyone’s reaction is the same,” he said. “It’s obscene.” The national committee wants the lawsuit dismissed because of the technicality cited by Mr. Rendell, none of the plaintiffs were employed by the committee. “One of the arguments that the Democrats are making is that they just don’t have the money to pay overtime to their workers,” Mr. Swidler says.

A lot of business owners strangled by minimum wage and overtime rules would like to try that answer, but they know better. The party’s message was loud and clear enough. “Do As I Say (Not As I Do).”

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