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Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Post-Work Economy -- By Mark Steyn, National Review

One consequence of the botched launch of Obamacare is that it has, judging from his plummeting numbers with “Millennials,” diminished Barack Obama’s cool. It’s not merely that the website isn’t state-of-the-art but that the art it’s flailing to be state of is that of the mid-20th-century social program. The emperor has hipster garb, but underneath he’s just another Commissar Squaresville. So, health care being an irredeemable downer for the foreseeable future, this week the president pivoted (as they say) to “economic inequality,” which will be, he assures us, his principal focus for the rest of his term. And what’s his big idea for this new priority? Stand well back: He wants to increase the minimum wage!

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos of Amazon (a non-government website) is musing about delivering his products to customers across the country (and the planet) within hours by using drones.

Drones! If there’s one thing Obama can do, it’s drones. He’s renowned across Yemen and Waziristan as the Domino’s of drones. If he’d thought to have your health-insurance-cancellation notices dropped by drone, Obamacare might have been a viable business model. Yet, even in Obama’s sole area of expertise and dominant market share, the private sector is already outpacing him.

Who has a greater grasp of the economic contours of the day after tomorrow — Bezos or Obama? My colleague Jonah Goldberg notes that the day before the president’s speech on “inequality,” Applebee’s announced that it was introducing computer “menu tablets” to its restaurants. Automated supermarket checkout, 3D printing, driverless vehicles . . . what has the “minimum wage” to do with any of that? To get your minimum wage increased, you first have to have a minimum-wage job.

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