President Barack Obama's crowing about gender-wage disparity this week was a shameless ploy to attract women voters, according to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office.
"The politics of this are obvious. Democrats want to turn out lots of women on their behalf in the mid-term election, but they really stepped in it this time," Holtz-Eakin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" Thursday on Newsmax TV.
But he said Obama's rant that women are paid less than men in the same jobs backfired when it was revealed that female White House workers are paid about 88 cents on the dollar compared to men who work there.
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"Interestingly, when the White House was confronted by the 88 cents, they started saying, 'Oh well, that's some entry level jobs, some higher level jobs," Holtz-Eakin said.
"In the end, you can't build politics out of whole cloth. There has to be some real problem underneath.
"And the difficulty here is that since the time of John Kennedy, it has been illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace, and anyone who has discrimination … has a remedy in the courts."
Holtz-Eakin said the nation has had a "terrible recovery'' economically — which must be blamed on the Obama administration.
"They have not pursued the kind of policy that would [have] you back to work, would give people a raise," he said.
"Instead, they pursue all sorts of redistribution that doesn't create new income."
Holtz-Eakin said there are two ways of running the United States.
The first allows everyone to have the same chance to acquire the skills to compete, acquire the financial capital to invest and save, and build a retirement income allowing people to finance their own retirement and healthcare costs.
The second is to be left with an entitlement program that has to "pick up the pieces for too many elderly and rely exclusively on the government" for retirement.
"I don't like the sound of the second one, which is where we are heading unless we fix things. I want to take care of the possibility of the first one," he said.
"Let's get ahead of this problem and let people take care of themselves the way traditionally Americans have."
Holtz-Eakin said the difference between being poor and being financially secure in the United States boils down to steady employment.
"[It's] getting into a job and staying in a job. The minimum wage makes that harder. It gets in the way of 500,000 to a million people getting a job. That's not solving poverty for anyone," he said.
"Let's use something that has worked. The earned income tax credit has been very successful. Maybe [we should] target it on a group — in particular, young single men that are pretty much left out.
"If we want to do something, do something that will get people into work, and then get them past relying on the government assistance into a full-time career," Holtz-Eakin said.
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