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President Obama Signs Order To Expand Overtime Pay

The president has signed an executive order instructing the Department of Labor to update and expand overtime regulations to cover more employees.

This is a very good and welcome development. From his speech:

Unfortunately, today, millions of Americans aren’t getting the extra pay they deserve. That’s because an exception that was originally meant for high-paid, white-collar employees now covers workers earning as little as $23,660 a year. So if you’re making $23,000, typically, you’re not high in management. If your salary is even a dollar above the current threshold, you may not be guaranteed overtime. It doesn't matter if what you do is mostly physical work like stocking shelves, it doesn't matter if you’re working 50 or 60 or 70 hours a week -- your employer doesn't have to pay you a single extra dime.

And I think that’s wrong. It doesn’t make sense that in some cases this rule actually makes it possible for salaried workers to be paid less than the minimum wage. It’s not right when business owners who treat their employees fairly can be undercut by competitors who aren’t treating their employees right. If you’re working hard, you’re barely making ends meet, you should be paid overtime. Period. Because working Americans have struggled through stagnant wages for too long.

And with that, heads exploded. The Hill's headline was hilarious. Business is shocked -- SHOCKED -- that workers might be earning just a little bit more than they did before for all those extra hours. And boy, are they shaking their fists that they weren't consulted ahead of time.

Trade associations already battling the White House over a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour said they were blindsided by the announcement.

“This came as a shot out of the blue,” said David French, the National Retail Federation’s senior vice president for government relations. “Just on the surface, this looks like an enormous new administrative burden.”

Perish the thought that the rank and file might be paid something closer to fair wages. Where is all that shock over the Wall Street bankers' bonuses?

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