A catchphrase that has been reheated time and again is the "starving the beast" analogy. It's supposed to indicate cutting taxes to starve out the government and force spending cuts, thereby reducing the size of "the beast". The strategy has led to some major funding issues, from big deficits to severe spending cuts to certain programs. But government isn't the only beast in town, and I believe it's time we starting "starving" some of the others.
To put this notion in context, here's an article about another of Obama's supposed failings: the fact that the minimum wage has not gone up since the Bush administration. Part of the problem is that there's been no focus on the minimum wage. A raise hasn't been proposed at the federal level. For all intents and purposes, minimum wasge has been forgotten. But suppose it hadn't. Do you think it would pass Congress, when something like a wage increase would be labeled a "job-killer".
Taking politics out of it though, a higher minimum wage could be a strong boost to the economy. The best way to promote growth is to increase the buying power of consumers, and a higher minimum wage would do that. It may cost more for companies up front, but they'll make it up in sales. Also, as the article points out, higher wages could mean more investment, more people going for higher education, more saving, and more home purchasing. There's a lot of good that can come from this if we just go for it.
While Obama can be blamed for not taking the lead on this initiative, it would be nice if someone else in Congress had tried. But no one did, as far as I know. And who would? With this "do-nothing" attitude and the pro-business rhetoric that has gripped our government, I'd say the chances are good that it wouldn't have passed.
A higher minimum wage could help us starve this recession that we are still recovering from. It could starve the foreclosure epidemic, the housing crisis, the financial uncertainty, and the market volatility. It could starve the obscene profits of businesses who are hiring for less, and laying people off for profit. There are a lot of beasts out there. The government is hardly the worst of them. Something as simple as giving American workers more money for their work could make a huge difference.