It’s On: Obama Tells Congress to ‘Give America a Raise’ By Raising the Minimum Wage


At the State Of The Union President Obama announced his support for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10/hour by telling Congress to say yes and get on board with giving America a raise.

The president urged Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10/hour,

In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour – a decision that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.

Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages. To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board. Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here. Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. This will help families. It will give businesses customers with more money to spend. It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise.

The president fired the first salvo in what is going to be a year long political battle over the minimum wage. The president has long supported raising the minimum wage, and tonight he put Republicans on notice that Democrats are coming after them on the minimum wage.

Republicans continue to defend the opposition to the increase with the same old falsehoods that have been proven to be false.

On Fox News Sunday last week, Republican Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed that, “The minimum wage is mostly an entry level wage for young people. We have a crisis in employment among young people right now, and generation 18 to 30, people that got out of college, are finding there are no jobs for them. The last thing we want to do is have even fewer jobs for younger people. There’s no question that the minimum wage increase, if not done in conjunction with some kind of incentives for the businesses not to lay off employees are going to dramatically increase unemployment. I don’t think in this jobless recovery, we ought to be doing things that creates fewer jobs. We ought to be doing things that create more jobs.”

Absolutely none of what McConnell said was true, but this is the line of defense that Republicans are going to use to defend allowing companies like Walmart to continue to pay their employees starvation wages. A majority of Republicans support increasing the minimum wage. Democrats and Independents largely support increasing the minimum wage.

The Republicans who are opposing this are not only on the wrong side of public opinion, they are are ignoring the rising populism of a country where the majority of people have been screwed over by the Great Recession.

Republicans who obstruct raising the minimum wage are playing a dangerous game that could leave them unemployed after November’s election. The party of the one percent may be thrown out of power if they oppose raising the minimum wage.

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