Obama calls for raising minimum wage in State of the Union

Obama calls for raising minimum wage in State of the Union

Washington : DC : USA | Feb 12, 2013 at 10:34 PM PST
Views: Pending
State of the Union Address 2013

Poverty is not an issue that lawmakers have been eager to discuss in a political environment dominated by budget cuts and deficit reduction. However, in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama not only addressed the rising poverty rate, he offered a partial solution.

“Tonight," Obama said, "let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.”

Putting a little more money in the pockets of low-skilled workers will not end poverty in America, but it will help get some people off of government-funded food assistance and other programs for the working poor.

However, there was more behind the suggestion of raising the minimum wage. In asking Congress to raise the standards of the working poor, Obama sent a message to CEOs across America that corporations should not be enjoying record profits by paying people so little that the government has to help buy them food.

Obama added, “This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets.”

Obama’s call for raising the minimum wage was not as comprehensive as President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty as laid out in his 1964 State of the Union address. Yet it highlighted the fact that there are things government can do to improve living standards for the poor.

Conservatives have put the focus of America’s problems on the federal deficit, which exploded when the George W. Bush administration started two unfunded wars and gave away the Clinton-era surplus in the form of tax cuts, mostly for the wealthiest Americans. Combined with policies that propagated deregulation, a new attitude overtook the country. Making money was all that mattered.

Lost in the excesses of Wall Street that flourished in the 1980s was generation of workers whose shrinking wages created an ever-widening gap between America’s rich and poor.

Low-paying jobs are a symptom of a bigger problem in America. Raising the minimum wage would not be an issue if employers in the 21st century had not forgotten the business plan of automaker Henry Ford, who knew the best way to succeed was to pay his employees enough money to be able to buy the products they were making.

Workers making $9 an hour today are still earning less than middle-class wages. But a pay raise will ease some of the financial struggles of the working poor.

Sources and more info:

US government poverty guidelines

Full transcript of President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address

1 of 7
A snippet of Pres. Obama's State of the Union Address from last night.
itobin53 is based in Tampa, Florida, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
Report Credibility
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear

News Stories

  • Obama Pushes for Increase in Federal Minimum Wage

      The New York Times
    The proposal directly addresses the country's yawning levels of income inequality , which the White House has tried to reduce with targeted tax credits, a major expansion of health insurance, education and other proposals. But it is sure to be...
  • Obama Proposes $9.00 Minimum Wage

      New York Observer
    Step aside Governor Andrew Cuomo, President Barack Obama has one-upped your minimum wage proposal. In his State of the Union speech tonight, Mr. Obama unveiled a number of initiatives, including a new national minimum wage rate of $9.00 an hour,...
  • The impact of a $9 minimum wage

    ET Click on the map above to see the minimum wage in your state. After promising five years ago to raise the federal minimum wage, President Obama finally unveiled a plan to do so on Tuesday. In his State of the Union address, Obama pressed to raise...
  • 2013 State Of The Union Address: Obama Offers Ambitious Liberal Plan; ...

      International Business Times
    President Barack Obama begins his fifth State of the Union address Feb. 12, 2013. The White House had promised that the address would be a continuation of the president's Jan. 21 Inaugural Address and turned out to be just that. Obama outlined a...
  • Obama's State of the Union: Topic by topic

      Los Angeles Times
    President Obama  focused his  State of the Union  address on boosting the nation's slow-moving economic recovery, saying the first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. Obama unveiled some new initiatives, such as...
  • Cruz: Minimum Wage Hike Would Cost Jobs for Young People, Hispanics, ...

    Unemployment among young people will go up if the minimum wage goes up as President Obama says. Unemployment among Hispanics, among African Americans, among those struggling to get their first job to climb the economic ladder, will go up. Cruz said...



More From Allvoices

Related People

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report

Most Commented Reports

Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.