We get a lot of feedback from our readers on the discussions we are having about major issues facing President Obama and a divided U.S. Congress.
Sometimes it’s hard to distill complex issues into simple “straight talk” and what it means to everyday women as well as average Americans who put food on the table, fill their cars with gasoline, and live real lives.
Take the rhetoric on the minimum wage last week, when President Obama unveiled his latest proposal. He said:
“The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party.They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together, and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.
We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, 19 states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.
Tonight, 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 $9.00 an hour. We should be able to get that done.”
Read the rest of the SOTU here at the White House site.
We know that the President is a brilliant orator who enjoys painting a visionary picture of a better America. But let’s take a look at what he said. On the one hand, the President acknowledges “placing the nation’s interests before party” and “forging reasonable compromise where we can.” On the other hand, he proposes to raise the minimum wage, an issue he knows is a hot button that divides businesses and workers.
The President says that increasing the minimum wage means more money in the pockets of customers and that it would reduce government dependency.
I’m for anything which reduces government dependency, but that statement alone made me wonder if this was the same President Obama who campaigned last year on a platform which in fact promoted far more over-reaching plans for government assistance in the form of “Obama phones” and Obamacare’s “free contraception” plan.
Here’s what Dan Danner at the National Federation of Independent Business said to small business owners across America about President Obama and the minimum wage:
In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama unveiled his latest proposal to influence free market outcomes: raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour.
For businesses across the country, he said, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. People currently on government assistance, he said, would probably need less help from government.
Sounds good, right? But here’s what the president left out – some economic facts that you know well:
• Employment opportunities for minimum wage workers actually shrink when the base wage is increased.
• Fewer minimum wage job opportunities create a barrier to entry into the workforce for many teenagers and those currently unemployed.
• The prices of goods and services will rise to cover the increased labor costs.
The president also called for indexing the minimum wage to the cost of living, but didn’t tell the rest of the story on that, either….
Honesty is a trait equated to great Presidents like Abraham Lincoln. He united our nation at a time when we most needed it, worked with the Congress, and did the right thing even if it wasn’t going to win him popularity points.
Mr. President, you’re no Abraham Lincoln.
In the face of sequester (which was your idea, Mr. President) and so many pressing economic issues, why pick this battle with Republicans in Congress and small businesses owners?
Is this the way to unite a divided nation and make our economy strong?
Judy B. Lloyd is the Executive Editor at Thoughtful Women.
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