Last night President Obama spoke out in support of raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour and indexing it to inflation.
I'll provide the full text below, but anyone who read my diaries last month knows that I wholeheartedly support the President on this; moreover, I advocated for this position even when some were shushing that we had to embrace compromise because that was the best we could do.
And there's a lesson here that I'd like to keep short and simple.
Stand up for what you believe.
Now is not the time to triangulate, or try to "protect" our elected officials.
Now is the time to speak up, speak our minds, and build the America we know is possible.
Only when we lead from the bottom do we create the conditions whereby elected officials can take action from the top.
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’ve 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, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.That was sweet music to me. (I'll confess I cheered.)
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. 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. In fact, working folks shouldn’t have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here’s an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.
-President Barack Obama, Feb. 12, 2013
But it will be even sweeter when we work together to make this so...by passing it into law.
The laws we need to build a more just and sustainable society won't happen from the top down unless and until we demand justice from the bottom up.