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But in order to make a difference for every American, Congress needs to do something. And America knows it. Right now, there’s a bill that would boost America’s minimum wage to ten dollars and ten cents an hour. That would lift wages for nearly 28 million Americans across the country.  28 million. And we’re not just talking about young people on their first job. The average minimum wage worker is 35 years old. They work hard, often in physically demanding jobs.
Yep, President Obama is back pushing for a federal minimum wage hike in this morning's weekly address, a topic he's hit repeatedly in the past few months. Focusing in particular on small business owners—a pizza chain owner in Minneapolis he highlighted in his State of the Union address, an owner of a New York City restaurant who took the plunge and raised wages to $10—he made the case that it's not only the humanitarian thing to do, it makes good business sense. Quoting the New York City source:
Yasmin wrote, “It will allow us to attract and retain better talent – improving customer experience, reducing employee churn and training costs.  We believe doing so makes good business sense while at the same time having a positive impact on the community.”
Workers who make more money, spend more money. And that lifts everyone's boat.  

"And while not all of us always see eye to eye politically," the president said, "one thing we overwhelmingly agree on is that nobody who works full-time should ever have to live in poverty." But Republicans are the problem here, he told listeners.

... we know that our economy works best when it works for all of us – not just a fortunate few. We believe we do better when everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That’s what opportunity is all about.

And if you agree with us, we could use your help.  Republicans have voted more than 50 times to undermine or repeal health care for millions of Americans. They should vote at least once to raise the minimum wage for millions of working families. If a Republican in Congress represents you, tell him or her it’s time to give the politics a rest for a while and do something to help working Americans.  It’s time for “ten-ten.”  It’s time to give America a raise.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
April 26, 2014

Hi, everybody. In my State of the Union Address, I talked about pizza. More specifically, I talked about a pizza chain in Minneapolis – Punch Pizza – whose owner, John Soranno, made the business decision to give his employees a raise to ten bucks an hour.

A couple weeks ago, I got a letter from a small business owner who watched that night. Yasmin Ibrahim is an immigrant who owns her own restaurant – Desi Shack – and plans to open another this summer.

Here’s what she wrote. “I was moved by John Soranno’s story. It got me thinking about my … full-time employees and their ability to survive on $8 an hour in New York City.” So a few weeks ago, Yasmin put in place a plan to lift wages for her employees at both her restaurants to at least $10 an hour by the end of this year.

But here’s the thing – Yasmin isn’t just raising her employees’ wages because it’s the right thing to do. She’s doing it for the same reason John Soranno did. It makes good business sense.

Yasmin wrote, “It will allow us to attract and retain better talent – improving customer experience, reducing employee churn and training costs.  We believe doing so makes good business sense while at the same time having a positive impact on the community.”

Yasmin's right. That’s why, two months ago, I issued an Executive Order requiring workers on new federal contracts to be paid a fair wage of at least ten dollars and ten cents an hour.

But in order to make a difference for every American, Congress needs to do something. And America knows it. Right now, there’s a bill that would boost America’s minimum wage to ten dollars and ten cents an hour. That would lift wages for nearly 28 million Americans across the country.  28 million. And we’re not just talking about young people on their first job. The average minimum wage worker is 35 years old. They work hard, often in physically demanding jobs.

And while not all of us always see eye to eye politically, one thing we overwhelmingly agree on is that nobody who works full-time should ever have to live in poverty. That’s why nearly three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage. The problem is, Republicans in Congress don’t support raising the minimum wage.  Some even want to get rid of it entirely.  In Oklahoma, for example, the Republican governor just signed a law prohibiting cities from establishing their own minimum wage.

That’s why this fight is so important. That’s why people like John and Yasmin are giving their workers a raise. That’s why several states, counties, and cities are going around Congress to raise their workers’ wages. That’s why I’ll keep up this fight. Because we know that our economy works best when it works for all of us – not just a fortunate few. We believe we do better when everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That’s what opportunity is all about.

And if you agree with us, we could use your help.  Republicans have voted more than 50 times to undermine or repeal health care for millions of Americans. They should vote at least once to raise the minimum wage for millions of working families. If a Republican in Congress represents you, tell him or her it’s time to give the politics a rest for a while and do something to help working Americans.  It’s time for “ten-ten.”  It’s time to give America a raise.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Re (4+ / 0-)
    But here’s the thing – Yasmin isn’t just raising her employees’ wages because it’s the right thing to do. She’s doing it for the same reason John Soranno did. It makes good business sense.

    Yasmin wrote, “It will allow us to attract and retain better talent – improving customer experience, reducing employee churn and training costs.  We believe doing so makes good business sense while at the same time having a positive impact on the community.”

    Not for nothing, but these reasons are excellent reasons for an individual business owner to raise wages. It makes the business competitive and more attractive to good employees and allows the business owner to cherry-pick the employees they want.

    But they are not good reasons to raise the global minimum wage. It's not like we are going to experience society-wide improvements in worker quality, reduction in training costs, etc.

    In fact, Yasmin's business is likely to be negatively impacted by a minimum wage increase by making her wages uncompetitive with other businesses, so now she'll get the same workers everyone else does, and the same rates of quitting/retraining, not better ones. She would need to increase her wages even higher, and maybe she can't afford that.

    There may well be reasons to raise the legal minimum wage, but I don't think this one is one of them.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:11:08 AM PDT

    •  So long as the minimum wage stays flat-lined, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mjd in florida, cocinero

      so too will the wages of what once was the middle-class remain flatlined.

      I can't think of a better reason.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:38:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with your reasoning. (0+ / 0-)

      And I also don't mean to sound belligerent to you in particular (since you don't seem to actually be opposed to a minimum wage increase) - but we aren't fighting for a higher minimum wage to make business owners happy.  We are doing it to help workers get back a tiny bit more of the product of their labour from their boss.

      •  I understand perfectly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexDrew

        I'm just a curmudgeon who points out bad logic where I see it.

        I am personally agnostic to minimum wage increases. I think that the real purchasing power of minimum wage workers is set by the market and the government is probably powerless to do much about it. Raise minimum wage to $10 or $20 or $50 and some concurrent piece of inflation just wipes it out anyway, or automation will eliminate a lot of the jobs increasing unemployment, or some similar mechanism.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:49:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see you USING sloppy logic (0+ / 0-)

          Much different than "pointing it out".

        •  The relationship between the minimum wage and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, Choco8

          inflation is not that straightforward.  The amount of inflation would be very unlikely to match the increase in the minimum wage.  This is partially because not everyone will receive a wage increase proportional to the minimum wage hike.  It is also partially because of price elasticity.  Many businesses would take the modest hit to their profits rather than hike prices to match the full extent of the wage increases because they still have to compete - and deal with consumers who are not willing to accept a sudden price hike.  

          If the economy was dominated by a single monopoly (that controlled literally everything) then they would have much more freedom to hike prices, but we aren't quite there yet lol.  Corporations have tons of power of course, but they are not so powerful that they can negate the effects of every policy change.

    •  Good God (5+ / 0-)
      It's not like we are going to experience society-wide improvements in worker quality, reduction in training costs, etc.
      That's OK by me. Corporate profits were recently at an all time high, and amazingly - it's linked to LOW WAGES - maybe it's time to share that with the workers?
      There may well be reasons to raise the legal minimum wage
      But obviously you can't think of a single one. Here's a few reasons:

      Why are US corporate profits so high? Because wages are so low

      •  Like I said earlier (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexDrew

        I am agnostic to minimum wage increases. I just point out bad arguments (for Repubs or Dems) where I see them.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:51:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wish the President would use the word "Poverty" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Choco8, rocksout, hbk, freakofsociety

    more often. I live in an ocean of good people who happen to be poor as church mice (myself included). Please stop using the term "middle class." There isn't a middle class any longer.

    Odd how those with so little, help others the most.

    Many times I’ve returned. Never was I the same in any of my guises. I feel inside, my times before, with no memories of each journey. My soul’s shadows haunt all the paths it has traveled.

    by Wendys Wink on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:26:10 AM PDT

    •  I doubt many people that have fallen into poverty (0+ / 0-)

      want to be defined that way in the books.  Think about it.  Middle-class fallen into hard times works.

      •  Nothing wrong with the word "poverty." It is a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Choco8, hbk

        clarifying word. Poverty by any other name is still poverty. Granted, it is an uncomfortable word, as it should be.

        Many times I’ve returned. Never was I the same in any of my guises. I feel inside, my times before, with no memories of each journey. My soul’s shadows haunt all the paths it has traveled.

        by Wendys Wink on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:55:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, there is nothing wrong (0+ / 0-)

          with the word "poverty" but most of those people that you are referencing would probably define themselves as struggling middle class.

          •  Not the tens of thousands that surround me where (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Choco8, hbk

            I live. Poor means poor. Period. Many of them used to be middle class or on the cusp of being so, but now they use the word "poor." They don't engage in political correctness any longer. They woke the hell up big time.

            Many times I’ve returned. Never was I the same in any of my guises. I feel inside, my times before, with no memories of each journey. My soul’s shadows haunt all the paths it has traveled.

            by Wendys Wink on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:38:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Reasons for this (0+ / 0-)

      Because middle class is very elastic and can mean anything a politician wants it to mean.  Because it has implicit messages about values, hard work, law abiding, etc, that "poverty" and "poor" do not have.  Because this country has a history of hating poor folks.

  •  Check out this recommendation for Punch (0+ / 0-)

    I live in Minneapolis and have eaten at Punch Pizza a number of times. It is a great place to eat. Don't go by my recommendation, though.

    Check out this one.

    Yes, THAT Meryl Streep.

  •  So what's the plan to accomplish this? (0+ / 0-)

    HR 1010 is the House bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  The last action was a discharge petition to force the GOP to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

    The discharge petition has 195 signatures.  There have been no new signatures since mid March and there are still 6 ConservaDems who haven't signed it.  

    Obama never mentions this or any other bill when talking about increasing the minimum wage.  

    So what's the plan?  What action do Dems plan to take and what do they want we voters to do to make it happen?  

    When will we hear something more specific in these speeches?

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:37:30 AM PDT

    •  Obama is all talk. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, Choco8, snoopydawg

      He advocates raising the minimum wage about as sincerely as he advocated net neutrality or the public option in health-care reform. This is intended to rally the Democratic rank & file ahead of the mid-term elections, nothing more. Everyone knows this is going nowhere. President Obama won't expend a dime of his limited political capital toward actually getting this done. He'll reserve that which he does have until after the elections for the Trans-Pacific Partnership & "entitlement reform", both of which are much higher priorities for him.

      •  Did you get all the anti-Obama issues in your (0+ / 0-)

        comment? Seem like one after the other. I always wonder about folks who click into a diary concerning the President's addressing issues like increasing the minimum wage to make the criticism that....THE PRESIDENT ISN'T SINCERE....

        You don't say that the President's wanting to raise the minimum wage is a bad thing, because how would that sit, right? But what you want to say is: "The President isn't sincere." Despite the fact that the President has been addressing this issue in speech after speech after speech for the past two years!

        Obama isn't sincere, because, well...I say so.

        Thanks for playing....

        •  Sorry but there is a pattern here. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Choco8

          Admittedly, my opinion of the president ranges somewhere between disappointment & disillusionment. But I don't deny the very real accomplishments of Obama's presidency, nor that the alternative is beyond terrible.

          But overall, President Obama's record over the last 5 years reveals a huge gulf between his words & his actions, even on the issues on which he has at least remained consistent. And then there are the issues on which he has done an outright volte-face (such as Guantanamo & military tribunals); the issues on which he has said one thing publicly while having a contrary position in terms of actual policy (such as ICE deportations & the mass incarceration of undocumented immigrants); & the issues on which he has opted for window-dressing over substantive change (such as curbing the NSA).

  •  I'm seeIng Democratic candidate's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bufffan20, freakofsociety

    finally running on the ACA . I'm proud to state that my local Charlie Crist was the first here on the bandwagon and  he's also been shaming Scott for our state refusing our federal tax dollars for Medicaid expansion and boldly stating that six Floridians die each day without it.  

    Our President is showing Democratic candidates that another big winner for turnout out is increasing the minimum wage.  I hope that they all make it a major issue.  Folks have to have reasons to hit the polls this fall and that is a sure winner for our needed younger voters and the working class to participate.  (Florida has a medical marijuana bill, also, on the ballot)

  •  Does anyone suppose (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida

    Congress (Republicans) would delay a vote for their pay raise?

    Or...

    A vote to give a tax break to the improvished 1%?

    Or..

    A vote of damn near anything else that takes from the poor and middle class that gives to big business, big pharma, big Wall Street, big money etc.

    Remember kids, everything that we receive we did not earn, is an entitlement, a handout, and we did not earn or work for it like the 1%.
    Because you see, they work hard for their money and we are just lazy vermin.

    Oh, and we best STFU already. We are complainers too.

    Now get back to work you taker!

    "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

    by wxorknot on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:51:22 AM PDT

  •  Give employees a raise, you nitwits! (0+ / 0-)

    (To paraphrase Bill Maher's rant about Walmart heiress Alice Walton endowing an art museum because she wanted to 'make a difference')
    Here's a musical take on the overwhelming reasons for raising the minimum wage - http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Not 10.10. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Choco8, middleagedhousewife, RabbleON

    15.

    Fight for 15. Then you'll get 9.10.

    Fight for 10.10, and you'll certainly get no more than 8.50.

    I know... I know...

    Ugh. --UB.

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:49:00 AM PDT

  •  The President is trying (0+ / 0-)

    to appeal to a party that threw this country under the bus a long time ago. That said, at least he's advocating an increase, not a DECREASE in the minimum wage, which is just one of many disastrous ideas the GOP is floating.

  •  Let's elect a Senator that can help raise the wage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freakofsociety
    “Instead of fighting to give American workers a $10.10 living wage, Senator Collins is joining with corporate interests and national Republicans to water down the bare minimum that workers need to stay out of poverty. She is fighting to reduce wages for thousands of Mainers and millions of Americans. If I were in the Senate, I'd be leading the fight to rally the public and get out-of-touch Republican politicians to do the will of the people on this issue.”
    Shenna Bellows (D-ME)
  •  The TPP (0+ / 0-)

    I can't understand how the President can advocate for minimum wage and head to Asia to revitalize the TPP in the same week.  

    It boggles the mind that a smart man like President Obama refuses to see the long term ramifications to American jobs and American regulations including minimum wage by signing a free trade deal that gives corporations including foreign ones the power to undermine them.

    I realize that both parties have to play by the rules the GOP created. They have to prostitute themselves to the moneyed elite, but I can't believe the Democrats would continue too destroy their own voting base willingly.

    Its situation like these that make me believe the Right Wing conspiracy theories about the Illuminati and President Obama being a "Manchurian Candidates".  I say that jokingly of course, but man sometimes the contradictions from the Democrats boggles the mind.

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