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President Barack Obama waits with Sergeants at Arms and Members of Congress before entering the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014 Standing with the President are, from left: Paul Irving, House Sergeant at Arms; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; and Terrance Gainer, Senate Sergeant at Arms. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama followed up his State of the Union call for an increased minimum wage with a speech at a Maryland Costco store to promote the proposal. Obama had cited Costco in the State of the Union, saying "profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too," as he urged Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Wednesday, at a store in Lanham, Maryland:

“I guarantee you if workers have a little more money in their pocket, they’ll spend more at Costco,” Obama said to applause from the workers surrounding him in blue and red vests.

Obama said entry-level Costco employees start at $11.50 an hour, with average wages more than $20 an hour before overtime. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, but Obama wants Congress to raise it to $10.10.

“If you work hard, you should be able to pay your rent, buy your groceries, look after your kids,” Obama said from inside the cavernous bulk warehouse, close to the produce section where consumers could buy large containers of green seedless grapes and plantains.

The president plans to take action where he can, with an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers. But Speaker John Boehner will not allow a House vote on a broader minimum wage increase, just as Republicans in the first six years of George W. Bush's presidency blocked a raise. A raise for millions of low-wage Americans requires a Democratic Congress.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 09:46 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hopefully he had time to stop by and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, ColoTim, PatConnors, bananapouch1

    get some of their yummy, yummy (but reasonably priced!) fast food.

    I mean really how can you beat soda for $0.59 with endless free refills? It's enough to give (former) Mayor Bloomberg nightmares from now until (well I don't really know when, but let's just say a long time from now).

  •  We switched... (19+ / 0-)

    ... last from having a BJ's membership to Costco.  It's amazing how much sunnier the staff there is... something to do with earning enough money to actually live on, maybe..?

  •  better late than never (0+ / 0-)

    i suppose

    Power to the Peaceful!

    by misterwade on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 09:53:02 AM PST

  •  Costco is what (16+ / 0-)

    retail used to be like, decent wages, full time hours, with benefits.  Along came WalMart and the end of decent jobs for blue collar workers.

    WalMart has destroyed our nation.

    •  Walmart didn't win the race to thee bottom (4+ / 0-)

      on its own.  The American consumer demanding instant access to cheaper (and often inferior foreign made) products enabled Walmart to do it.

      •  because it's too expensive (5+ / 0-)

        to buy anything else, on the paychecks they get.

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 10:34:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Race to thee bottom (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fumie, JerryNA, lunachickie, ladybug53

        It is true that the hard-pressed consumer is attracted by lower cost goods.  But to blame them is to blame the system.  As wages have failed to keep up with inflation, of course the consumer is looking for the lowest price.

        But Walmart is suffering now from it's own success.  All of the people working at close-to-minimum wage now cannot afford even the "lower" prices.  Demand is drying up as the lower classes meet poverty.  

        Just talk to anyone who works as a clerk or at the check-out at Walmart, they will tell you that they cannot afford to shop.

        An illusion can never be destroyed directly... SK.

        by Thomas Twinnings on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 11:37:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why? Because they make so little money! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As a consumer I NEVER go for the cheapest item. It's for sure going to be flawed, useless or worse. I doubt that people have flocked to Wal Mart for any reason other than that they have such abysmally low salaries they can afford little else.

        The CEO of Costco makes very little relative to CEOs of any other major company. And Costco employers make more than most in like enterprises.

        I'm just wondering how Costco has avoided getting "Bained" or harassed by Wall St. to raise CEO salaries and lower employee wages.

        As an aside I see that San Francisco City College, a beloved institution, has been threatened with having his credential killed because it doesn't have enough administration. The accrediting committee recently demanded they raise administrators' salaries 19.3% while lowering faculty salaries by 4%.

        What is the logic? Just to get more wealthy people beholden to GOP/Bain Capital logic?

  •  I am loving this $10.10 idea! (5+ / 0-)

    And give America a raise.  

    Gotta hand it to the min wage protesters.  They lead on this.  I was a fucker about it at first, but they won me over.  Looks like they won over Obama too.

    Make me do it.  

    Damn.  It really is true of this President.  

  •  And so should we... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatConnors, ladybug53 at Costco, which would be big change for me: Costco is 20 miles away and, although I've only been inside a couple times, seems to sell enormous containers of mayonaise, giant packages of TP and the like. I know, I know, they have other stuff.

    Here's a quiz: out of the three major office supply stores, which should you shop at (because they donate to Democratic candidates): 1) Office Depot, 2) Staples, or 3) Office Max?

    One does and the others do not - Source, The Blue Book.

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

    by TerryDarc on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:23:44 PM PST

  •  min wage increase for all wont happen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Capitalism  demands a work force willing to work for any wages and even few if any benefits.

    Reagan understood this no president has since and blindly keeping up Reagan economics under the pretense of a trickle down theory.

    Amazing to watch back then a nation vote for a president that was all about making most of them poor and poverty. of course Americans voted into office bush jr even after he started an illegal war on lies and deception. amazing.

  •  Speaker John Boehner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is a sniffling wuss. He's scared of his own people.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

    by anastasia p on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:29:24 PM PST

    •  When you're right you're right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obama knows the facts: raising the min. wage will help the economy. Boner has been more than willing to play America into this mess. Now there may finally be some accountability.

      A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

      by onionjim on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:37:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm surprised! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onionjim, Elizaveta, ladybug53

    That the starting wage is only $11.65.  Costco values its employees - and its customers.  Costco values people.  It is not at all like Walmart.  After shopping at Costco, you don't feel so much like cattle at market being fed for slaughter.  You can actually visit with employees and they know what they are doing and what they are selling.  if you are looking for something, they will stop what they are doing and show you where you can find what you are looking for.

    We need to see the Walton's for what they really are - the Welfare Queens.  Walmart cannot operate without their employees living on food stamps and Medicaid.  The Federal welfare programs pick up the tabs for Walmart operations.  Local governments subsidize Walmart operations with tax breaks and small business close their doors when Walmart opens theirs.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:33:38 PM PST

  •  I've spoken with Costco employees and they are (4+ / 0-)

    very positive about their work.  $10.10 an hour is not exactly a king's ransom.

    •  But coupled with very good beneifts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, chimene

      It becomes a really meaningful wage. Plus, there is real promotion. COSTCO has people on the floor that make in the $40k+ range, plus benefits. Not bad for retail.

      I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

      by pajoly on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:39:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sigh... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If only there was a way to get low income people to the  polls in large numbers.  

    "A raise for millions of low-wage Americans requires a Democratic Congress."

    is meaningless if the people who can benefit aren't voting.

    What's the difference between the Federal government and organized crime? One's legally sanctioned.

    by FrankenPC on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:39:29 PM PST

  •  Forget the inequity inequality (0+ / 0-)

    What about the  capital inequality ,the government  give bank billion of dollar to loan to small businesses ,but the bulk of the money is loan to large corporation ,people have idea and dream ,but they do have the money to bring thier ideas to life,Obama should address this with his government  bankers and agencies

  •  President Obama was right in pointing to Costco. (5+ / 0-)

    Back in the day, going into retail could mean an opportunity to climb up from the ranks and make it a viable career.  You could raise a family, along with decent benefits, i.e. health insurance which included dental and vision.  Before IRA's and 401Ks, some big chains had a profit sharing plan.

    I know this from person experience.  Starting at a large chain drug store in 1954, as a manager trainee, working up to manager, and 9 years later, a district manager.

    After a 30 year career, and I emphasize career, retirement was sweet with my profit sharing plan allowing a comfortable life.

    Corporations such as Costco help to make this dream possible, as well.  What is so commendable is that Costco not only promotes from the bottom up, but pays a decent wage, and understands how important peace of mind is for employees and their families to have health insurance.

    They do all this along with running a great organization that most Costco shoppers appreciate.  Consumer Reports consistently rate them high in their electronic sales and follow-through.  They also consistently sell quality merchandise.  The bottom line being they don't skimp on their goods, nor on the way they treat their employees.  A class organization.  

    FYI:  CEO Jelinek earned $650,000 in 2012, plus a $200,000 bonus and stock options worth about $4 million, based on the company’s performance. By contrast, Walmart CEO Mike Duke’s 2012 base salary was $1.3 million; he was also awarded a $4.4 million cash bonus and $13.6 million in stock grants.

  •  If your business can't pay a decent wage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sukeyna, martianexpatriate

    then it is time for you to find a new business. If your service or product is not valuable enough to consumers that you can charge enough for it to pay your workers a decent wage, then it is not valuable enough to society to justify the capital that is invested in it.  Find another use for the capital.  

    If you think you should be able to buy services and products cheaply, even at the cost of your fellow citizens not having a decent living standard, then too bad.  It is time for that to change.  You should not expect to purchase at a discount on the backs of others.

    If conservatives were honest with themselves they would realize that the social safety net they hate so much spends a lot of its budget supporting hard working people who don't get paid enough to support themselves or their families and they would demand a decent minimum wage for all.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:58:24 PM PST

  •  Not a fan of big box stores (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I am a fan of paying fare wages.  

    •  Our local food co-op (0+ / 0-)

      has a starting pay of of $12+ per hour with benefits - pay increase after 6 months.

      I'm not a big fan of big box stores, either. Especially when they start people at minimum wage and leave them there with little or no opportunity to move up or feel like part of a community. I believe Walmart, Target, etc workers must form bonds of a common misery -- the unfortunate division of us vs them within the same company.

      We pick up a few things at Costco with our extended family membership. People really are happier there.

  •  $15 - Making the biggest mistake you can make (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    By asking for a paltry $10.10/hr, instead of a real livable minimum wage which is much closer to $15/hr he made the biggest mistake possible. He began negotiations by negotiating against himself. If $15 an hour, no matter how reasonable and necessary, is not ultimately possible with a single leap, let the party of the 1% make a counteroffer before you stoop so low. Its worse than folding, its shooting yourself in the foot before you take the first step.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 03:13:43 PM PST

  •  In my town there's a fight over big box stores (0+ / 0-)

    moving in.   But I want a Costco to come and save me a 60 mile round trip.

  •  Was the Costco in DC too far? (0+ / 0-)

    Or was there some reason he picked the one in Maryland?

  •  Big Box Mart (JibJab) (0+ / 0-)

    We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

    by bmcphail on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 04:37:47 PM PST

  •  I've actually been waiting to see (0+ / 0-)

    if he would do anything like this for awhile. It's a good sign. I'm hoping that he is going to lead the Democrats into really embrace income inequality as an issue. A lot of them haven't done that yet, and they need to.

    Given the way that people vote and feel about the minimum wage, it would seem the obvious thing to do. The reason why they haven't done this is because it isn't entirely about polling data.

    It's about money. All that big money sways elections, so even if an issue is popular, politicians may fear to confront it because the money may be more important.

    Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

    by martianexpatriate on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 05:08:05 PM PST

  •  Forgive me but... (0+ / 0-)

    $10.10 will do nothing to lift anyone out of poverty.  Minimum wage needs to be at least $20.00 if not $25.00. This from someone who is unemployed for the past 19 months.  I digress, ,,, president Obama needs to use his executive order to make this a reality, poverty needs to be ended, what a great legacy it will be if healthcare and poverty are both solved by our president.  The GOP will be gone like the wicked witch in Oz.  

    •  So they should make as much as a teacher? (0+ / 0-)

      by DAISHI on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 07:44:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Link failed to open (0+ / 0-)

        However if teachers where you live earn $20-25 per hour, they will need to have their earnings adjusted upward.   As will anyone earning less than these proposed wages.  

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