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A clear majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage, because we believe that nobody who works full-time should have to live in poverty. About half of all Republicans support raising the minimum wage, too. It’s just too bad they don’t serve in Congress. Because the Republicans who do serve in Congress don’t want to vote on the minimum wage at all. Some even want to get rid of it completely. Seriously.
President Obama devoted his weekly address to once again pushing for a federal minimum wage raise to $10.10, citing states, corporations and small businesses who are already leading the way, without cutting back on hiring, and proclaiming that "if you treat your employees right, they’ll treat you right."

Expressing disgust with the political class in Washington, he said:

That’s why what business leaders and everyday Americans are doing to raise wages is so important. Because change doesn’t come from Washington – change comes to Washington. I’ve always believed that, and it’s true in this case, too. Outside Washington, Americans are ready to put aside old political arguments and move this country forward. The American people are way ahead of Congress on this issue, and we’ve just got to let Congress know that.
"It’s time for 'ten-ten,'" he concluded. "It’s time to give America a raise.  And it’s time to restore opportunity for all."

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
March 8, 2014

Hi, everybody. This week, I traveled to New England, where I was joined by four governors who are working to raise the minimum wage in each of their states. And they’ve also joined me in calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. Because it would give nearly 800,000 Americans in their states a raise – and lift wages for about 28 million across the country.

So these governors aren’t waiting for Congress to make up its mind. And in my State of the Union Address, I asked America’s business leaders to go ahead and do what they could to raise their employees’ wages, too. And increasingly, it’s not just large companies like Costco or the Gap that choose to pay their employees higher starting wages.

It’s smaller businesses like Jaxson’s, a family-owned ice cream parlor in South Florida. They answered the call and raised their wages so that more than 70 employees would earn at least $10.10 an hour, without cutting back on hiring.

And two weeks ago, an Atlanta small business owner named Darien Southerland wrote me to share a lesson his grandmother taught him – that if you treat your employees right, they’ll treat you right. And Vice President Biden paid him a visit this week.

I agree with these business owners, which is why I issued an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour. It’s good for our bottom line. And working Americans have struggled through stagnant wages for far too long.

A clear majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage, because we believe that nobody who works full-time should have to live in poverty. About half of all Republicans support raising the minimum wage, too. It’s just too bad they don’t serve in Congress. Because the Republicans who do serve in Congress don’t want to vote on the minimum wage at all. Some even want to get rid of it completely. Seriously.

That’s why what business leaders and everyday Americans are doing to raise wages is so important. Because change doesn’t come from Washington – change comes to Washington. I’ve always believed that, and it’s true in this case, too. Outside Washington, Americans are ready to put aside old political arguments and move this country forward. The American people are way ahead of Congress on this issue, and we’ve just got to let Congress know that. It’s time for “ten-ten.”  It’s time to give America a raise.  And it’s time to restore opportunity for all.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If we locked min. wage at 1/10 of Congress' salary (5+ / 0-)

    (assuming a 40 hr work week), or 1/9 if we're politically optimistic, then I bet we would be assured of regular increases in minimum wage.

    There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -Thoreau

    by Frameshift on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:12:25 AM PST

  •  hit 'em where it counts (4+ / 0-)

    Not only is raising the minimum wage just the right thing to do, it lowers entitlement spending (less food stamps, etc etc) and it improves business function.

    Dems in congressional races should push this point on their opponents who claim that lowering the deficit is so important.  Call their bluff: if they believe in smaller government, then increasing the minimum wage is a great way to do this!

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. - Albert Einstein

    by ERdoc in PA on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:17:21 AM PST

  •  I love it when he goes over the head of Congress (4+ / 0-)

    And speaks directly to the American people.
    I don't expect Congress to be persuaded by his words.
    But I do hope that Republican Americans might be persuaded to stop voting against their own interests.  

    "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." - President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013.

    by surfermom on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:29:21 AM PST

  •  Collectively, Congress Isn't Worth a Bucket of (7+ / 0-)

    dogshit!  

    We need to end all Congressional retirement pensions and benefits and make public service service TO the public, NOT service BY the public.

    $10.10/hr. is NOT a livable wage -- it's crumbs.

    $15.00/hr. is barely a livable wage.

    The workers whose sweat, blood, health, and sometims lives earn their employers' wealth for them deserve to share in the fruits of their labor.

    TAX the FILTHY RICH and require them to contribute to the common good since they disproportionately benefit from society's infrastructure and resources.

  •  Republicans can make any false argument (5+ / 0-)

    they like against raising the minimum wage; in the end, their refusal to do so reveals their true agenda.  They want two things: to protect their friends in the largest corporations from having to share the results of productivity with the workers, preferring that the rewards go exclusively to the CEOs and shareholders; and they want to hold on to their soapbox.  They want to be able to push the "lazy, undeserving, moocher"poor narrative to voters.  It's a double win for the GOP.  

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:32:42 AM PST

  •  Little Paulie LePage wants to raise the minimum (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, snoopydawg

    wage in Maine, where it is already high but not high enough?

    The President does not care about us. Period.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:36:11 AM PST

  •  This sounds like his pitch for the Public Option (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stewarjt, TJ

    Not very sincere, just going through the motions.

    Kabuki.

    Ok, when his crew is in the midst of raising billions for OFA and their PAC, theres no way in heck they're going to alienate those donors by pushing a minimum wage increase. No way.

    So lets ask ourselves, what value does a rich OFA have for Democrats in general? None, really. It's now a non partisan non profit.  Its only responsibility is to its board of directors and executives.

    DC Dem consultants are also sitting out the midterms.  Who knows why, they're not the sharpest tools in the shed. They did the same thing in 2010.

    So what is this massive corporate fundraising effort going to cost us? Right now it looks like it will cost us a minimum wage increase, a majority in Congress, time lost on any effort to overturn Citizen's United and no meaningful progress on campaign finance and lobbying reform.

    Do we really want to give all of that up so Obamas fundraising/ campaign crew can launch their new nonpartisan startup and meet their mortgage payments and private school tuition for their kids? I dont.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:52:02 AM PST

    •  This is ridiculous. Blaming the President for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northerntier

      Republicans' effort to block the increase in minimum wage? So the President and OFA's fundraising is the cause of Republican immorality and cruelty on this issue?

      Ok, when his crew is in the midst of raising billions for OFA and their PAC, theres no way in heck they're going to alienate those donors by pushing a minimum wage increase. No way.
      His "crew"? What????

      The President spoke of the minimum wage issue during the 2012 State of the Union address (Somehow according to you he really wasn't sincere). He then spoke on the issue during this year's 2014 State of the Union Address (He somehow wasn't sincere here either).

      The President even couched the argument in terms of women's income:

      Today, women make up about half our workforce.  But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.  That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.  She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.  A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too.  It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode.  This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.  Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.

      Now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs – but they’re not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages.  Americans understand that some people will earn more than others, and we don’t resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success.  But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.

      In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs.  Many businesses have done it on their own.  Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno.  John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough.  Only now he makes more of it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour – a decision that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.

      Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages.  To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on.  And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too.  In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

      Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board. Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here.  Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10.  This will help families.  It will give businesses customers with more money to spend.  It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program.  So join the rest of the country.  Say yes.  Give America a raise.

      The slogan give America a raise was coined by the President to prevent legislators from increasing the minimum wage???

      This is the kind of stuff that has been going on for more than five years in terms of some criticism of this President on the Left and Right. Accusing the President of all kinds far out conspiracies.

      In terms of OFA, I'm greatful for OFA, for this organization played a major role in helping to re-elect this President. This, I have no doubt, is the reason why so many of his critics hate this organization. OFA to some on the Left is exactly like ACORN to some on the Right. And the far-out conspiracy theories are just as similar.

      Neither the President nor OFA are responsible for the inability of Congress to increase the cruel and dreadful minimum wage.

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