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Today, women make up about half of our workforce, and more than half of our college graduates. More women are now their families’ main breadwinner than ever before.

But in a lot of ways, our economy hasn’t caught up to this new reality yet. On average, a woman still earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man does.  And too many women face outdated workplace policies that hold them back – which in turn holds back our families and our entire economy.

If there's any constant theme in President Obama's weekly addresses—indeed, in most of his speeches—it's "we've made some progress, but we need a lot more."

This week's address, in which he links the raising of the minimum wage and the economic plight of women in general, is no different. Yes, the plight of the low-wage working woman is improving. But we need more improvement. A lot more. Soon.

A woman deserves to earn equal pay for equal work, and paid leave that lets you take a day off to care for a sick child or parent. Congress needs to act on these priorities.

And when women hold most lower-wage jobs in America, Congress needs to raise the minimum wage. Because no woman who works full-time should ever have to raise her children in poverty.

It's time, he said, to let Congress know we're serious about getting a raise; not just for women, obviously, who will benefit, but for men too. It's up to us to help make it happen:
But if we’re truly going to reward the hard work of every American, Congress needs to join the rest of the country and pass a bill that would lift the federal minimum wage to ten dollars and ten cents an hour. This wouldn’t just raise wages for minimum wage workers – its effects would lift wages for nearly 28 million Americans across this country. It will give businesses more customers with more money to spend, and grow the economy for everybody. So call up your Member of Congress and let them know it’s time for “ten-ten.”  It’s time to give America a raise.
He closed with a broad, populist stance echoing the rising tide, raised boats analogy Democrats have long held dear:
A true opportunity agenda is one that works for working women. Because when women succeed, America succeeds. We do better when everyone participates, and when everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead. That’s what opportunity means – and it’s why I’ll keep fighting to restore it.
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 22, 2014

Hi, everybody. This week, I visited a community college in Florida, where I spoke with students about what we need to do to make sure our economy rewards the hard work of every American.

More specifically, I spoke about making sure our economy rewards the hard work of women.

Today, women make up about half of our workforce, and more than half of our college graduates. More women are now their families’ main breadwinner than ever before.

But in a lot of ways, our economy hasn’t caught up to this new reality yet. On average, a woman still earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man does.  And too many women face outdated workplace policies that hold them back – which in turn holds back our families and our entire economy.

A woman deserves to earn equal pay for equal work, and paid leave that lets you take a day off to care for a sick child or parent. Congress needs to act on these priorities.

And when women hold most lower-wage jobs in America, Congress needs to raise the minimum wage. Because no woman who works full-time should ever have to raise her children in poverty.

Now, the good news is that in the year since I first called on Congress to raise the minimum wage, six states have passed laws to raise theirs. More states, counties, and cities are working to raise their minimum wages as we speak. Small businesses like St. Louis-based Pi Pizzeria, are raising their wages too – not out of charity, but because it’s good for business. And by the way, Pi makes a really good pizza. And in this year of action, I signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least ten dollars and ten cents an hour.

But if we’re truly going to reward the hard work of every American, Congress needs to join the rest of the country and pass a bill that would lift the federal minimum wage to ten dollars and ten cents an hour. This wouldn’t just raise wages for minimum wage workers – its effects would lift wages for nearly 28 million Americans across this country. It will give businesses more customers with more money to spend, and grow the economy for everybody. So call up your Member of Congress and let them know it’s time for “ten-ten.”  It’s time to give America a raise.

A true opportunity agenda is one that works for working women. Because when women succeed, America succeeds. We do better when everyone participates, and when everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead. That’s what opportunity means – and it’s why I’ll keep fighting to restore it.

Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A winning message... (5+ / 0-)

    Let's see if Democrats will use it this Fall....


    ODS results in Obama's amazing ability to humiliate his biggest critics, on the right and the left.

    by NoFortunateSon on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:07:05 AM PDT

  •  Can Democrats run away from Obama but embrace (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, Fabienne, jj32

    the very good ideas and values he has at the same time? I suggest that rather then run away from ACA for instance the candidates loudly illuminate the benefit millions of real people have gotten from the legislation. Hiding under the covers while the right makes up shit is not a winning strategy. And so it should go with minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, infrastructure funding etc.

  •  Fred Phelps--the President's proclamation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stewarjt

    All douche bags are to be lowered to half staff (heard on the Stephanie Miller Show.)

  •  "Congress" is NOT the problem here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TJ, pixxer, Jazzenterprises, geez53

    One party in Congress is.   There are 5 references to "Congress" and no references to that party in this speech.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:18:47 AM PDT

    •  That Might Be Because (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geez53

      public approval rating of congress in general is in the tank.

      One can argue public approval rating for democrats in congress is what? maybe ten points above that of the repuglicans, but that hardly means anything significant out there; out side of bloggo world.

      it's both parties that are the problem-- again, outside of bloggo world.

      "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

      by Superpole on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:46:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which party is that exactly? ....... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stewarjt, snoopydawg, PhilW

      The one who fights for the rich and privileged, or the one who merely lays down at their feet?

      This is what happens when you invite wall street to your dinner parties instead of sending them to their own high profit prison industrial complex.

      21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

      by geez53 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:06:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Both parties participate in the kabuki. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geez53, stewarjt, snoopydawg

      And this goes for both the Senate and Congress.

      Take for example Harry Reid's (and Obama's) constant deal-making with Republicans only to have them move the football every time he goes to kick?

      His refusal for years to employ the "nuclear option" in spite of the devastating effect of not having done so? His limiting of that option to judicial appointments? His reticence even then to use it at all?

      How about the fact that D's clearly take turns so that just enough always vote against a D bill to prevent it from passing? Or vote for a R bill to enable it to pass? And then O signs them...

      And that doesn't even account for all the policies and legislation that aren't even pursued at all in a grand forfeit of progressive goals?

      Sorry, if it weren't for Third Way D's, we could swamp the Republicans any damn day.

      We wouldn't have to sweat these elections so much if our elected officials would just act like D's once they get to D.C. People would love them. The soul of the D Party platform is populist, and populism is popular.

      In fact, if don't oust the Third Way, there is no number of them that we could elect that would even want to build a progressive legal structure, because they don't believe in progressive economics or progressive environmental management. They believe in Reagonomics, de-regulations and the subordination of environmental interests to economic desires.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:09:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey Aqualung. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        geez53

        Thanks for the Rec.

        ;^)

        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

        When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

        by Words In Action on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:28:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One of the best concerts ever..... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action

          in a former life. ;}

          That and the fact i couldn't find an easy copy and paste One Flew Over the Coo-Coo's Nest pic of Jack N. Either is how i look in RW.

          21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

          by geez53 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:34:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, former lives. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            geez53

            Where would we be without them?

            Several levels deeper in this temporal hell, I fear.

            Trust, but verify. - Reagan
            Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

            When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

            by Words In Action on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:37:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Without some light that lower level is too deep (0+ / 0-)

              and too dark for sane minds. Which is what concerns me most about Globalized austerity, Globalized exploitation and Globalized awareness of all this downward pressure on the "masses". Things could get much uglier, much faster than in the past, if people don't have some light to hang on to.

              21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

              by geez53 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's a Good Point (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pixxer, reginahny, Words In Action

    the last time I checked, the largest employer of women in Indiana is retail.

    and since many of these women are working retail jobs there and across the nation to A.) supplement their spouse's income, B.) It's their only income and they are supporting a family... a minimum wage hike matters to these workers.

    Unfortunately the deadbeats in congress are unlikely to pass a min wage hike, even in 2015.

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:43:10 AM PDT

  •  Editing error there? He repeats himself! (0+ / 0-)

    It's a good line, but it really looks like an editing error, where the same line in two different takes is stuck into the film.

    Good message, of course.

  •  A parallel argument, one which appropriates (0+ / 0-)

    a Republican meme, is that, if, as Republicans suggest, it is vital to have a stay-at-home parent, how do they expect to achieve this if they won't support let alone guarantee a living wage??? The majority of the population does not have the luxury to even consider this option (as their parents and grandparents did).

    Republicans (and, less publicly, Third Way Democrats) insist that people who work hard can get the jobs that enable them to rise out of poverty and have things such as single working parent families. But if single parent families are truly important to our communities and society, which I am not arguing is categorically true, then why jeopardize it by leaving it to the perils of a wrong-headed economy?

    Moreover, when over half the economy consists of poverty wage jobs, then isn't it designed to force over half its workers to fail to get good-paying jobs? And how is this supposed to be the fault of those who do, since, even if every last one of them is working like a draft horse, over half will continue to be forced into wage slavery?

    [I extend these thoughts to Third Way, meritocracy believing Democrats as well.]

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

    by Words In Action on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:53:06 AM PDT

  •  GOTV: Motivating Those That Will Benefit Most (0+ / 0-)

    The strategy for the 2014 elections being pursued by President Obama and the Dems. is becoming increasingly clear.  Focus the campaign on specific issues that will benefit large chunks of "potential" voters, such as unemployment benefits, increasing the minimum wage, immigration reform, infrastructure (job) programs, etc.  On each of these issues, Dems. can clearly show how voting Democrat will provide a direct benefit to middle and low economic groups, and how voting Republican will thwart such benefits.  Since large numbers of "potential" voters fall into these two economic groups, its a smart strategy.

    But the problem lies with getting large numbers people from these groups to actually vote in the 2014 off year election.  You are fighting apathy (the feeling that a person's single vote won't change their life), busy work and life schedules common amongst these groups (whenever you are not working, you are tending to family needs or catching a few hours of sleep), and in some states, Republican passed new voting laws which make it very hard for people with busy schedules to vote.

    That's why I think the key to 2014 is GOTV.  Screw doing ad war battles with Republicans which we are doomed to lose since they (and the Kochs) can out spend us 4 to 1.  We need to make those in the middle and low economic groups realize that voting for Dems. in 2014 will directly benefit them, and then we have to make it as easy as possible for them to vote.  That's the key for a 2014 Dem. victory.        

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:59:26 AM PDT

  •  Why anyone still listens to this man (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexDrew, PhilW

    is truly beyond me.

    The Republicans are crazy, but why we follow them down the rabbit hole is beyond me.

    by Jazzenterprises on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:00:06 AM PDT

  •  The GOP's heads will explode (0+ / 0-)

    Raising the minimum wage and helping women? Oh the humanity!

    •  You do realize there are a few Dem Senator's who (0+ / 0-)

      do not support $10.10?

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 10:16:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why aren't we calling it slave wage ...... (0+ / 0-)

    For the single-mother Wal-Mart "associate" who leaves nearly all her check in the company cash register, the main difference is she has to pay for her own food, shelter and transportation (maybe with some help from the rest of us).

    21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

    by geez53 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:20:07 AM PDT

  •  If the President cared about women (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, stewarjt, snoopydawg, PhilW

    He wouldn't keep trying to cut Social Security and Medicare.

    I stopped at a Mickey D's along the interstate last week and the woman who waited on me was a white woman about 75.  

    I guess that's why we need a minimum wage increase.  To make up for CPI and Medicare means testing.

  •  So that means they're going to raise the server (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilW

    minimum wage as well? Wait staff haven't had their minimum wage raised in more than a decade. And women are over-represented in that field.

    If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

    by AoT on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 10:54:21 AM PDT

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