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There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty.
Vice President Joe Biden stepped up to pinch hit for a traveling President Obama in this morning's weekly address, taking his turn to make the case for a raise in the minimum wage, an administration focus for the past three weeks.

Raising the minimum wage to $10.10, he said, would put a worker now living in poverty on 40 hours of work a week—an annual income of $14,500—into a bracket where with existing tax credits, a family of four would earn enough to move out of the poverty category. But it's not only workers who would benefit, he argued. Business would too:

There’s clear data that shows fair wages generate loyalty of workers to their employers, which has the benefit of increasing productivity and leading to less turn over. It’s really good for the economy as a whole because raising the minimum wage would generate an additional $19 billion in additional income for people who need it the most.
The low-wage worker, he explained, would spend the money, circulating it through the economy—unlike what happens when the wealthy get their hands on some extra bucks. Businesses as large as Costco and the Gap and as small as a minimal advertising company in Georgia have made the smart business choice to raise wages, he said. And there are other players recognizing the benefit as well—individual states are making the move as well. And working women may well be the largest beneficiaries:
It’s good for business. It’s helpful to the overall economy. And there’s one more important benefit. Right now women make up more than half of the workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage.  Folks, a low minimum wage is one of the reasons why women in America make only 77 cents on a dollar that every man makes. But by raising the minimum wage, we can close that gap by 5 percent. And it matters. It matters to a lot of hardworking families, particularly moms raising families on the minimum wage.
It's not just the right thing to do, he said, it's the popular thing to do: Three out of four Americans support raising the minimum wage.

The vice president closed with a plea to listeners to contact their congressional representatives to let them know, loud and clear: The American people need a raise.

Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden
Weekly Address
The White House
March 29, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m Joe Biden. I’m filling in for President Obama, who is abroad.

I want to talk to you today about the minimum wage and the overwhelming need to raise the minimum wage. There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty. But right now a worker earning the federal minimum wage makes about $14,500 a year.  And you all know that's incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on.

But if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, that same worker will be making $20,200 a year—and with existing tax credits would earn enough to bring that family or a family of four out of poverty. But there’s a lot of good reasons why raising the minimum wage makes sense.

Not only would it put more hard-earned money into the pockets of 28 million Americans, moving millions of them out of poverty, it’s also good for business. And let me tell you why.

There’s clear data that shows fair wages generate loyalty of workers to their employers, which has the benefit of increasing productivity and leading to less turn over. It’s really good for the economy as a whole because raising the minimum wage would generate an additional $19 billion in additional income for people who need it the most.

The big difference between giving a raise in the minimum wage instead of a tax break to the very wealthy is the minimum wage worker will go out and spend every penny of it because they're living on the edge. They’ll spend it in the local economy.  They need it to pay their electric bill, put gas in their automobile, to buy fundamental necessities. And this generates economic growth in their communities.

And I’m not the only one who recognizes these benefits. Companies big and small recognize it as well. I was recently in Atlanta, Georgia, and met the owner of a small advertising company, a guy named Darien. He independently raised the wages of his workers to $10.10 an hour. But large companies, as well, Costco and the Gap—they're choosing to pay their employees higher starting wages.

A growing list of governors are also raising wages in their states – the minimum wage. They join the President who raised the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors like the folks serving our troops meals on our bases.  They're all doing this for a simple reason. Raising the minimum wage will help hardworking people rise out of poverty.

It’s good for business. It’s helpful to the overall economy. And there’s one more important benefit. Right now women make up more than half of the workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage.  Folks, a low minimum wage is one of the reasons why women in America make only 77 cents on a dollar that every man makes. But by raising the minimum wage, we can close that gap by 5 percent. And it matters. It matters to a lot of hardworking families, particularly moms raising families on the minimum wage.

And one more thing, folks—it’s what the American people want to do. Three out of four Americans support raising the minimum wage. They know this is the right and fair thing to do, and the good thing to do for the economy.  So it’s time for Congress to get behind the minimum wage bill offered by Tom Harkin of Iowa and Congressman George Miller of California—the proposal that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

So ask your representatives who oppose raising the federal minimum wage—why do they oppose it? How can we look at the men and women providing basic services to us all, like cleaning our offices, caring for our children, serving in our restaurants and so many other areas—how can we say they don't deserve enough pay to take them out of poverty?

The President and I think they deserve it. And we think a lot of you do too. So, folks, it’s time to act. It’s time to give America a raise.

Thanks for listening and have a great weekend. God bless you all and may God protect our troops.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rethugs Would Have People Believe That Raising (11+ / 0-)

    the minimum wage would put billionaires in the poor house.

  •  Unfortunately It's a Moot Issue (6+ / 0-)

    Just like the feeble five month extension of unemployment benefits for two million long term unemployed people is not going to get passed by the House-- neither is the paltry raise of the min wage to $10.10 an hour.

    I can more or less guarantee no significant legislation is going to pass the House this year-- partly due to the election and partly because democratic members give in to the teabagger contingent.

    "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 29, 2014 at 07:21:51 AM PDT

    •  Passage is possible, very possible (10+ / 0-)

      Why do you think the GOP doesn't want to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote?  They don't want their constituents to see them voting against it.

      DC Dems and the rest of us have to push really hard to get this passed in the House, then the Senate.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 07:30:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think we'd make more progress putting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mjbleo

        referenda on state ballots to raise the minimum wage.  Would help bring out our base, too.  I agree with Superpole that it will never happen in Washington.

        Our strategies suck.

        ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

        by Rikon Snow on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 07:37:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, mjbleo, tb mare, rmb

        are you referring to extending UI or passing the min wage hike?

        if it's the minimum wage. there are plenty of GOP voters who do not want it raised.

        as far as getting this passed this year-- or ever for that matter, there's already a massive push against it by the QSR lobbyists.. it's been going on for months.

        but this is all academic. the way to deal with income inequality is not to mandate negligible raises in the min wage, but to improve our economy significantly so there is more demand for workers which increases their value in the market.

        the democrats don't have a plan to make this happen; that's a big problem.

        "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 29, 2014 at 07:38:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What's missing from Biden's address is the (6+ / 0-)

    cost to the taxpayers of these low wages . . . he doesn't call out the corporate parasites who rely on public assistance to subsidize their workforces.

    Haven't we learned anything from Republicans?  You have to attack to move your agenda forward.  Appeals to reason don't cut it anymore.  Everybody's selfish and everybody knows.

    ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

    by Rikon Snow on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 07:22:29 AM PDT

  •  Will the wage raise be neutralized by the loss (0+ / 0-)

    of things like food stamp benefits?

    Not that that is a reason to not raise the wage but I'm just wondering about the actual result of this.

  •  Plus they have to save their wages for retirement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean
    But if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, that same worker will be making $20,200 a year
    That's more than many receive in Social Security and the Hoyercrats and Warnercrats want to cut that not to mention raising the premium on Medicare.

    I'm all for raising minimum wage but don't cry to me about the working poor when the party seems to have found a passion for gutting their retirement security.

    Watch what they do, not what they say.  Watch their budgets.  Watch their priorities.  

  •  I would vote for Joe Biden a third time. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hbk, Calamity Jean

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

    by commonmass on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 07:57:18 AM PDT

  •  Boehner has become the (0+ / 0-)

    immovable object. He wants to wait for the midterms and see how that plays out. He sees no need to do anything
    meaningful now.
    He is feeling confident. And why not - w/gerrymandering, voter restrictions/suppression, (expected) low turn out,
    voter anger.
    He'll have an enjoyable summer, while others suffer and wait.

    "The past is never dead. It's not even past". Faulkner.

    by mchestnutjr on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 08:08:03 AM PDT

  •  Plus Strengthening Social Security (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, greenbell

    We never hear Obama/Biden talk about that.  A huge failure of this president. Roosevelt has to be rolling in his grave.

    If we lie to the government, it's a felony...but if they lie to us it's politics.

    by rmb on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 08:34:51 AM PDT

  •  Nothing about the planet? (0+ / 0-)

    "President Obama is on the road today.  He has some catching up to do..."

  •  One Good Point Deserves Another (0+ / 0-)

    VP Biden has it exactly right on this. There are many, many excellent reasons for raising the minimum wage, and I think he hit on most of them.

    Now, the next question is, can we now get an international minimum wage?

    You can't support a minimum wage in the U.S. if you let companies make their products where wages are not regulated. The U.S. needs to design and enforce an international minimum wage. Congress should give the President two years to renegotiate all our trade agreements to include a sensible international minimum wage. Any agreement that doesn't meet that standard should be automatically ended when the time expires, and sufficient tariffs instituted to equalize the pay difference. This is an absolute requirement for fixing the economy.

    There's a bedrock principle at stake here. No products should be sold in the U.S. unless they are made to our workplace and environmental standards. An international minimum wage is a key component of that principle. We should have an IMW of about $2.50/hr to start, rising by 2-3% per years in real terms until it reaches parity with our domestic minimum wage.

    Where is Biden on this issue? Does he support a living wage for American workers? He needs to say whether he's for or against this.

    And anyone purporting to lead the Democratic Party must also support these principles. Otherwise, they aren't leading.

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