Obama pushes for minimum wage increase
February 22nd, 2014
01:19 PM ET
10 months ago

Obama pushes for minimum wage increase

Washington (CNN) - It may be a "year of action" for President Obama, but there is one thing he cannot do without Congress: raise the minimum wage.

In his weekly address Saturday, the President took the opportunity to make another plea, appealing to the public to pressure representatives to "give America a raise."


Two recent polls show the public is behind Obama on this one. According to CBS News and Pew Research Center polls, 72% and 73% of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, respectively. Even Republicans are split about half and half, both polls say.

Despite the national support, Obama said, it is Republicans in Congress who stand in the way.

"Even though a majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans across the country support raising the minimum wage, Republicans in Congress don't want to give it a vote," Obama said. "Only Congress can finish the job."

Obama highlighted his own executive order, requiring federal contractors to pay employees at least $10.10 an hour. He also praised the retail company The Gap, which announced earlier this week that it would raise its employees' wages to $10 an hour.

Gap CEO Glenn Murphy said the move was not political, but economic.

"Our decision to invest in front line employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over," he said in a statement.

The Democrats' minimum wage push took a bit of a hit this week with the release of a Congressional Budget Office report that said while 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty by an increase, it could also kill 500,000 jobs. Republicans seized on the potential job losses.

"This report confirms what we've long known: While helping some, mandating higher wages has real costs, including fewer people working," said House Speaker John Boehner's press secretary Brendan Buck.

Obama pushed back, using the same report to support his argument.

"That bill would lift wages for more than 16 million Americans without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending," he said.

The CBO says 16.5 million Americans would earn higher wages, but it "would be accompanied by reductions of a similar amount in real income from" increases in costs of goods and services, income losses for business owners, and a total loss of income for those 500,000 workers who would lose their jobs.


Filed under: Minimum wage • Obama address • President Obama
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. polarbreaker2

    Increasing the minimum wage will absolutely bring more money home for Americans but is now a good time to make the change? Let's create some more jobs first. Our country may appear to show economic growth but millions are still without a job. More and more people are joining the unemployment line everyday.

    February 23, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  2. IA

    Tampa Tim...warped talking points that had a lot of democrat fingerprints on the guns. Get a clue!

    February 23, 2014 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  3. Name Uche Agonsi

    Wage hikes without Corporation increases in products/services will always benefit both consumers and corporations by increased demands. But the corporate greed does not allow these gains by both sides of the aisle. Its always the game, and the truth. To make matters worse, you can never argue the truth in the media with the mighty corporations/rich. The tragedy of this whole thing is that American public opinion is swayed by the media, and corporations/rich make their living by the media.

    February 23, 2014 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  4. Name Uche Agonsi

    Wage hikes without Corporate increases in products/services prices would benefit both consumers and these producers via increased demands. But corporate greeds dont permit these gains for both sides of the aisle. They create the rough roads for any peanut that enters the consumer's mouth. You cannt beat them either in the media because they live on them. The tragedy is American public opinion gets swayed by media. I only take the smart ass, like the oratory of a community organiser to show the right way.

    February 23, 2014 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  5. Rob

    The King is using our money to try to buy votes. He's to in competent to help create any worthwhile jobs. He is finally running out of welfare money so now he'll try this. He knows he can't get votes based on his record and endless lies so he'll go back to his tried and true method. , Give them freebies (with our Money) and lie to them

    February 23, 2014 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  6. @RI_Roger

    Let the states decide what their minimum wage should be based on their economic climate; not the President who is advocating for a national minimum wage purely for political reasons to fire up his Progressive base to raise money for mid-term elections.

    February 23, 2014 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  7. Mike L

    I have to wonder why when a ceo gets a 2 million dollar bonus we do not see job losses, but when the low income slaves demand a raise suddenly these mega corporations will go bankrupt. 500k jobs lost would be terrible, but 16 million people suddenly not living in poverty would be astounding. Short term sucks, but long term those 500k jobs will be back and no longer providing poverty wages.

    February 23, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  8. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Tampa Tim
    Look at the republican accomplishments: 2 unfunded wars with 4500 dead soldiers and 45 thousand wounded, 9-11 with almost 3000 killed, 15 embassy attacks with 50 deaths, tax cuts for those who didn't need it, a war on women, war on poor, war on students, war on veterans, war on our environment, an unfunded drug program, a housing plan in 2002 that led to the bubble, the Great Recession, millions of jobs lost, TARP, auto industry going bankrupt, and when you put it on the books, over $5 trillion added to our national debt.

    You forgot to mention the credit downgrade and the government shutdown. Loved your post.

    February 23, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  9. Gurgyl

    Indeed, yes, this president knows the Economy–so only he is VOTED TO POWER. Whether you admit this fact or not–yes raising minimum wage will NOT hamper the current growth. It raises the standard of living–enhances the spending power. In a parallel economy–you spend–economy runs on those wheels. Yes, raise minimum wage–don't fire just because they are late to work, till they are dishonest. Pass Jobs-Bill. Bring call-centers. Watch foreign imports–medicines come from India are counterfeit, curb. God bless!

    February 23, 2014 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  10. Hector Slagg

    A lot of places already pay more than minimum wage. If the market will bear it no problem. If some lose their jobs as suggested by the CBO what do you do? In spite of some that can't see the forest for the trees the economy is still very fragile. In spite of what some want to believe the ACA is killing jobs. But you voted for it. now swallow it.

    February 23, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. Minnie Mouse

    Push for a set standard cost of living raise yearly and free education. These both with have positive effects on the country and the economy, rather than a huge wage increase that's going to drastically effect everyone down to the economy, jobs, our food prices ect...The businesses and the consumers will all feel the pain. The government waste enough money to where you can find the funds to help pay for college education for the middle class, because your already assisting the lower and poverty income class and the wealthy needs no assistance.

    February 23, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  12. wamo

    we already have free education – I hope you are not talking about college – let's not turn the great universities of this country into public high schools!

    February 23, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. rs

    Question for those on the Right"Clearly the working poor need help. As raising the minimum wage to $10 will raise 16 million Americans out of poverty, why does the GOP feel it so important to protect the soaring profits of the millionaire class- who clearly need no help at all?

    February 23, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Curly

    Not only does it cost jobs it also causes inflation when the government mandates an increase in wages. Now if the Obama wants to increase the minimum what he should have done is increase the business climate so jobs would be increased\. This would have increased for workers which would increase the hourly wage to get the people needed. But I don't think that the liberals are interested in the workers as much as they just want to convince the voter to vote for them. The more the liberals can get the people to depend upon government the more that the liberals will get into positions of power and stan there.

    February 23, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. rs

    Curly
    Not only does it cost jobs it also causes inflation when the government mandates an increase in wages.
    ------
    Never has in the past 40 years. Why would it do so now?

    February 23, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Won't the basement bloggers be unhappy when they no longer have mommy to pay all their expenses for them. Getting a job in real life won't be a pleasant experience when they have to fend for themselves. Living on anything less than minimum wage won't be pleasant either.

    February 23, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. wamo

    here's an idea – don't have kids until you can do better than minimum wage – therefore no one will have to raise a family on minimum wage – problem solved!

    February 23, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Tiffany

    I feel that many of the supporters of this are out of touch with the simple truth of who this would effect. As a minimum wage worker, I would be laid off if this were to happen. Retail stores and fast food giants only want individuals who are flexible in their hours. If you are a college student with a tight schedule or a mother who can only work certain hours, say goodbye to your job. I am going to college and working part time for a retail store. Do you honestly think that they would pay me 40% more to work two days a week when they could simply give that small workload to someone who is already there? For example, when Obamacare went into effect, I got my hours cut in half. Now the maximum amount of hours I can work is 24. If the store does not make as much in a certain month, I get told not to come in...and this is a national retail chain. Obama's policies hurt the minimum wage worker, not help. If Obama really wants to see how his policies are affecting those that he claims it is helping, he needs to work at McDonald's on minimum wage for a few months. He thinks Republicans are out of touch with reality but he needs a reality check himself. Lastly, because I know everyone is going to accuse me of being a Republican troll, I am neither. I am simply fed up with the ignorance of Obama and his worshiping flock.

    February 23, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. aldo69

    Who are more the makers in our society and who are more the takers, the idle rich or the working poor?

    February 23, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Chris-E...al

    Tampa tim ! Y0u forgot the empty birdfeeders .

    February 23, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. aldo69

    The minimum wage is more band-aid than solution. The solution would be to stop sending our jobs to polluters, human rights abusers and adversaries. Time to rethink our notion of free trade.

    February 23, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
1 2