Obama pushes for minimum wage increase
February 22nd, 2014
01:19 PM ET
5 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. Hooper

    Not against people making more money, but here's a fact. The week before any increase is realized, prices will increase in every retail outlet in the country to regain the wages paid. The people are losing, and the business people know it. They've got it sowed. Accept this fact, and go down the road.

    February 22, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. salty dog

    Go ahead gop, keep digging your graves, your against the vast majority on nearly every issue. Think about that while conducting your post election autopsy, deception and hatred only gets you so far.

    February 22, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. The Elephant in the Room

    The source of the mimimum wage increase will be reduced RETAINED EARNINGS from corporations. They are not spending it to spur the economy. In many cases these multinational corporations are PARKING this money outside of the USA to avoid taxes and to hide it.
    A mimimum wage increase REURNS economy-boosting PURCHASING POWER to those that have had it co-opted; the hardworking American lower wae family. Unlike the coporations, they WILL re-invest that money; in JOB [read DEMAND] PRODUCING purchases of oatmeal, blue jeans, new truck tires, new matresses, IPAD minis, etc. purchaes.
    All those paid consrevative bloggers claiming to understand economics, a balance sheet and an income statement, its your move.The original re-distribution of wealth was done by Reagan when he shifted the tax burden away from the ealthy corporations & individuals AND when he & the GOP systematically weakened workers unions [which use to be in position to deman higher wages]. Don`t let the GOP win the messaging war.

    February 22, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. jimmyjo

    Does our President understand economics? If so. He KNOWS EXACTLY what he is doing.

    February 22, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. HenryMiller

    So if you can buy 16.5 million votes at the cost of only half a million people losing their jobs, it's a good deal. Or so says Obama.

    February 22, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Kathy H

    It is very sad I worked 43 years of my life and Ohio Great Governer moved my unit out of the Union. After 9 months they had me train new people at a lower pay to be my back up. Total of 14 months later after being moved out of the Union I was let go from my job being told they don't think I am happy and they have no where else to place me. I was able to draw 6 months of benifits Unemployement. And cut off December, 2013 waiting for an extension, I am currently 58 and unable to get a job. So I hope everyone else enjoyed my hard work and they reap the benifits. And I am close to losing everything, I have not had any income since December,2013!

    February 22, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Chris-E...al

    i agree 'shocker' bring it up to 8.50 . Might as well ? Being thats all the dims seem t0 be able to create is a min wage j0b ! If your lucky enough t0 find one! The illegals have m0st of them anyway? t0 save my life i dont no why the dims want protect 0ur border down there! Its a danger for terror ? If they would repubs will do immigration ! its stupid n0t 2 close it up first ! but we are talking b0ut dims! so

    February 22, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. rla

    How about pushing fro JOBS??? You have had 5 years to think about it!

    February 22, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. jerrylax

    How about decent jobs? Or is it just easier to buy votes…votes that in the end do nothing for bringing prosperity to America.

    February 22, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Harold Read

    Even after the Left-Leaning CBO released a report that stated that the minimum wage increases who cost the country jobs, Obama is yet again pushing for it. Since he only experience is being a Community Organizer, he has no idea how to get the country what it really needs, jobs and a health economy.
    It is as if your doctor tried to fix your burst appedix buy putting a bandage on your foot.

    But... You can't beat someone who gives stuff away for "free".

    February 22, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. rs

    Good, it's high time to raise the minimum wage. Despite the complete lack of evidence to the contrary, the GOP digs it's heels in again on a law that has the backing of the majority of Americans- after all at no time in the past did raising the MW ever result in the loss of jobs. Even if the CBO is correct that 300,000-500,00 jobs might vanish in the short term, lifting 16 million Americans out of poverty seems to be a decent trade and will stimulate the economy. Meanwhile, virtually every economist indicates this will be a win-win- higher wages, little or no job loss and long-term stimulus. Everything the GOP is against apparently.

    February 22, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Stuffitu

    Of course he would do this. He has never had to make a payroll and is absolutely ignorant about economics and everything else that affects hard working tax paying Americans. The uneducated sheep will vote for him or steal elections for the most corrupt president in history.

    February 22, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    StuffIt – While you enjoy the benefits of Medicare, you do realize that your party wants to eliminate it? Imagine paying for heart surgery with a $3000 voucher.

    February 22, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. 2_indy1600

    Not sure why the truth is not allowed here, but when you think minimum wage hike remember the Union wages that get hiked too. Think Detroit.

    February 22, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. 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.

    February 22, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. just me

    Every time the minimum wage has been raised the cons wail about how it will flatline the economy. And every time they've been wrong.

    February 22, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    The opposition to a minimum wage hike for the least fortunate among us must be an example of a more compassionate Republican Tea Party. The party of conservative family and religious values does not hold the moral high ground on this issue.

    February 22, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    You need jobs first........for the unemployed.........before you choose to overpay those already working.

    February 22, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Chris-E...al

    THere you g0 again tim you lGoogle bill clinon passed 0n killing Bin Laden factcheck . 0rg – And for your info T0ra Bora war after the fact .

    February 22, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. Are you kidding me?

    If you want any indicator listen to the comments for Walmart this week. They said their sales and revenue figures were lower this past quarter because their customers are spending less due to lower amounts of disposable income. If the MW was increased this helps everyone.

    February 22, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Wes

    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.
    ----------------------------------------------–
    This is why libs should not be allowed to vote.

    February 22, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. rs

    2_indy1600
    Not sure why the truth is not allowed here, but when you think minimum wage hike remember the Union wages that get hiked too. Think Detroit.
    ______________
    Real easy to remember what never happened. Minimum wage increases have gone on for 40 years- no rise in price or unemployment. Unions and minimum wage? You're reaching- beyond the bounds of reality.

    February 22, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. Mightyduk

    2-Indy1600 – what is the truth, please enlighten us. Is it the constant fear you live in believing that the corporate thugs are being truthfull when they say that a slight raise in people's wages will bankrupt the company. You can keep taking what is leftover but the rest of America is tired of bowing to the corporate greed.

    February 22, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Gurgyl

    Raise minimum wage to 12 dollars. In deed it is a must.

    February 22, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    This is awful.

    February 22, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
1 2