The President and First Lady sat down with Parade magazine to discuss the Working Families summit the First Couple is holding in Washington, D.C. on Monday, June 23rd. The summit will focus on affordable childcare, paid family leave, raising the minimum wage and achieving equal pay for all.
The interview is full of glimpses into the Obama’s early married life and work. Both the President and First Lady began their working lives with minimum wage jobs. President Obama spoke of his first jobs, scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins and serving food at an assisted-living facility. He revealed that his first four jobs were minimum wage or nearly so. I think most of us can sympathize with that, I know I can.
Mrs. Obama worked at a book bindery when she was 16-years-old alongside older women who did the same job and had been there longer. They all made the same wage. This gave the First Lady some insight as to how older folks try to “cobble together a decent life on minimum wage.”
Because of their experiences, they want their daughters to start their working lives in much the same way. Every child needs to know what it’s like to work hard. The President put it this way:
“We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair. But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”
Added Mrs. Obama, “That’s what life is.”
Indeed it is for a great majority of Americans. And it’s certainly not fun, stimulating or fair. Yet Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage. They say it will cost jobs. While the CBO reports that it may cause a “very slight” loss of jobs if the minimum wage is raised, it will also increase real incomes by $5 billion. That would raise almost a million Americans out of poverty.
Many on the right take any chance they can to rag on Malia and Sasha Obama. Whether they go on a spring break or have friends with same-sex couples for parents, the right loves to criticize the First Daughters. But I seriously doubt that any Republican Congressperson would ever make their children get a minimum wage job. They consider it beneath them. And there you go, there is the GOP position on everyday Americans who struggle to get by: you are beneath them. How can any American who is struggling to get by in this economy they made vote for them knowing that?