President Obama has announced that he supports a Democratic-sponsored congressional effort to raise the minimum wage to $10.10.
The bill, introduced by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Congressman George Miller of California, would peg the minimum wage to the rate of inflation, allowing some of the poorest Americans to keep up with increasing prices. With a proposed rate of $10.10, it is a dollar higher than the increase proposed by President Obama in his State of the Union address.
A White House official said in an e-mail:
“The President has long supported raising the minimum wage so hardworking Americans can have a decent wage for a day’s works to support their families and make ends meet, and he supports the Harkin/Miller bill that accomplishes this important goal.”
The figure was reached by calculating how much the minimum wage would have risen had it been pegged to inflation since the 1960s. It would represent the first increase in pay for the working poor since 2009.
The last census estimated that 46 million Americans are living in poverty. Millions of these people are found in families where both parents are working, but are employed in low-wage, hourly jobs that pay barely sustainable wages.
Given the staggering level of poverty in America today, it is vital that wages for the poorest and most vulnerable Americans keep pace with prices that seem set to continue rising at an alarming rate, particularly food prices.
Said President Obama in his State of the Union:
“Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty.”
“Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong,” Obama said. “Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty.”