Skip to comments.Obama: Pay gap ‘morally wrong’
Posted on 07/30/2013 3:42:05 AM PDT by onyx
President Obama is changing gears on the economy, highlighting income inequality as a growing problem in advance of pitched fall battles with congressional Republicans over funding the government and raising the debt ceiling. [WATCH VIDEO]
The focus is intended to make it easier for Obama to argue that new taxes on the rich and not cuts to social spending should be imposed to lower the deficit.
It also dovetails with Obamas call for Congress to raise the federal $7.25 minimum wage and to end the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.
This growing inequality is not just morally wrong, its bad economics, Obama said in remarks last week in Galesburg, Ill., where he began a new push on the economy.
The income of the top 1 percent nearly quadrupled from 1979-2007, but the typical familys incomes barely budged, he said.
The president reiterated that message in an interview with The New York Times last week.
If we stand pat, if we dont do anything income inequality will continue to rise, he told the newspaper. Wages, incomes, savings rates for middle-class families will continue to be relatively flat. And thats not a future that we should accept.
Obama is also discussing the matter in private.
During a meeting earlier this month with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said he pressed Obama to issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to provide higher wages.
He said its something that he would take a close look at, said Ellison, the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He should seriously look at doing that because he might be able to help a whole bunch of workers.
Opponents of raising the minimum wage, including many Republicans and business groups, argue an increase would hurt small businesses already injured by the recession and slow recovery.
And if those small businesses cannot afford to pay the mandated boost, they will end up laying off workers, opponents contend.
There is evidence that income inequality has grown since the economic recession of 2008-2009.
Economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that between 2009 and 2011, 121 percent of income gains went to the richest 1 percent of the population, according to a report in CBS News.
The other 99 percent, the two said, saw their incomes fall by about half a percent over the same period.
When adjusted for inflation, low-wage workers are actually making less now than they did 50 years ago.
According to a June study from the Congressional Research Service, inflation-adjusted wages have declined from a peak in 1968 and now stand roughly 26 percent below that level when adjusted for price growth. Workers would have to make $10.70 now to make an amount equal to the purchasing power of 1968s $5.65 minimum wage.
Labor statistics indicate that a relatively small portion of the working population brings home the minimum wage. According to the Labor Department, just 4.7 percent of the 75.3 million workers in the U.S. in 2012 received the minimum wage or lower. (Some wait staff earn less than the middle wage because a portion of their income is paid in tips.)
Of that population, roughly half are under the age of 25 employees aged 16-19 make up one-fifth of all minimum wage workers.
If Obama cant convince Congress to raise the minimum wage, hed be the first president since Ronald Reagan to not sign a wage hike into law.
The minimum wage hasnt been increased since 2009, when the final stage of a three-step increase approved by Congress in 2007 was implemented.
Before last week, Obama had talked little about the minimum wage since calling for it to be increased in his State of the Union address.
Growing income inequality undermines the very essence of America, he told the crowd in Galesburg.
The White House is also making a last stand of sorts on the sequester.
It pressed Congress to undo the cuts earlier this year to no avail, and now faces another year of significant budget cuts unless a deal can be reached to replace them.
Republicans have shown little sign that they would accept the elimination of tax breaks, particularly after the fiscal cliff deal at the beginning of the year raised tax rates on households with annual income above $450,000.
House Democrats are pushing to end the sequester and have offered legislation that would boost the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and index it to inflation.
Proponents hope protests from fast-food workers, along with Obamas calls, will galvanize public support.
Ellison and other liberal Democrats are backing strikes held by workers at McDonalds and other restaurants demanding a $15 minimum wage, as well as the right to unionize.
There is a groundswell movement going on, Ellison said. Theyre pressed so hard to the wall that they dont have any other choice.
Ellison, who worked at a McDonalds between high school and college, said workers in the industry earn every penny they make.
I know its hard work. You come home bathed in grease, he said.
Has his buddy Warren Buffett taken a pay cut or paid his own damn back taxes yet?
Here’s a pay-gap remedy: send the Obamas on their last vacation ever. In prison.
Hey, the leftist line.... don’t stuff your morality down my throat
Also I should add, leftists do not separate social and economic issues, to them they are the same thing.
Income equality is a Marxist political concept.
How odd? The minimum wage in 1968 was $1.62 per hour according to the federal government.
The pay gap should be wider, lazy lefties should receive no benefits, hard working Republican paid double and pay no taxes.
Also the Obums should leave the WH and reimburse the money they stole whislt in power. Never has an American President and his family been so LAZY.
Exactly so and “House Democrats are pushing to end the sequester and have offered legislation that would boost the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and index it to inflation”!!!
Why $10.15 as the minimum wage? Every time they raise it they say it isn’t enough. Quit screwing around and make it $20.00... or $ 25.00...or $30.00. There are hundreds of ways to wreck an economy and raising the minimum wage is one of those. The stupidity of the Democrat Party is stunning...
Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2007, the median income has fallen by $3000.
Socialists seem to like income inequality, as long as they and their cronies are rich and everyone else is poor.
morally wrong = you’re right.
Where are we to turn for the moral standard?
Can we look to the Bible?
1 Thessalonians 4:11,12 says, “Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”
GAMBLING DISCOURAGES HONEST LABOR: The basic tenet of the bible is based on the idea that every person should give an honest day’s work for a honest day’s pay. To a degree, gambling discourages work. It encourages a person to simply wait on the lucky day when he will hit the number and rest from his life of waiting on the right number. It encourages him to find a “get rich quick” scheme and a short cut to wealth without applying the abundance of talents that God has given him in the market place of business and labor. Proverbs 28:19-20 puts it this way, “ He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.”
~Pastor Roosevelt Wright, Jr.
Yep, odumbo’s “pay gap” is too wide. He needs to be defunded, permanently.
Thanks very much for that.
We can easily see where he’s going with this.
I think Warren still owes his back taxes.
If the minimum wage is going to keep rising, why does unemployment pay at or below minimum wage even if your previous job paid in at several times the minimum wage?
If it is to be a “livable” amount, shouldn’t it fall more in line with the most recent/longest tenured wage for an employee?
So why doesn’t he just admit his policies didn’t work and turn the ship around? Because he’s vindictive.