In this year's State of the Union address, the President once again called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, and soon after used his pen to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for the individuals working on new federal service contracts. Raising the minimum wage nationwide would provide 28 million workers with a pay increase and boost the bottom lines of businesses across the country.
Today, to mark National Minimum Wage Day (10/10), Cabinet officials, members of Congress, mayors, and other stakeholders participated in events calling for an increase in the minimum wage. Labor Secretary Tom Perez also joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman George Miller on a national press conference call to discuss the importance of a minimum wage increase.
We also released a short whiteboard video today explaining why we need to give Americans a raise -- and this afternoon, Secretary Perez sent the following message to the White House email list to highlight the video.
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A lot of people are observing October 10 (or 10/10) as National Minimum Wage Day, a day to show support for raising the national minimum wage to $10.10.
But for the millions of hardworking Americans earning the minimum wage, every day is national minimum wage day. Every day, heartbreaking decisions that no one should have to make. Do I pay rent or fix the car? Do I go without this meal so my kids can have more to eat?
If raising the minimum wage seems like a no-brainer, that's because it is. And a new whiteboard video from the White House spells it out -- in less than 2 minutes.
The current national minimum wage of $7.25 just doesn't cut it. Not when its value has been eroded by inflation. Not when it buys about 20 percent less than it did when President Reagan took office in 1981.
Raising the minimum wage isn't just the right thing to do to strengthen families -- it's the smart thing to do to strengthen businesses: People would have more money to spend on goods and services. Businesses would see higher productivity and lower worker turnover, too. Without costing taxpayers a single penny.
I've traveled around the country to meet and talk with people who would benefit from a higher minimum wage. People like Austraberta, a 71-year-old grandmother from Texas who's worked as a janitor for more than 30 years -- and still is barely making ends meet.
She said a few more dollars per hour "would be incredible."
That may not seem like much to some. But for Austraberta, it would mean more food on the table, and the hope for a brighter future for her family.
In America, in 2014, we should be able to make that possible for everyone in our country.
And we can:
Right now, there's a bill before Congress that would raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 -- without any new taxes or new spending. And not only would it help workers survive, it would help the whole economy grow.