Obama, Business, and Minimum Wage: Is It Time For a Raise?
America may have one of the strongest economies in the world, but it is still highly dysfunctional. Those who participate in it know that it is easy to become trapped by debt, that it is easy to become stuck in a low-paying job with stagnant wages, and that it is easy to become a pessimist about personal financial situations and the economic outlook at large. In January, a Gallup survey revealed that more Americans believe they are worse off financially now than a year ago. Economic confidence is trending lower, with more Americans reporting that current conditions are poor and most reporting that it’s getting worse.
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama described the economy as he saw it: “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”
How to address this problem has been the subject of an enormous amount of debate. Nearly 50 million Americans lived in poverty in 2013, or about 16 percent of the population. Because of the stagnant or worsening wage environment for low-wage workers, millions of Americans have found it impossible to raise themselves out of poverty — or worse, have found themselves slipping further into an economic pit.