Obama’s Executive Order to Raise the Minimum Wage: Symptomatic of His Presidency

If you haven’t heard, last night Obama said he would sign an executive order mandating that all federal contract employees receive a minimum wage of at least $10.10. This isn’t inconsequential: it would raise income for about 600,000 workers. Had Obama proposed a $12 per hour minimum, that would have helped almost two million workers.

This is what’s frustrating: like so many Obama initiatives, it does some good. It makes things better. At the same time, it’s not nearly enough. Unlike many other proposals where Congress has had influence, this decision is all on Obama–that’s why it’s called an executive order. The ‘Green Lanternism’ charge doesn’t apply here–Obama has complete agency. Nothing could have stopped him from making the minimum twelve or fifteen dollars per hour. Could the Republicans try to overturn that with legislation? Sure. But there’s no way they could have overridden a presidential veto. Could they hold other legislation hostage? Again, yes. But they threaten to do that anyway about…everything, so why worry about it? Could they use this as grounds to impeach Obama (BENGHAZI!)? Maybe. But let’s have that fight. Let’s make Republicans explain why they think it’s outrageous to earn twelve (or fifteen–AAAIEEE!!!) dollars per hour.

There was no political reason to go for such a low minimum wage. He should have gone higher.

This is getting old.

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7 Responses to Obama’s Executive Order to Raise the Minimum Wage: Symptomatic of His Presidency

  1. harrync says:

    Actually, I think there may be a political reason. Some Democrats in Congress are trying for $10.10 nationwide. They most likely picked that amount because that is the most they think they can go and get enough Republican votes to pass it. If Federal employees get $10.10 and all hell does not break lose, then perhaps Republicans who want to vote for the increase can use that example as political cover to justify their [non tea party approved] vote. I am not saying for sure that Obama is savvy enough to have thought it through this way, just that he might have.

  2. Eric Riley says:

    Yes – one of my (D) senators was praising Obama for the move – $10.10. As I pointed out in my comment on his facebook page, $10.10 isn’t really enough to live on, but it is enough to prevent you from getting most forms of assistance. That isn’t helping people.

    It’s one of those things that looks like something is being done, but is so little it may actually be regressive. Which is, sadly, about the most I expect from the Democrats (which is mildly better than being actively regressive like the Republicans, but only just…)

  3. coloradoblue says:

    And apparently this raise is only for new or renegotiated contracts. So if you are currently making less, tough.

  4. Yossi Mandel says:

    Why not go all the way and make the fight to raise the minimum wage to $30 an hour? We should stop the illusion of progress gained by a few cents raise at a time.

  5. BotanyBuff says:

    I’m assuming it’s for use as an example of what would happen if they raised the Federal minimum wage to that level (not much, except that some people are experiencing a little less grinding poverty). It woulda been nice if he had aimed a little higher, but I can see his reasoning. It’s still over two bucks higher than the MA minimum wage.

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