Law and Politics

President Obama Focuses on Inequality

February 5, 2014
By Neal Tepel

New York, NY – As President Obama focused the nation's attention on inequality in his State of the Union Address on January 28th, observers continued to credit fast-food workers with helping to spark a national debate on the issue.

It was clear the President was paying attention to the fast-food workers’ that were demonstrating in cities and towns across the country. In his preview of the State of the Union, Chris Hayes said, "Tonight, when the president speaks to what he calls the defining issue of our time — the distribution of wealth and power in this great republic of ours, remember it was countless ordinary workers taking huge risks against daunting odds that brought us to this moment." 
 
President Obama called not only on local governments but also on corporations to bypass a gridlocked Congress and raise wages on their own. "Do what you can to raise your employees’ wages," the president said, pointing to the example of Punch Pizza. 
 
The Daily Show picked up on the president's call for higher wages, highlighting the fast-food worker strikes and taking fast-food corporations to task for paying their workers so little that they are forced onto public assistance programs just to make ends meet.

The most recent National Polling Summary from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research shows growing support for raising wages of those on the lowest pay scale. Across the country and across party lines Americans overwhelmingly support raising pay of those working for minimum salaries. That support has only grown over the last year as fast-food and other low-wage workers continue to demonstrate for higher salaries.

February 4, 2014

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