In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama laid out a bold vision for an economy that works for all Americans — not just the wealthiest 1% and corporations. For those of us who have been fighting for social and economic justice, last night’s speech made clear that our voices have been heard loud and clear in the halls of power.
In an effort to help working families who are struggling to make ends meet, Obama called for an increase in the federal minimum wage — from $7.25 an hour to $9.00. Low-wage workers in 49 states would see an increase in pay, helping millions of struggling families make ends meet. The wage might not be as high as many of us would like to see, but it’s an important first step towards a living wage for workers nationwide.
The President also took a strong stand against impending budget cuts – known as “the sequester” – that would cripple our economy and hurt millions of Americans who rely on vital services. “We can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful,” Obama said last night. “Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.” We couldn’t agree more. There are far better ways to righting our economic ship than slashing critical programs and killing jobs.
President Obama’s speech laid out our shared vision of a strong economy in which hard work is rewarded and all Americans have the opportunity to succeed. He called for a clear path to citizenship because, as he stated, “our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants.” Like us, Obama recognizes that all workers deserve to have a full voice in our economy, and it’s time for congress to show some leadership and help make it happen.
There was a lot in last night’s speech that we can celebrate – from the President’s workers-first approach to his firm stand against corporate greed – but unless we stand together to support the Obama’s bold vision, it will be nothing more than words. There are powerful interests out there who will stop at nothing to keep corporations from paying their fair share, even if it means that seniors and working families pay the price.
The State of the Union was both a victory and a battle cry, urging us to stand together to make Obama’s progressive vision for our economy a reality. Sign up to take action in your community today!