By Timothy Bladel – Staff Writer
Obama’s Call for a Just System.
President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union speech was a call to action. A challenge to all Americans to come together for the greater good of the country instead of the individualistic notions we tend to apply to everything. A call for a more just system.
Obama claims that we now have the lowest unemployment rate in the last five years, a housing market in rebound, and for the first time since the 1990’s we have a manufacturing sector finally adding jobs. That the deficits have been cut by more than half. We now produce more oil on American soil than we buy from other countries. All these successes were touted by Obama as the encouraging moves of a country in recovery.
“And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number 1 place to invest; America is,” Obama said.
Who can blame Obama for using this positive rhetoric? The country has fought back from one of the worst financial crashes since the Great Depression. But the president was right to suggest that these successes haven’t affected everyone similarly.
“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,” Obama said. “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 to get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”
Nevertheless, much of what the president is asking for won’t get done in this hyper-partisan environment, and the likelihood of inaction doubles when it’s about inequality. But Obama is right to encourage a closing of the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor. So he plans on using what little power he has to affect change without the other branches of government, and then hopes to appeal to some kind of moral compass inside the nation’s elite.
“Do what you can to raise your employees’ wages,” Obama said. “It’s good for the economy; it’s good for America.”
He vowed to use an executive order to raise the minimum wage of future federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour. He can do that without Congress.
“Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do,” Obama said.
And he called for an across the board national minimum hourly wage hike from $7.25 to $10.10. And that women should get equal pay, as if that even needs to be stated. The sad part is it really needed to be said. This is not about anger towards rich people, it’s about the morality of having so much of a nation’s wealth concentrated on the top.
“Americans understand that some people will earn more money than others, and we don’t resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success,” Obama said. “That’s what America’s all about. But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.”
So when people claim all Obama wants to do is redistribute wealth, I say that is exactly the debate we should be having. The correct way to distribute the country’s wealth shouldn’t be like foam, always rising to the top. There is nothing just about that system. Well, maybe for everywhere except a “Mad Men” episode.