Obama proposes raising minimum wage, investing in infrastructure jobs

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:29pm EST

1 of 2. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) applauds and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) looks on as President Barack Obama waves prior to delivering his State of the Union Speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama proposed on Tuesday to hike the minimum wage by more than 20 percent, invest $50 billion on crumbling roads and bridges and spend $15 billion on a construction jobs program in a bid to boost economic growth.

In his annual State of the Union address, Obama urged Congress to support his plan, which would include tax and education reforms that the administration believes would help attract manufacturers back to the United States.

The complete cost of the program would be offset by spending cuts and tax reforms that will be laid out in Obama's budget proposal in the weeks ahead, senior administration officials told reporters.

The minimum wage increase would lift incomes for 15 million Americans and be done in stages, the officials said, noting that an increasing number of corporate chief executives support such a move.

The officials said economic studies show increasing the minimum wage is effective at reducing poverty while reducing turnover costs for businesses.

Obama is also proposing to raise the tipped minimum wage - the wage for jobs whose compensation includes gratuities - and have it indexed for inflation, a move, the officials noted, that was supported by Obama's 2012 Republican presidential opponent, Mitt Romney.

As expected, Obama is announcing in the speech the start of free trade talks between the United States and the 27-nation European Union.

As part of his push to give Americans skills to be competitive in a global economy, Obama proposed a new program to create universal access to pre-school for all 4-year-olds.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason; Editing by Jim Loney)

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Comments (6)
AdamSmith wrote:
Infrastucture jobs? They will go to foreigners.

The H1B visa program has destroyed the American middle class.

It’s really a simple case of supply and demand. Consider an analogy. Consider, for example, what would happen if H1B were applied to plumbers instead of engineers.

Pick any city, let’s say, Denver, Colorado. Now, bring in 100 busloads of freshly graduated plumbers (4,000 new plumbers), who want to enter into the plumbing business in Denver, and make a living.

The result? Wage rates for plumbers will become depressed. The existing 960 plumbers in Denver, once busy every day, and making a good living, will now have much less work, or no work at all.

Who can compete with improverished hordes of plumbers from India who will work for any price? India has 1.17 BILLION people, and many of them are coming here, flooding our labor markets.

The H1B visa law was created, written and lobbied for by large American corporations as a means for decreasing their engineering labor costs. Indeed their corporate profits have zoomed up, up, up — while the wage rates paid to their American engineers have gone down, down, down.

This is what the H1B visa has done to the American engineering profession. H1B has already brought in over one million foreign engineers to America, thus driving down American wage rates, and discouraging American kids from majoring in engineering.

Feb 12, 2013 9:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
victor672 wrote:
At least five Democrats say they are bringing illegal immigrants to the U.S. Capitol for the State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, despite a rule requiring guests to provide their Social Security numbers.

The hijacked government doesn’t seem to mind.

Feb 12, 2013 9:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
actnow wrote:
Paid for with what, more debt on Gen X, and Gen Y? We have no future under this clown.

Feb 12, 2013 10:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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