March 22, 2014
President Obama delivered his weekly address this morning, following up on the themes of last week’s: namely, pressuring Congress to raise the minimum wage. This week, however, the president insisted that the minimum wage was a women’s rights issue, because “women hold most lower-wage jobs in America.”
The president began his statements by repeating one of the more prominent talking points of the Obama administration since this year’s State of the Union address: “A woman deserves to earn equal pay for equal work.” The president insisted that it was necessary for Congress to “act on these priorities” for women, but only provided one specific on which he wanted Congress to act: raising the minimum wage.
Studies on raising the minimum wage have shown that such a plan would not necessarily help Americans in poverty. In fact, one such study from Express Employment Professionals found that 38% of employers paying minimum wage would have to fire workers to comply with a higher minimum wage, while 54% would reduce the number of workers hired. According to Forbes, the last time Congress raised the minimum wage, more than 600,000 jobs disappeared. And while President Obama implied in his address that women would be among those benefitting the most from such a move, a reduction in the number of minimum wage jobs would hurt teenagers working summers and some working multiple jobs part-time the most.