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Excuse Me, Mr. President -- A $9 Minimum Wage Is Still Going to Leave a Lot of People at the Poverty Level

This is not a time for meek proposals from Obama. He has to think big, and take it to the people.

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Obviously, the major impact of the raise is to lift incomes of about 18 million hardworking people being paid at or near the minimum. This allows them to save enough to make a down payment on a used car or to enroll in a couple of community college classes. Plus, it gives at least a token nod to the essential need of bridging America's dangerously widening chasm of economic inequality.

The real shame in the Republican leader's attack is not its flagrant dishonesty, but the raw disdain that it flings at low-wage workers. The hidebound "no's" in our society -- including Boehner, Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers and Wall Street billionaires -- see working people in terms of their price tags, not in their value. This dehumanized contempt for the working class not only stains these corporate elitists, but it also holds back America's phenomenal economic potential -- and this contempt of America's workaday majority is social dynamite.

While those power elites say "no," the American people overwhelmingly say "yes." A poll last June found that seven out of 10 of us -- including a majority of Republican women (but not men) -- favor raising the minimum wage above $10 an hour. So, Mr. President, this is not a time for meek proposals. Think big, and take it to the people.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at  www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013  CREATORS.COM

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the new book, "Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow." (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly "Hightower Lowdown," co-edited by Phillip Frazer.
 
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