“A Man Who Took History in His Hands”


Yesterday evening, from the White House Briefing Room, President Obama delivered a statement on the passing of former South African President leader Nelson Mandela, calling him “a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”

Watch President Obama’s moving remarks on Mandela’s legacy.

See more from President Obama's remarks yesterday

 

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West Wing Week 12/06/13 or, “Olde English”

This week, the President spoke on the importance of addressing economic mobility and supporting implementation of the Affordable Care Act, visited fasting immigration reform activists, marked World AIDS Day, celebrated Hanukkah, and visited a local bookstore for Small Business Saturday.

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White House Youth Summit: Making Sure People Have the Information They Need to #GetCovered

On Wednesday, December 11th, Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, are sitting down to answer your questions about immigration reform. During the conversation hosted by Bing and Skype, the Vice President and Cecilia will speak with folks from around the country via live Skype Video Call, answer questions submitted through Skype Video and from social media.

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It Shouldn’t Have Happened to Me, But It Did

Deputy Cabinet Secretary Michael Robertson discusses when doctors told him that he had stage IV colorectal cancer, and why the passing of the Affordable Care Act is personal to him.

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Fast Food Strikes Sweep the Nation


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Workers Fight for a Living Wage

Today marked the “biggest wave of job actions in the history of America’s fast-food industry,” as low-wage workers demanding a $15 per hour living wage walked off the job in 130 cities and related actions took place in dozens more.

Fastfood
CREDIT: Christopher Butterfield

Today’s striking workers included those at the McDonald’s inside the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum here in the nation’s capital, reports ThinkProgress:

One striking McDonald’s worker told ThinkProgress, “I’m hurting. I’m crying in my heart, my kids are starving. $8.25 is not enough to live in D.C., or anywhere for that matter, when the cost of living is constantly going up.” The $8.25 she makes at McDonald’s is not enough for her to support her two children. “I live in Capitol Hill and my rent is $1050. I work my butt off at work for a $300 check that I can’t even use to pay my rent. So, it’s saddening. It’s depressing, I’m seeing a therapist. It’s just a lot.”

The workers were joined by several Members of Congress, including Rep. Jan Schakowski (D-IL):

“We had a conversation last election about the makers and the takers, about the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and Barack Obama won that election,” she said. “They can be the makers if they have money in their pockets!”

Schakowski alludes to a very simple reality: it’s middle-class consumers, not the wealthy, who are America’s real job creators. Putting more money into the pockets of workers so they can buy things from businesses large and small creates a virtuous circle that grows our economy from the middle class out, not the top down.

As Pope Francis recently said, trickle-down economics has “never been confirmed by the facts.” Indeed, trickle-down economics has left decades of broken promises and growing income inequality in its wake. By contrast, raising the minimum wage would both help our economy and lift millions of the working poor out of poverty.

In addition to improving the lives of millions of families, raising the minimum wage would also reduce government spending on public assistance. Low-wage earners receive $243 BILLION in food stamps, Medicaid, and other public benefits every year. A recent report from the National Employment Law Project found that low wages at the top 10 largest fast food companies alone cost taxpayers $3.8 BILLION per year. By itself, McDonald’s, which recently advised its workers to find a second job and turn down the heat in order to make ends meet, is estimated to cost taxpayers $1.2 BILLION annually.

BOTTOM LINE: As President Obama said yesterday in his major speech on income inequality and upward mobility, “it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office.”

Nelson Mandela