Great Graphic: Inequality and Government Response

In the run-up to US President Obama's 5th State of the Union Speech, he indicated he will sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage for new federal contract employees to $10.10 an hour.  The current applicable federal minimum wage is $7.25.   

The new minimum wage will not apply to workers under existing federal contractors; only new contracts will be impacted.  By some calculations then the US will remain the largest employer (indirectly through the millions of people who work for federal contractors) of low wage workers; larger than the usual private sector suspects, such as Wal-Mart or fast food restaurants.   

It is not immediately clear why Obama did not make his executive decision applicable to existing contracts ad contractors.  Surely the "stock" of existing workers is greater than the incremental "flow" coming from new contractors. 

Obama is expected to call for a higher national minimum wage in the State of the Union Address.  He advocates a $10.10 national minimum wage and to tie future increases to inflation.  Last year, Obama advocated a $9 an hour minimum wage.  A current bill with Democrat sponsors, which Obama supports, advocates raising the minimum wage for "tipped workers" for the first time in more than 20 years.  

Although some Republicans claimed that the unilateral presidential action is bad policy, there is precedent for it.  Consider Lyndon Johnson executive order that barred federal contractors from discriminating due to race.  It was unilateral and may not have passed Congress.  

This Great Graphic comes from Pew Research Center.  It recently found that there is widespread (across the political spectrum) acknowledgement that inequality has grown over the past decade.  Yet, there is a profound difference over whether there is anything the government should do to reduce the gap.   Those who are self-identified independents are almost in the middle of the gap between Republicans and Democrats in their response. 
Great Graphic: Inequality and Government Response Great Graphic:  Inequality and Government Response Reviewed by Marc Chandler on January 28, 2014 Rating: 5
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