Center for Community Change Applauds President Obama for Commitment to Alleviate Poverty in America

by Community Change | January 28, 2014 8:57 pm

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
Contact: Donna De La Cruz, [email protected] (202) 339-9331

(WASHINGTON)—Community Change praised President Obama for his commitment to alleviate poverty in America during his State of the Union address, including his plan to sign an executive order that would pay federal contractors a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour under new and renegotiated contracts.

“Congress must follow President Obama’s lead and raise the federal minimum wage for all workers,” said Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change. “The $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage has not kept pace with the costs of living for many American families and right now, a parent with children who is working full-time and earning minimum wage still struggles to make sure their families have the basic necessities. Raising the minimum wage is also particularly important to women, who make up nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers.”

President Obama also called on Congress to restore emergency unemployment benefits to 1.6 million Americans and to protect safety net programs to help people escape the clutches of poverty. The President has been shining the spotlight on that massive and growing gap in America between the have-everythings and the have-nothings.

“Poverty in America is everyone’s problem to solve,” Bhargava said. “We urgently need bold commitments from all of America’s leaders to end policies which create an economy that only works for the very wealthy. There are too many people in this country who have to decide everyday if they have enough money to feed, house and clothe their families.”

Community Change has pledged to make reducing poverty and inequality the central issue on the nation’s agenda. To meet this ambitious goal, we plan to engage millions of low-income people in civic action to win poverty-reducing legislation and policies. We support the fast food, retail and other workers who have already stood up to demand change.

“America succeeds when prosperity is shared,” Bhargava said. “Workers must be assured of a job with decent pay that allows them and their families to thrive. We must create a just and fair economy that provides for a better future for everyone.”

President Obama also announced the creation of a new retirement savings plan that would help workers whose employers don’t offer these benefits.

“The President’s suggestion to expand retirement savings is a step in the right direction but it does not match up to the scale of the America’s retirement insecurity problem,” Bhargava said. “We need to strengthen every leg in the “three legged stool” – by also protecting pensions and expanding Social Security.”

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