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State of the Union 2014: Obama wants 'action' on income inequality

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President Barack Obama vowed to take action this year at the 2014 State of the Union on women’s rights, income inequality and ending the War in Afghanistan, according to a Jan. 28 report in the Chicago Tribune. Obama also revealed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract employees to $10. 10, which will mostly affect workers involved with laundry, cafeteria and janitorial jobs for federal buildings, according to the L.A. Times.

Additionally, Obama talked about women rights issues, such as pay inequality, maternity leave, family emergency leave and the fact that most low paying jobs are held by women. Obama referred to a popular television show about the advertising industry in the 1960s, “Mad Men”, stating that workplaces should not have old and misogynistic policies that restrict women’s rights.

President Obama raised the issue of income inequality in America. He issued the executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract employees the same day of his 2014 State of the Union address. This is supposed to be a step to raising the minimum wage for all regular and tipped employees in the country. The Pew Research poll shows that 73% of American support raising the minimum wage, with a 90% approval among Democrats and 53% among Republicans.

After four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled … The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all,” Obama said in the address.

President Obama also talked about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, bringing the War in Afghanistan to an end and research funding for technology.

The Republican response by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington tried to give a hopeful vision of the future for America, and Rep. Rodgers renamed the issue of income inequality as opportunity inequality, according to NBC Politics.

The president talks a lot about income inequality. But the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality…Republicans have plans to close the gap. Plans that focus on jobs first without more spending, government bailouts, and red tape,” Rep. Rodgers said in the response to the 2014 State of the Union address.

Read President Obama’s State of the Union address here and read Republican response here.

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