Obama keeps promise to use ‘power of the pen’

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(NNPA)—During his State of the Union address, President Obama promised to use the power of his pen to achieve the policy objectives that Congress continues to block. After advocating fairness and being rebuffed by Congress, the president chose to use the power of his pen to require federal contractors to pay workers at least $10.10 per hour, or $21.800 per year. That puts a single parent with two children below the poverty line.

Now the president is using the power of his pen to ensure that workers receive overtime pay. Currently, the only workers required to receive overtime pay are those who earn $445 a week, about $11 an hour or $23,000 per year.  The president has proposed that that amount be raised to somewhere between $550 and $970 a year.  Splitting the difference means that those who earn about $760 a week or $39,500 a year would be entitled to overtime.

Already the business lobby has said that both a higher minimum wage and mandatory overtime cuts into their profits.  Already they have talked about cutting the number of workers they will employ, and the number of hours they will employ people.  These greedy corporate giants fail to note that while wages and salaries for the top one percent soared by nearly a third in the past three tears, the wages of those in the remaining 99 percent rose by a fraction of one percent in three years.  A worker earning $30,000 a year saw her wages rise to $30,300; someone earning $300,000 a year saw his wages rise to $396,000.

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