By Joe Suszczynski
President Obama made his presence known to the CCSU community when he showed up to Central on March 5. Despite the current foreign issues that were at hand, the president felt the need to discuss the minimum wage in America.
The president was not alone, joined by his Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee (D), Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D), Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) and Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy (D), who had spoken first, introducing President Obama.
The president was greeted with a giant uproar from the student body and those of the general public who were able to acquire tickets to the speech. Obama then got down to business, making his case for the increase of the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Perhaps the biggest zinger of the speech was when he was stating his reasons for having the minimum wage raised — he was giving the “politician’s” answer to why it should be raised until a woman from the crowd shouted, “IT’S COMMON SENSE!” He stopped mid-sentence to affirm the woman’s point and repeated the phrase. The audience roared. Obama ended his speech with an anecdote about a pizza place that pays its workers more than the minimum wage, believing it will increase productivity, and give the employees a sense of loyalty to the company.
Overall, it was a good speech. Say what you want about the president or his policy on minimum wage, Obama can give a great speech. One thing that he will always be remembered for was being a great orator.
I may not always agree with President Obama on certain issues, but in this case, I fully support his efforts to increase the minimum wage because as the woman said, it is common sense. It makes sense to give hard working people a little more money so they do not have to physically overwork themselves to support themselves or their families.
As much as I support this, I do not have the highest of hopes that the federal minimum will be increased, due to Republicans in Congress who have adamantly opposed the idea of raising it. Obama joked that the Republicans are against it because he proposed it, and maybe if he came out against it they would be for it. Perhaps there is some truth in his words. In most cases, the Republicans in office dogmatically oppose whatever the president proposes simply because it is he who is proposing it.