Frankly, President Barack Obama’s fifth State Of The Union address was almost pointless. Yet there are still a few things to take away from it.
First, 2014 will be the year of the Executive Order. President Obama will attempt to thwart Congress whenever possible as he did Tuesday by raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 per hour. He can’t raise the minimum wage for all employees without a bill passing through Congress. So, 2014 could be the year of the Executive Order, but there are limits to their scope.
Second, ask your boss for a raise. The president called on businesses to not wait for Congress to raise the minimum wage and do the right thing by giving employees a raise. He said it was a good for morale and good for the economy. Please, let me know what your boss says when you say the president sent you into your office to ask for more money.
Here’s something else to keep in mind. Only about three percent of full-time employees make the minimum wage. Most of those workers are second or third income earners in their households (meaning they aren’t the main breadwinner). The minimum wage debate is crowded with dramatic stories about single mothers struggling to raise two kids as a cashier at McDonald’s. Those stories do happen, but they aren’t the majority of who makes the minimum wage. Those stories sell political debates.
The highlight was Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg. He was injured by a roadside bomb during his 10th deployment in 2009. No, that’s not a typo. Remsburg is an Army Ranger and he’s been recovering from his injuries for over four years. It was a reminder of the sacrifices that have been made for this country. Maybe Congress and the president should learn a lesson or two from Sgt. Remsburg.
Finally, there really is no point to holding State of the Union speeches anymore. We live in a 24 hour news world where we are always connected to what’s going on. So we know almost all of what the president is going to say and there’s no real need to address Congress as the Constitution says, ‘from time to time.’ The reason it continues is because it’s free TV time. And there’s nothing a politician loves more.