Washington, D.C. — In response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this evening, experts from the Center for American Progress’s Economic Policy team released the following statements:
Director of Competitiveness and Economic Growth Jennifer Erickson on retirement savings
The president’s speech this evening highlighted the growing challenges many middle-class Americans are facing as they struggle to save for retirement in an economy whose rewards are increasingly directed to the top and not the middle. The measures that President Obama proposed tonight are important first steps toward the goal of securing a more stable retirement for all Americans.
Director of the American Worker Project David Madland on increasing the minimum wage
In his remarks tonight, the president emphasized once again the importance of raising the federal minimum wage. An increase would not only provide a direct benefit to millions of hardworking Americans who have seen their wages steadily decline in value for years, but would also help boost consumer demand and spur the kind of broad-based economic growth our nation so sorely needs. Our economy must work for all Americans, not just those at the very top, and raising the minimum wage is a critical first toward ensuring that it does. Boosting the wages of federally contracted workers to $10.10 is big step towards ensuring all workers earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.
Senior Fellow for Economic Policy Ben Olinsky on expanding apprenticeships
The president’s proposal to expand America’s use of apprenticeships is a smart, common-sense idea that will significantly boost workers’ lifetime earnings and create pathways to well-paying careers for young workers while also creating a pipeline of skilled workers for businesses.
Associate Director of Women’s Economic Policy Sarah Jane Glynn on paid family leave
Tonight, President Obama echoed what millions of working Americans already know: Access to paid family leave is necessary to ensure that no one has to make the impossible choice between being a good worker and taking care of their family responsibilities. Right now, the ability to take the time to care for loved ones is a privilege denied to too many hardworking Americans. The creation of a federal paid family and medical leave insurance program would benefit all workers, employers, and families—providing a fair chance for every American.
Director of Infrastructure Policy Kevin DeGood on investing in infrastructure
Tonight, President Obama reiterated the need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. Making critical investments in our transportation systems will not only create strong middle-class jobs today, but also lay the foundation for growing an economy that works for everyone.
To speak with a CAP economic expert, contact Katie Peters at email@example.com.