Obama Raises the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 28 2014 8:32 AM

Obama Gives Federal Contractors a Higher Minimum Wage  

465481371-president-barack-obama-works-on-a-draft-of-his-state-of
More money for you!

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama today announced some welcome news for a range of janitors, military base laundry workers, dishwashers, food service workers, and other low-wage federal contract employees—by executive order he's establishing a $10.10 an hour wage floor for everyone working on a federal contract.

Coincidentally enough, $10.10 an hour is also the level that Democrats have agreed the federal minimum wage should be raised to. This is something more left-wing members of Congress have been pushing for months.

In retrospect, the political advantage of doing it in late January rather than November seems obvious. Rather than being lost in the holiday rush this'll be big news today, and it'll give the president something concrete to talk about during tonight's State of the Union address. Republican members of Congress are going to hate the idea, but I think that when the president announces a big raise for a lot of hard-working people it's going to look weird to be sitting there and declining to clap.

Advertisement

On the merits, a wage hike of this sort is probably a little boost to the economy. But the specific outcome here is going to be one that nobody wants—the White House doesn't actually think there should be a special $10.10 minimum wage for federal contractors, they think there should be a broad-based increase. They're just not going to get Congress to pass one.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.