WASHINGTON, DC -- Representative Mike Michaud issued the following statement this evening in response to President Obama's State of the Union Address:
I appreciate the president's focus on promoting increased economic opportunity, and I know he understands the important issues surrounding our nation's ongoing income inequality crisis.
Wages have stagnated for decades while the moneyed special interests have gamed the system, gotten rich, and fought tooth and nail to keep it that way. It's long past time that America's workers are made a national priority. We need to raise the minimum wage because work should pay. Families should be able to make ends meet and not fall into poverty if they put in a full day's work -- period.
But our nation's income inequality crisis didn't materialize in a vacuum, and we must do far more than raise the minimum wage. Our trade agreements over the past two decades have contributed greatly to the outsourcing of the middle class, and Democratic and Republican presidents are to be blamed equally.
But there are things that can be done to help turn the tide.
We can ensure that the American people have more of a say in our trade agreements, which until now have been negotiated behind closed doors with only giant multinationals corporations at the table.
And we can make sure that when federal dollars are spent they go to American companies and benefit American workers to the greatest extent possible. Despite repeated calls from me and hundreds of Maine workers, the Department of Defense still is not supplying our soldiers with American-made training shoes. No legislative action is needed to address this -- the president can fix it with an executive order and, in doing so, make a real difference to workers and communities in Maine.