Obamas want daughters to get taste of life on minimum wage

Michelle Obama and tougtersBy Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and wife Michelle both worked minimum-wage jobs before they got law degrees: a character-building experience they said they also want their teenage daughters to share.
The president scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, waited tables at an assisted-living facility for seniors and also worked as a painter. The first lady worked at a book binding shop.
“I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work,” Michelle Obama said in an interview with Parade magazine, slated to run on Sunday.
“We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair,” the president said. “But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”
The first couple has taken pains to keep their daughters Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13, out of the public eye while in the White House. But Malia was recently spotted on the set of a CBS television program, working as a production assistant for a day.
The Obamas gave the interview to promote a summit the White House is holding on Monday to discuss policies to help working families.
“There are structures that can help families around child care, healthcare, and schooling that make an enormous difference in people’s lives,” Obama said in the interview. (Parade: http://bit.ly/1lCnKai)
This year, Obama has tried to focus on issues such as ensuring equal pay for women, expanding early childhood education and hiking the minimum wage. These issues so far have failed to gain traction in Congress, but do resonate with Democratic voters.
To advance his agenda, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate after November midterm elections, where Republicans stand a good chance of getting a majority, and likely also will retain control of the House of Representatives.
“If we can highlight these issues and sustain it over the next year, it’s still possible to see bold action out of Congress,” Obama said.
In the interview, the Obamas talked about how they lived for a year on the second floor of the house of Michelle’s mom Marian Robinson after law school, drove a used car that they bought for $1,000, and worked through the stress of being saddled with student loans and small children
They acknowledged that their careers gave them the chance to earn good incomes and negotiate family leave when they needed it – a luxury that most minimum-wage workers do not have.
“But what it made me think about was people who were on the clock,” the president said. “If you’re an hourly worker in most companies, and you say, ‘I’ve got to take three days off,’ you may lose your job. At minimum, you’re losing income you can’t afford to lose,” he said.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

  1. • Fredispresent 2 minutes ago
    I delayed college because I could not afford it. I had no scholarships and my parents could not help me financially. Then, I saved and worked my way through college and borrowed very little. I never regretted it, I never felt it was unfair, and frankly, it was a very rewarding experience. While in college, I had a few friends who were from well-to-do parents. Most were told that after age 18, they were on their own…and their parents meant it. Others were well taken care of financially. In all cases of my friends, wealthy or not, these friends had a strong work ethic, were ambitious and had the emotional maturity to take full responsibility for their lives. Rich or poor, it seems to me, effective parenting ensures intellectual and emotional maturity and a commitment to personal responsibility for a young person. Perhaps the Obama family will be successful in inculcating this gift in their children. Yes, I have witnessed young people who are “enabled” rather than healthily supported. In those cases, they never grew up and continue to exhibit profound codependency (victim mentality). It is sickening to watch the subtle, clever, manipulative behaviors they use to mooch off friends and family. Very sad. Very damaging.

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