msnbc | February 12, 2013
>> on congress to raise the federal minimum wage from where it is right now, $7.25 to $9 an hour. alex wagner joins us now. i think the president made news on this point. is this a realistic policy vote?
>> it was really shocking that republicans couldn't stand up for equal pay, couldn't stand up for a fair voting system in the u.s., to see them agree to $9 an hour would seem to me to be a jump. at the same time, this is the story of america right now, one of the most under discussed issues in the country, the fact that one in two american families live at the poverty line . the poverty line is 23,000, $24,000 a year. to some degree, it should not be shocking that they will take this up as a matter of discourse. at the same time, of course it was. we have come so far away from the subject of poverty and mobility. it was a really important moment for the state of the union .
>> something they discovered over the past decade was when you put the minimum wage , you raise the minimum wage on the ballot at the state level, not only does it pass, but it passes by a lot and with so much wind in its sales that it tends to drive up democratic voter turnout . progressive groups have always seen this as a sleeper issue. if democrats embrace it, it might have brought electoral effect. is that driving any of this?
>> sure. look, what we know right now is that he is thinking about the country. that is a result of the fact that he is not enamored of washington and washington politics. it has not been good for him the past four years. he is talking to real americans and knows that wages have stagnated. that is in parallel with labor unions . middle-class wages since 1979 have gone nowhere. this is a winning issue, and it's weird to me that more democrats don't take this up. one of my favorite tweets of the net was that president obama is talking about a nondollar minimum wage . he was the last person to take this up and be seen as a fighter in the middle class in wages and in talking about poverty as a problem that needed to be addressed.
>> democrats in the states where they have championed this are smiling over this tonight, both