The Most Powerful Line in the Pres. Obama's State of the Union Address

President Obama directly challenged critics of raising the minimum wage during his State of the Union address, daring them to defend their stance on behalf of a $7.25 per hour federal minimum:

And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. 

It was a powerful line that implored members of Congress to consider the real effects of their inaction in Washington. 

Only a few members of Congress have taken this challenge seriously.

"All spontaneity is out the window," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) when describing her recent experience attempting to live on the federal minimum wage. "Feel like buying a cup of coffee? Forget it. Those pretzels in the vending machine look tempting? Keep walking. They’re not in the budget."

While Congress failed to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour last year, many voters took matters into their own hands. Through ballot initiatives and state legislative action, 20 states have raised their minimum wages for 2015. Twenty-nine states now have a minimum wages above the federal level.

The federal minimum wage has not even come close to keeping pace with inflation. When adjusted for inflation, the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is one of the worst in history. The minimum wage today should be around $11 an hour to equal the same buying power it had in the late 1960s.

And the idea that it will kill jobs does not comport with the evidence:

Residents of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington have automatic hikes after tying their minimum wage to the cost of inflation. Those increases range from $0.12 in Florida to $0.23 in Colorado. In the other 11 states and the District of Columbia, the raise is directly because of voter-driven initiatives or other legislative action by the state governments. Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and South Dakota will all see an increase of at least $1.00, with South Dakota seeing a $1.25 jump in minimum pay.

Washington state will have the highest minimum wage of the group after the raise, as 176,000 workers will see their pay go up to $9.47 this year, while Washington, DC's $9.50 wage will be the highest in the country in 2015. 

To learn more about the movement to raise the minimum wage, watch and share this video: