Obama on way to Milwaukee to tout higher wages

A day after he urged U.S. employers to “give America a raise,” President Barack Obama is on his way to Milwaukee today.

The White House did not confirm the estimated time of arrival of Air Force One in Milwaukee. The White House announced that Obama will spend the night in Milwaukee and will speak on Thursday at General Electric’s Waukesha Gas Engines plant, where he will deliver remarks about the economy.

Obama announced in his State of the Union speech Tuesday that he will use an executive order to require that private contractors doing business with the federal government pay their employees a “living wage” of at least $10.10 per hour, and he urged all employers paying minimum wage to follow suit.

Obama also spoke Tuesday about the nation’s growing energy independence and the need for environmentally sustainability. The plant in Waukesha developed the GE Waukesha 275GL+, the most efficient, powerful, fuel-flexible natural gas engine in its class.

Obama visited a Costco store in suburban Maryland this morning to drive home the argument that businesses that pay higher wages can improve their bottom line.

“I guarantee you if workers have a little more money in their pocket, they’ll spend more at Costco,” Obama said, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Obama said entry-level Costco employees start at $11.50 per hour, with average wages more than $20 per hour before overtime. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, but Obama wants Congress to raise it to $10.10.

“If you work hard, you should be able to pay your rent, buy your groceries, look after your kids,” Obama said.

The arrival and departure of Air Force One in Milwaukee and Obama’s remarks at the Waukesha plant will not be open to the public.

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