WASHINGTON – White House Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett predicted Wednesday that Congress would raise the minimum wage and called $10.10 per hour a reasonable proposal.
“Our economists are absolutely convinced it will grow the economy. People will feel more secure. People, if you put a little bit more money in their pockets and they're earning at the minimum wage, they're going to go out and spend that money. So we think it will,” Jarrett said at a Politico “Morning Money” event.
“I can't tell you what the exact rate will be. We know that there is a proposal now to raise it to $10.10 over time, through 2016, and we think that that's fair, and we think that's reasonable,” she added.
In the past, President Obama has expressed support for raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour from its current $7.25.
“I always try to remind people that raising the debt ceiling is simply fulfilling the obligations that were approved in the budget. It's just the same as if you run up a credit card. Once you've run up the credit card, well, you do have the pay the bills,” she said.
“I don't think it's appropriate to try to use that as leverage and the president has been very clear on that. Let's just pay our bills on time,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett also was asked to address complaints about the White House from Wall Street. Ben White of Politico said business leaders claim that nothing they ask for happens after they meet with White House officials to discuss deficit reduction or financial reform. White said there is “constant harping” from the industry about the White House not understanding them and the president bashing Wall Street. He asked Jarrett if the criticism is fair.
Jarrett said there was a lot of frustration in America when President Obama took office during the financial crisis.
“As I traveled around the country and talked to so many people, there was an enormous amount of frustration out there, and so the president wanted to make sure that he righted the ship. So, those circumstances created inevitable tension. We had a very clear idea of what those rules of the road should be, and there were points of contention and debate,” she said.
“There's a complete alignment of interests with Wall Street. And many of them are supportive of programs – American Express had a terrific Small Business Saturday; I hope everybody out here was shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I did it in my own neighborhood; it's a great way of supporting small business,” she added.
Jarrett also praised First Lady Michelle Obama for an initiative to encourage businesses to hire veterans.
“Blackstone has done a terrific job, as many others on Wall Street have, of hiring our veterans and encouraging other people to do the same. So there's an enormous alignment of interests, I think, and opportunities to help grow the economy and make our country stronger together,” Jarrett added.