It's time to give America a raise. That was one of the basic, core messages in President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. He called on Congress to do what 21 states and the District of Columbia have already done -- increase the minimum wage so that working people have enough in their paychecks to provide for their families.
Forward-looking companies get that this makes smart business sense. That's why the president and I visited a Costco store in Lanham, Md., the morning after his speech. Costco pays their workers good wages with benefits, while selling good products at competitive prices and remaining quite profitable.
You see, as the President pointed out, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek isn't doing this just for fun; he's got his eye on the bottom line just like any good businessman. But he understands that he can't keep his business on top by running a race to the bottom. That's why I shop at Costco. My wife and I have been members for more than 17 years -- ever since we were buying diapers for our first-born who's now on her way to college.
But they're not the only company following this model. I just got back from a visit to the 5th Street Ace Hardware store in Washington, where all employees make more than the federal minimum wage, most earning $10 per hour or more.