Nancy Pelosi: "Hip Hip Hooray, Unemployment Is Down," But It Means Nothing Without Higher Wages

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House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said at her Thursday news conference that record low unemployment is not as important as restoring consumer confidence and increasing wages.

"This has happened before," Pelosi said, "The people say, 'Oh my goodness... the unemployment rate is down. Why isn't my purchasing power increasing?'"

"Because our economy will never fully reach its possibilities unless we increase the consumer confidence," she explained.





"This is one unusual time, and I follow it closely, where the unemployment rate is down but the dependence on subsidies -- whether it's food insecurity, housing subsidies and the rest -- has not gone down because of the wage stagnation."

"Unless we have a very significant increase in wages and bigger paychecks, we are going to increase the frustration of America's families because they'll be saying, 'Hip hip hooray, unemployment is down. What does that mean to me in my life? I need a bigger paycheck.' That's the apprehension American families have had for a while," she said.

FOX Business Network tweeted:





QUESTION: The unemployment rate in May was 3.8%, the lowest it has been in 18 years. Is that a good thing?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: Well, as I said, the unemployment rate is one indication. The -- the fact is -- and this -- this has happened before -- that people say, "Oh my goodness, that -- people saying the unemployment rate is down. Why isn't my purchasing power increasing?"

So this isn't just about the unemployment rate. It's about raising -- wages rising in our country so that consumer confidence is restored. Because our economy will never fully reach its possibilities unless we increase the consumer confidence.

And that can only be increased by a better deal, better jobs, better wages, better future, and lowering costs to families, whether it's prescription drugs -- by really lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and that list goes on.

The -- this is one unusual time, and I follow it closely, where the unemployment rate is down but the dependence on subsidies -- whether it's food insecurity, housing subsidies and the rest -- has not gone down because of the wage stagnation.

So in terms of the financial stability of America's working families, unless we have an increase -- a very significant increase in wages and bigger paychecks, we are going to increase the frustration of America's families because they'll be saying, "Hip hip hooray, unemployment is down. What does that mean to me in my life? I need a bigger paycheck."

And that's the apprehension that American families have had for a while and continue to have and that we must address.

So when we're -- when we're talking about this, it's not to increase more jobs so we can subsidize more low-paying jobs by public investment in housing support and food support and the list goes on, but to have living wages. Justice: economic justice, social justice, justice is a very important value that America has.


Watch the rest of Pelosi's weekly briefing:

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