For those of you extolling having a parent stay at home with the children - assuming they are a good parent, that is great for the kids. That is not an option for single parents. Nor is it an option for people not making enough income with one parent. I also think it's not the wisest thing to do - what happens if the wage earner dies, or becomes disabled? and it also puts a lot of pressure on the wage earner. It's not easy to be the sole support of one's family. I'm glad Vesper was able to resume her/his career, but most stay at home moms/dads aren't able to resume their careers anywhere near where they left off after going back to the workplace.
As Aunt Spiker, mentioned above that govt. sets minimum wage, but can't force businesses to pay above that. I recommend research into income inequality; productivity has gone up since the 70s, but incomes have stagnated or gone down (part of this is do to the attacks on unions). Families have to have two incomes to have a chance of staying above water. The recent recession was in a large part due to families using money they pulled from their houses in order to make up for the income stagnation; when values crashed, they had nowhere to turn.
I happen to make a decent income; but I've had one raise since 2009, and it was pretty small. (And yes, I'm rated highly on my annual review and my company swears they value me.) Since 2009, medical costs, gas costs, and all other costs have gone up. My husband is on disability; so his income is fixed. I'm lucky I have a decent income. Others aren't so lucky and have similarly seen their costs go up while their incomes stagnate.
In this day and age, having good, affordable preschools so parents can work is important. I'm not saying every parent has to choose that option; but that's an option they should have. And that's what that part of Pres Obama's speech was saying.