If you feel like you're working harder and longer than your parents did, yet not doing as well as they did, Nick Hanauer points to one reason why: overtime pay. "Your parents got a lot of it, and you don't," writes the Seattle-based entrepreneur on Politico. Back in 1975, more than 65% of salaried US workers were entitled to mandatory overtime pay. But "the salary level at which employers are required to pay overtime ... has been allowed to erode to less than the poverty line for a family of four today," and now only workers who earn less than $23,660 per year qualify—just 11% of salaried workers in 2013.
"And so business owners like me have been able to make the other 89% of you work unlimited overtime hours for no additional pay at all," Hanauer writes. But President Obama could easily fix this, raising the overtime threshold to $69,000 to get us back to the 1975 peak level. He could do this without approval from Congress, and if he did, it would mean "10.4 million middle-class Americans with more money in their pockets or more time to spend with friends and family." Plus, if businesses don't want to pay overtime? They have to hire more workers, boosting the economy. Click for his full column. (Read more overtime stories.)