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Sanders writes: "Today, for example, nearly half of the children of Wal-Mart associates receive Medicaid benefits or are uninsured. In several states, Wal-Mart has the highest percentage of employees receiving food stamps."

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty Images)
Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty Images)


Bernie Sanders: People Can't Survive on $7.25 an Hour

By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

01 January 14

 

ith minimum wages set to go up on New Year's Day in Vermont and 12 other states, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today renewed his call for an increase in the federal minimum wage.

"States and communities are not waiting for Congress to raise the minimum wage. They are doing the right thing because the simple truth is that working people cannot survive on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $8 an hour or $9 an hour. If people work 40 hours a week, they deserve not to live in dire poverty," Sanders said.

Wage increases at the state and local level are occurring in Vermont and elsewhere at a time of growing income inequality throughout the United States. In the last several years, 95 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent. "We need to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour," said Sanders. "That's why I cosponsored legislation which will soon be on the Senate floor."

Citing an Economic Policy Institute study, Sanders said that boosting the federal minimum wage would generate 85,000 new jobs and increase the take-home pay of Americans by some $35 billion. Sanders also noted that nearly 90 percent of Americans who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage are adults over the age of 20.

Raising the minimum wage also could lower the federal government deficit. Today, for example, nearly half of the children of Wal-Mart associates receive Medicaid benefits or are uninsured. In several states, Wal-Mart has the highest percentage of employees receiving food stamps. "American taxpayers should not have to subsidize the low wages at Wal-Mart to make the store's owners, already the richest family in America, even richer," Sanders said.

Some Republicans in Congress not only oppose raising the minimum wage but want to scrap the minimum wage law altogether. Overwhelming numbers of Americans disagree. A new ABC/Washington Post poll showed that two-thirds of Americans support raising the minimum wage. Sixty-four percent of independents and even 57 percent of Republicans favor increasing the minimum wage, according to a recent CBS News poll.

The real value of the federal minimum wage has fallen by more than 30 percent since 1968. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be more than $10.70 per hour today.

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-27 # Walter J Smith 2014-01-01 13:53
Hey, Bernie, tell us how the F-35 boondoggle gives the people more than it takes away from the people and gives to the wealthiest, most irresponsible, war mongering criminals in the world?
 
 
+46 # Barbara K 2014-01-01 15:11
Have the government either give a substantial wage increase that equals the rise in the cost of living, or have all the companies roll back the prices to 7 years ago price and product quantities. They used to have price rollbacks a few decades ago. Now we are paying twice as much for half the amount of product. Cans and boxes of food all WAY downsized.

..
 
 
+44 # MidwesTom 2014-01-01 15:31
A far more successful way to improve the job m market would be to mandate the any firm selling 5,000 or more of any item must manufacture 40% of those items in this country.

WalMart buys mens under ware from a Saudi owned factory in Ethiopia that makes 5000 pairs per day. If you shop at Walmart you promote outsourcing.
 
 
-30 # MidwesTom 2014-01-01 15:32
The other way to raise wages is to take the President Truman approach and make it illegal to hire an illegal. Wages would rise as the supply of labor would decline.
 
 
+28 # RHytonen 2014-01-01 17:20
Quoting MidwesTom:
The other way to raise wages is to take the President Truman approach and make it illegal to hire an illegal. Wages would rise as the supply of labor would decline.

That would be true if the data supported what you've been told about "The illegal problem."
I'd look around you first and see just what jobs they're getting.
And the money their having a false SS# puts into the OASI fund without getting anything for it.
THEN look up that data - and not on Fox or some Industry or RW think tank's website.
 
 
+17 # Anarchist 23 2014-01-01 20:13
Hmmm..repeal NAFTA and many of the undocumented workers could remain in their own country since its economy will no longer be decimated by unfair advantages allowed by the treaty. Grant all undocumented workers who have been here 5 years a green card, clear a path to citizenship and help them unionize on the job: corporations love to bust unions with gain good wages by using undocumented vulnerable workers as opposition pawns. We now lin=ve in a world where so much can be automated that there is and will continue to be structural unemployment. Let the collective We, acting through government, create jobs in the arts, in construction for public infrastructure and other things that enhance the lives of We the People. Economics is only a game...why should we suffer for a game, no matter how real the 'winners' think it is?
 
 
+8 # CarolynScarr 2014-01-02 01:28
Got to repeal NAFTA. I knew when I first saw NAFTA with its provision that the US could subsidize agribusiness but that Mexico was prohibited from assisting its farmers that there would be a vast influx of Mexican farmers driven off their land by US agribusiness corn. They come here because they have been robbed of their livelihoods.

And now we have the TPP and its give-aways to corporations. Not only will we have corporate personhood to deal with. We will have corporate bigger than nationhood when they can overturn our health and labor laws in their phony tribunals.

So heads up, folks. We have everything to lose. Call your senators and your congressperson and tell them to vote against FAST TRACK, which is where they will slip this in under the rug without our being able to read the text until it's too late -- if then.

There is a free number to call the congressional switchboard. 1-866-338-1015 Ask the operator to connect you to their office.
 
 
+17 # reiverpacific 2014-01-01 21:26
Quoting MidwesTom:
The other way to raise wages is to take the President Truman approach and make it illegal to hire an illegal. Wages would rise as the supply of labor would decline.


What a load of unsubstantiated , racist, isolationist cobblers.
Next time you eat at Taco Bell or another of the appalling faux-Mexican chains that serve shit-meat and slave-labor-pic ked veg' in Tacos or Burritos (I never actually had a Burrito over the length or breadth of Mexico), ask who picks their tomatoes, lettuce, beans for their Frijoles and the other goop you get as filling, whilst being directly sprayed with the same crop-dusted insecticides you will enjoy with your plate of slops!
Bet they won't tell you -but then their up-front drive-through or counter employee is likely gettin' slave pay, no benefits, no overtime or paid time off too, so why should they care?!
They are equal-oppoprtun ity whip-hands and robber barons!
 
 
+6 # overanddone 2014-01-02 04:55
The most valuable workers for the construction trades in NJ is a Costa Rica immigrant, with a green card, read drivers license. A construction company owner for 27 years, I would double my work output if more of these hard workers were allowed a way to work and live here legally. These men have starting wages with no experiences of over 12 dollars an hour, quickly getting 15 to 18 plus dollars an hour with experience. 50 to 60 hour weeks are the norm. I have in the past 20 years had zero Anglo American workers last more than a few months, usually only a day or too. It is fun interesting but hard work and American works who take manual skilled labor jobs have never learned the # rule of keeping a job, SHOW UP. South American and Mexican immigrants have the hands down advantage of knowing this rule and obeying it religiously.
 
 
+42 # DPM 2014-01-01 15:47
STOP. SHOPPING. AT. WAL-MART! Go elsewhere. Even as other stores are doing the same, breaking Wal-Mart would, eventually, break the others. Tell everyone you know, not to shop there and if they still do, tell them what they are doing to their fellow citizens. Shame them, if necessary. DO NOT SHOP AT WAL-MART!
 
 
+15 # RHytonen 2014-01-01 17:14
Quoting DPM:
STOP. SHOPPING. AT. WAL-MART! Go elsewhere. Even as other stores are doing the same, breaking Wal-Mart would, eventually, break the others. Tell everyone you know, not to shop there and if they still do, tell them what they are doing to their fellow citizens. Shame them, if necessary. DO NOT SHOP AT WAL-MART!

That only works if you can AFFORD to shop elsewere.
I wonder if you realize how few can.
 
 
+3 # Cassandra2012 2014-01-02 13:29
Costco!
 
 
-44 # MidwesTom 2014-01-01 16:03
" If people work 40 hours a week, they deserve not to live in dire poverty," Sanders said."

Unfortunately the 30 hour workweek has become thee standard for many low wage workers thanks the Obamacare, and the desire of employers to avoid providing insurance. This is part of the reason that unemployment statistics have been improving. If an employer needs 120 hours of coverage he can hire three people and pay for their insurance, or hire four and not have to pay.
 
 
+27 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-01 17:10
Tom just not true. I don't know where you get your Obamacare info but you must not listen to right leaning 'news' or politicians. Companies already went to the 30 hour or part time week to not have ot pay benefits including health insurance more than 10 years ago. Why? Because of the increased cost of private health insurance to companies and individuals. This is one of the main drivers that has left people out without any safety net of health insurance. It's a disgusting fact. And disgusting what the Rightie's can't be Wrongies lie right in your and my face about today .. which is why i say they are corrupt as Hell! Happy New Year Tom ... it will get better with Obamacare .. though it's only one step to a solution of single payer which would take insurance companies completely out of the equation ..
 
 
+22 # joe_me 2014-01-01 17:53
Affordable healthcare law requires company pay insurance for full time workers at companies with a minimum 50 employees. No mom and pop is required to supply health insurance. The companies abusing this law are just thiefs, crooks that would lie, cheat, steal from their own mother. Obamacare as you call it is good by providing insurance to a potential pool of current 50M uninsured at a reasonable cost, some 2m have already signed up with the figure increasing daily. Those against this law are ones with health insurance, egotist, selfish and could care less about others. Hope this law bankrupts all the greedy, abusive insurance companies out their with pre existing condition rules & other non sense.
 
 
+1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-02 19:52
Prior to this bill which exempts companies with less than 50 to not have to provide insurance that was the case. Now companies with 50 or more will try to stay 49 or less full timers with the rest less than full time. You can't blame a company for trying to save money and their bottom line. That's why ObamaCare is not yet nor it will be The Solution .. though it is in that it challenges the present and broken healthcare model to try to make it better ..
 
 
+17 # Mrcead 2014-01-01 18:01
If companies spent as much time improving working conditions as they do finding legal loopholes, there would be no need to find loopholes because companies would be more productive.
 
 
+18 # Susan1989 2014-01-01 20:38
This is why we need to get health insurance out of the workplace...and provide universal insurance for all.
 
 
+7 # humanmancalvin 2014-01-02 00:28
Back away from Fox-Non-News & their absurdly wrong stories. Repeating Foxisms does not make one appear very bright.
 
 
+20 # James Marcus 2014-01-01 16:27
The Same Folks who run 'The Walmarts', Banks and Military Industrial Complex, World -Wide, also run 'Our' Government; Lock, Stock and, by far, most of the so-called 'Peoples Representatives '; ...who allow, organize, and "legalize' such Rape of the People.
 
 
-36 # Joeconserve 2014-01-01 16:51
So, the job wage should no longer be based on degree of difficulty of the task to be performed and what a person needs to bring to the job in terms of education and capability? Why go to school, then? Why prepare onseself if all you have to do is show up and claim hardship?
 
 
+16 # RHytonen 2014-01-01 17:12
Quoting Joeconserve:
So, the job wage should no longer be based on degree of difficulty of the task to be performed and what a person needs to bring to the job in terms of education and capability? Why go to school, then? Why prepare onseself if all you have to do is show up and claim hardship?

Read The Meritocracy Myth.
Then take a look at today's job market in America - there isn't one.
You say you have a job? Great.
But look into ALL the reasons WHY.
Then ask: "For how long?"
 
 
-20 # Joeconserve 2014-01-01 17:41
You make absolutely no sense!
 
 
+14 # reiverpacific 2014-01-01 21:43
Quoting Joeconserve:
You make absolutely no sense!


You never did in y'r few incursions into RSN!
Actually, I'll offer you a challenge.
Work as many hours as the slave masters will give you at a vegetable picking job in any and all weathers whilst being sprayed with insecticide from a crop-duster (I'm not making this up), repetitive drudgery in a fast food prep-depot or kitchen, part of a packaging assembly line under unrealistic, high-pressure delivery dates (as in Amazon) or as a disposable, unacknowledged drone jokingly entitled "associates" (except for publicity stunts) in Walmart, get to know your co-workers and their education, former professional and life histories and get back to me afterwards.
Since you last crawled out from under y'r isolationist rock, there has been established an emerging class since 2008 called officially (at least in Oregon) the "New Poor" who have had their expensive educations, experience and usefulness ripped out from under them by the same criminals you would no doubt defend as "doing Gods work" (their phrase, not mine) as Wall Street speculators and exploitative bankers in the "Land of the Free (if you can afford it)".
Please morph' back to y'r blinkered li'l ol' Norman Rockwell world but don't pollute this forum with it unless you have something constructive to add.
Happy Hogmanay (New Year), if you are capable of it.
 
 
0 # Alfwyn 2014-01-07 21:52
Bravo, reiver!
 
 
+15 # Mrcead 2014-01-01 17:53
Wages are supposed to keep pace with inflation and cost of living. This period marks the first time in history where it doesn't and the reasons are completely arbitrary.
 
 
+15 # tabonsell 2014-01-01 20:01
Hell no. Income for the workers should be based on how much wealth they create for the firm they are working for.

For productivity, and thus company income, to increase greatly as it has been doing for the past three decades and pay not to follow suit is a "crime." That's why a guaranteed profit sharing program is more important than an increase in the minimum wage. That wage should be set at $12 an hour and all profit after that is to be divided between the owners and the workers. As productivity goes up, income and profit for the company goes up, so workers pay would also go up.

Anything less is unacceptable.
 
 
-1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-02 19:56
Education gives you a template from which to operate not necessarily one option to work in one arena. In fact it teaches you how to think better and adapt in difficult situations and problem solve. Hardship is a part of life. How we deal with it is the most important part ...
 
 
+8 # RHytonen 2014-01-01 17:08
If they work full time that's approximately what our seniors on Social Security have to live on.

But their medical (copay, drugs etc.) expenses are even higher.
 
 
-13 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-01 17:14
Single payer is what we need for health insurance All The Wayer! Why? Because then one could get paid the minimum if you didn't like the shit job you could move on. Low wage minimum wage jobs just get people by. There are meant to be temporary ..... Students .. kids first jobs in the market place ... older folks seeking part time to subsidize their income etc .. this won't solve the big problem just raising the minimum wage .. the world does not owe you a living nor does the government though i believe in governmental help .. to get INDEPENDENT!!!
 
 
+14 # Anarchist 23 2014-01-01 20:16
Did you not read the article? Most of the new jobs created are low wage jobs so how does one move from low wage work to high wage work? In this economy (and I read it in an issue of Fortune magazine) a Yale law graduate could not get work in his field because there are now computer programs that can do the entry level legal work he might have gotten...Yale Law school! What chance does a lesser person have?
 
 
+1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-02 19:22
Kathymoi has it correct. What i'm saying is if it just took raising the minimum wage would solve it all i would go with it but it won't. The Dems supposedly back the poor job sectors and Repubs against it. The truth is the Dems have a new Nafta in South America .. sending jobs overseas to low wage world market while acting like they support labor here at home .. it's all a big ruse .. both parties sold it all out in the new world economy .. and in King George and his invasion of Iraq .. took his dadie's line 'New World Order' to an entire new meaning .. Yavol Heir commandant (SP)!!!
 
 
+4 # Kathymoi 2014-01-02 09:54
You mention the problem that minimum wage jobs like stocking shelves at WalMart and serving hamburgers at MacDonalds are supposed to be temporary jobs, for college kids and retired persons or others who only want part time work or a temporary job until they get a better one. The problem is that better jobs are not very available. 40 or 50 years ago, there were shoe stores, jewelry stores, toy stores, drug stores, stationary stores, all kinds of shops, each owned by a local merchant who employed the full range of support a business needs, from minimum wage jobs like cleaning and cashier jobs to better paid services like purchaser, accountant, advertsing writer. These stores purchased their products from manufacturers located in the US. Manufacturers paid workers pretty well and those workers had full time jobs that supported a family. Walmart has done away with almost all of the locally owned shops and the good jobs and incomes that went with them. Walmart has consolidated manufacture into one big supplier of each type of merchandise and helped that supplier move to China for cheap labor. The jobs lost through Walmart's business model have not been replaced or replaceable. We need to address the devastation to our economy by the Walmart takeover of retail and supplier practices. We need to do something to reverse the consolidation of wealth and ownership of business in order to create business opportunity and job opportunity other than minimum wage jobs working for chains
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2014-01-02 12:25
Quoting BKnowswhitt:
Single payer is what we need for health insurance All The Wayer! Why? Because then one could get paid the minimum if you didn't like the shit job you could move on. Low wage minimum wage jobs just get people by. There are meant to be temporary ..... Students .. kids first jobs in the market place ... older folks seeking part time to subsidize their income etc .. this won't solve the big problem just raising the minimum wage .. the world does not owe you a living nor does the government though i believe in governmental help .. to get INDEPENDENT!!!


Check out the Italian solution, which gives a LUMP SUM equivalent to (I forget how many months of) unemployment insurance, on the condition that they use it to start a business -they also offer professional guidance for the set-up.
Now THAT'S a creative solution we could surely all get behind in reducing unemployment, encouraging enterprise and creativity in so many directions, helping the economy and giving individuals a goal and sense of self-worth.
But perhaps that's the LAST thing the current crop of Plutocrats want, innit??!!
 
 
+2 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-02 20:21
There would be a % of people who'd use it to get their act better and there would be a % that would game it. Being successful a better plan to it in my view would be. Cheap affordable or Free Education and that includes colleges and universities .. the more educated the more successful .. all facts proven .. i don't know the results when you hand hold someone .. and give them dough .. especially in todays environs .. of course unless it's corporate welfare ..
 
 
+16 # aitengri 2014-01-01 17:22
Quoting Joeconserve:
Why prepare onseself if all you have to do is show up and claim hardship?

Joe, your grammar is correct, but your thinking is hopelessly flawed, when you say the person showing up for work is claiming hardship. Do you know the meaning of "non sequitur"? What preparation are you talking about, in the case of a bottom rung job? What are you conserving, sir? Your dividend payment? Or, possibly, you are on the rung of the ladder just above the bottom guy. Well, in that case, you'd benefit proportionately . That's why I suspect you're not working on that 2nd rung of the ladder after all.
 
 
-18 # Joeconserve 2014-01-01 17:46
Your not referring to the first part of my comment implies that you don't have a good response to the need to be prepared for any job. Is washing dishes equate in terms of difficulty to, say, auto repair, thus wages should be the same?
 
 
+1 # oprichniki 2014-01-01 17:44
The American governments are run by cockroaches!
 
 
+19 # angelfish 2014-01-01 17:53
I don't understand WHY anyone would NOT want to increase the Minimum Wage. WHY don't they want to see this Country RECOVER from the Debacle CAUSED by Bush & Co.? It would ALMOST make one believe that they were in League with Al Queda or the Taliban by the way they have tried to ruin poor Americans who can't find any work. The reason being that there is NO Work to be found in this Country since they shipped everything to Third World Gulags, one of which we're slowly becoming. Maybe once they succeed they'll bring back the Jobs that will pay peanuts on the dollar so the Rich continue in their Greed and Avarice while the rest of us drown in our destitution! Pitiful!
 
 
+3 # Kathymoi 2014-01-02 09:39
Yes. That's the plan.
 
 
+4 # djnova50 2014-01-01 18:39
My income is from Social Security. If you were to average my monthly income over a 40 hour work week, it would be less than $5 an hour. I do not have food stamps; but, do live in subsidized housing. Based upon my income and others with similar low incomes, I think I would rather see the prices of consumer goods go lower. But, they keep going higher.
 
 
-32 # Penn 2014-01-01 18:41
Bernie keep proving why he is a communist joke. And Vermont is a total joke of state for electing him. My company has forbidden any of our employees from vacationing or spending any money in Vermont. If anyone does, they can expect to be shown the door within a few months. Simple enough to control how we let our money flow since we are an "at will" state. Bernie and his supporters are parasites and we will not let him, or them, feast on our money fow.
 
 
+10 # Anarchist 23 2014-01-01 20:20
Hey Penn..don't let your people come to NM either! It's full of old hippies, radicals, (Mark Rudd of the Columbia U take over of'68 lives here..or did) illegal weed farmers, Latinos and Native Americans...def initely not your kind of state at all!
 
 
+3 # RODNOX 2014-01-01 21:31
you never cease to amaze .....you are like the abused wife staying with the abusive husband---
 
 
+7 # humanmancalvin 2014-01-02 00:34
Penn...sounds like a wonderful work environment where the employers run their workers life while they are off the clock. Would this particular job be in Somalia because it sure doesn't sound like an American company treating their employees with such an iron fist?
 
 
+2 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-02 19:25
You fucking company tells it's employees to not go somewhere in america and spend their money. That's facism pal the worst kind. Fuck your fucking company and your fucking bosses and your fucking dumbass fascist self!! you dont' know what communism is you asshole!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!
 
 
+2 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-02 20:06
Sorry folks i reply to myself i let this guy push my buttons. Sorry for the F Bombs that gets us nowhere! My bad. Period ..
 
 
+20 # angelfish 2014-01-01 18:48
Hey Penn! WHERE do you live? This USED to be a FREE Country where people could do whatever they liked within the letter of the Law. So, now you're telling me that people in your Company can be fired for vacationing in Vermont? Better not let the Attorney General know WHO your Company is, they might get subpoenaed to testify as to why they prohibit their workers from asserting their Civil Rights.
 
 
+18 # debdellapiana 2014-01-01 20:47
Let's face some facts: I don't work for Walmart, but I do work in retail as an hourly employee. I started working at the company in 2005 at $8.00/hr. It's now 2014, and I haven't even gotten to $12.00/hr yet. That's an average raise of less than a buck a year. Come on, people.

Don't start with this communism shit. It has nothing to do with communism. This is about people in this country being paid in order to keep up with the cost of living. It's atrocious that this nation has so many people in this situation.
 
 
+5 # tomslockett 2014-01-02 06:36
Set it at $15 with annual adjustments for increases in productivity. Modify trade laws so every nation is benefitted and not penalized by raising pay to a livable wage. A tariff should be applied to increase the cost of goods from countries that exploit their workers equal to the difference in cost for an equivalent of $15 minimum wage in that country, also adjusted annually for productivity of that country. That would place money in the hands of consumers worldwide and cause the world economy, quality of life, and yes, business, to boom.
 
 
+1 # rangerrandy 2014-01-02 10:53
Jeez Tomslockett, what a revolutionary, unique and obvious solution to the worlds economic problems. I'm also sure that like most of us normally intelligent people, it took you about 30 seconds to knock that jewel out.This means? Well just mainly that the movers and shakers of this rock we abide on don't much give a shit what happens , long as they get theirs ... in spades....
 
 
+3 # Kathymoi 2014-01-02 09:37
Raising the minimum should be a gradual and regular measure taken every few years to keep up with rising costs due to inflation. We should begin a gradual increase now, and not a huge jump that would result in prices going up to match the increased spending power instead of the other way around.
However, raising the minimum wage is not a solution to the problem of lack of job opportunity in our country. We have a situation in which about 40% of the people who are working at all are working part time for minimum wage, mostly for Walmart and fast food companies like MacDonald's. This is not a healthy economic scenario for America. We not only need to raise the minimum wage, gradually, a little every few years to keep up with cost of living, but we need to drastically change the shape of business in the United States so that there are more kinds of jobs available, more employers, more businesses, more local businesses, more distributed ownership of businesses and market share. The consolidation of retail business, the consolidation of banking business, the consolidation of media ownership, the consolidation of wealth and ownership in our country is immoral. We've passed anti trust laws before to give the public a chance in the business world. We passed labor laws and created unions to give the public a chance as employees. Then all those protections got lost, at least meaningfully lost. We need new forms of those laws for our current situation, and to enforce them.
 

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