Bernie Sanders on raising the minimum wage

Bernie Sanders is holding a senate hearing on why the federal minimum wage should be raised to $15 per hour.

US taxpayers should not be “forced to subsidize some of the largest and most profitable corporations in America”, Bernie Sanders told a Senate hearing on Thursday.

As Congress debates the first rise in the minimum wage in over a decade, the Vermont senator said he had “talked to too many workers in this country who, with tears in their eyes, tell me the struggles they have to provide for their kids on starvation wages” even as the chief executives of companies including McDonald’s, Walmart and others take home multi-million dollar pay packages.

Executives from Walmart and McDonald’s were invited to the hearing, titled Should Taxpayers Subsidize Poverty Wages at Large Profitable Corporations?They declined to appear.

Sanders cited a government accountability office (GAO) report that found nearly half of workers who make less than $15 an hour rely on public assistance programs that cost taxpayers $107bn each year.

Walmart spent $8.3bn on stock buybacks in 2017, the Walton family, the chain’s founders, are worth over $200bn and have increased their wealth by $50bn since the start of the pandemic, said Sanders. And yet the company “cannot afford to pay its workers at least $15 an hour”.

“If Walmart thinks they’re going to avoid answering that question because they’re not here today, they’re deeply mistaken. The American people are sick and tired of subsidizing the wealthiest family in America,” said Sanders.

I read elsewhere that Jeff Bezos could give a $105,000 dollar bonus toe every Amazon employee and still be left with as much money as he had at the beginning of the pandemic.

Sanders was on Jimmy Kimmel’s show to talk about this.


  1. publicola says

    Let’s face it: the robber-barons don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves, and if people have to starve to increase their wealth then it must be ordained by god, and is right and just.

  2. prl says

    $US15/hour would put the US at the top of the minimum wage table (by purchasing power), about $US2.40/hour above Australia, the current top of the list.

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