Following the Republican vote against even discussing minimum wage, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sat down with Alex Wagner on MSNBC today to talk about why it’s important to raise the minimum and what exactly happened to the Republican party that caused it to swing so far to the right.
Bernie Sanders stated that this is not the Republican party of Dwight D. Eisenhower; that party was a moderate conservative party. The Republicans of today, according to Sanders and probably the rest of reality, are a group of right-wing extremists who have bought the Koch-line that minimum wage is bad, and government intervention is bad, and will engrave that line on our headstones if they’re given that opportunity. Sanders said that, if followed through, this logic could result in people working in high unemployment areas on wages that are only $3.00 or $4.00 an hour.
Sanders stated that it’s necessary for us to raise the minimum wage. If we’re going to allow the system to be gamed in favor of the big money interests, then the least that we can do is increase the living wage of most people; especially since the majority of people on minimum wage aren’t teens working for a few bucks after school, but are adults with families.
[box type=”shadow”]The tragic reality is that today, in America, you have millions and millions of adults, many of them trying to raise families, while working 40 hours a week, and they’re living in poverty, and that’s not what this country should be about. It really does astound me that at a time when our Republican friends in the house are voting to give huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and large corporations, they don’t have any thoughts to at least give us a $10.10 minimum wage, which would take so many people out of poverty. … [T]his is not just teenage kids getting after school money. These are people trying to raise a family, who understand that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, the price of food, the price of gas … that has soared in recent years. Minimum wage has not. So to my mind, if we want to address the issue of income inequality in America, where the people on top are doing so well, when so many people are hurting, at the least, you’ve got to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; I would go further than that, but that is an important step forward.[/box]
Sanders is no stranger when it comes to batting for the middle class and the working poor. He’s called out Republicans in the past for their hypocrisy regarding the unemployment benefits, and it should surprise nobody that he’s doing it again today.
You can watch the interview between Alex Wagner and Bernie Sanders below: