It took Sen. Bernie Sanders less than a minute on MSNBC to completely destroy the Republican arguments against raising the minimum wage.
Sen. Sanders said,
Look. Here’s the story. The story is that the national minimum wage is seven and a quarter an hour. I think most people understand that’s a starvation wage. Individuals can’t live on it. Families can’t live on it. If we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, which to my mind doesn’t go as far as it should, that would be a raise for 30 million Americans, vast majority of them are adults. And that’s just not people making seven and a quarter an hour. It’s people making eight bucks an hour, nine dollars an hour.
And at a time when almost all new income is going to the top 1%, it is time that working people, lower income workers get a raise, and we have got to do that. Now if the Republicans refuse to go along with that, and I very much hope that they will go along with it. I hope they understand that the overwhelming majority of the American people across the political spectrum understand that we have got to raise the minimum wage, so I hope that we can get this done.
Sen. Sanders (I-VT) took apart the major myths that form the backbone of the Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage. The Vermont senator pointed out that most minimum wage workers are adults. There are families who are trying to live off of the minimum wage. These people can’t live off of $7.25 an hour, and that minimum wage earners are working are the working poor.
Americans who are earning the minimum wage aren’t students who are working after school jobs. They aren’t living with mom and dad. These are adults who are working in mostly service industries to support themselves, and/or their families. Raising the minimum wage would be a huge step towards lifting millions of people out of poverty.
If Republicans want to lessen the need for food stamps and other assistance programs, the best way to do this would be to reward work by increasing the minimum wage.
It took Bernie Sanders about a minute to destroy the Republican rationale for not raising the minimum wage, and if Republicans try to argue this issue they will face a similar kind of humiliation as political leaders on the left will easily dismantle their conservatives myths and old wives’ tales surrounding the economic damage that is caused by increasing the minimum wage.
As Sen. Sanders demonstrated, Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the minimum wage. House Republicans never met an unpopular position that they couldn’t embrace, but if they choose to fight this losing battle it could cost them their seats in 2014.
America’s low wage workers have had enough, and Senators like Bernie Sanders are leading the charge against income inequality born out of starvation wages.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association