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Millions of Americans falling behind economically: Sanders

People rally at New York’s City Hall Park to demand a higher minimum wage in November 2022. (File photo)

Senator Bernie Sanders says millions of Americans are falling further and further behind economically, at a time of massive and growing income and wealth inequality in the United States.

In an article published by the Guardian on Monday, Sanders, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committe, shed light on the life condition of the American working class, who “work 40 hours a week” but still “live in poverty.

“At a time of massive and growing income and wealth inequality and record-breaking corporate profits, we must stand up for working families – many of whom are struggling every day to provide a minimal standard of living for their families,” the senator added.

Millions of Americans, he said, are “unable to afford the housing, food, healthcare, childcare and education they desperately need in order to live in health and dignity.”

“Congress can no longer ignore the needs of the working class of this country,” Sanders wrote.

it was due to years of congressional inaction, Sanders wrote, that "cities and states all across the country are taking the low-wage crisis into their own hands and raising their minimum wage. Some are doing it through legislative action. Others are doing it through ballot initiatives."

He asserted that nobody in the country should be forced to work for starvation wages this year.

“It should be a basic truism that in the US, the richest country on earth, if you work 40 hours a week you do not live in poverty,” he said.

To this end, Sanders said the government has to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage. 

“Raising the minimum wage is not only the right thing to do morally,” he said. “It is also good economics.”

"Putting money into the hands of people who will spend it on basic needs is a strong economic stimulant,” the senator added.

According to Sanders, over 60% of American workers are now living paycheck to paycheck.

He said that “when the life expectancy of low-income Americans is in decline, when we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country, we can no longer tolerate a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, a wage that has not been raised since 2009.”

Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, who ran for president in 2016 and 2020 as a Democrat, has been a fierce critic of Republicans, particularly former president Donald Trump.

He has also been unafraid to point out what he sees as flaws in Democratic strategy.

Before midterm elections in November, Sandres criticized Democrats for not doing enough to motivate voters around the economic issues that have an impact on everyday life.

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