Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders yelled his support for the $15 minimum wage through a bullhorn Sunday.
Sanders made his comments while addressing a crowd of $15 minimum wage advocates outside the Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C. He promised the rally participants the policy would be a top priority if he is elected president.
“I’ve been pleased to march and struggle with all workers in this country who are fighting for $15 an hour and a union,” Sanders told the crowd in a video taken by ABC News. “We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world, people should not have to work for starvation wages.”
Sanders has attended rallies in support of the policy throughout his campaign. He also introduced a bill in July that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. His primary rival Hillary Clinton only supports a $12 an hour minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.
“We are making progress,” Sanders continued. “There are cities and states moving in the direction of $15 an hour. That is my goal, if elected president that is what I will fight for.”
No state has passed a $15 minimum wage but New York has made progress. State Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo unilaterally raised wages for those working in the fast-food industry, state university workers and state employees. He also introduced a bill Sept. 10 that will gradually bring the state minimum wage to $15 by 2021 if passed by the legislature. Conservative opposition research group AR Squared (AR2) argues the policy does nothing to actually help the poor while putting stress on businesses.
“In his quest to out-liberal the rest of the Democrat field, socialist Bernie Sanders is doubling down on a policy that economists say will kill millions of jobs without helping lower-income
California, Florida and Massachusetts have also been debating the policy. While states have not yet made the leap, some cities have. Seattle was the first to pass a $15 minimum wage back in June, 2014. San Francisco and Los Angeles followed not long after. The measures are designed to gradually increase the minimum wage in the hopes of mitigating the negative economic impact.
Seattle businesses have already started to report problems because of the increase. Nevertheless, advocates claim the policy will help the poor by allowing them to more easily afford basic necessities, while the increased spending would stimulate economic activity.
His support from the $15 minimum wage has helped Sanders earn a lot of support among local union chapters. Clinton, however, has been able to secure more support among national unions. The $15 minimum wage has been a top priority for unions and many Democrats. The union-backed Fight for $15 movement has been at the forefront of the policy push.
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