On Jan. 24, Sen. Bernie Sanders submitted a seven step economic plan on rebuilding the middle class to the Senate Budget Committee.
Sanders, a ranking member of the committee, submitted the report hoping to shed light on economic issues that would otherwise not be included in the Congressional Budget Office's report, scheduled to be submitted to the committee on Jan. 26. The CBO report aims to guide the committee on the state of the economy and policy projections.
“It will not, however, tell us about the suffering of tens of millions of Americans who are part of the disappearing middle class, and who worry about the kind of economy we will be leaving their kids,” Sanders, who is an independent senator from Vermont, explained.
While he did acknowledge current economic growth and job creation as steps in the right direction, the report says the focus should continue to be on the federal deficit. His worries include what he calls an "obscene" level of income and wealth inequality, high unemployment, collapsing infrastructure, declining family income and education, high child poverty rates, and an increasing trade deficit.
Sanders says his concerns need solutions. He laid out seven priorities he believes the committee and the nation should focus on.
The top two priorities to address are the jobs and infrastructure deficit. Sanders wants to address the 40-year decline of the middle class through a federal jobs program by “investing $1 trillion over five years” to create “at least 13 million good-paying jobs that our economy desperately needs.”
To address the income deficit, Sanders calls to raise the minimum wage and expand overtime protections for American workers. Wealth inequality is also an issue he addressed.
“Today, the richest 400 Americans own more that $2.3 trillion in wealth, more than the bottom 150 million Americans combined,” Sanders writes. “We cannot allow this to continue. This is absurd.”
His fifth priority is what he calls the retirement deficit that leaves millions of Americans without enough savings to retire properly. He says Social Security is extremely important and that it “shouldn't be privatized, its benefits shouldn't be cut, and the retirement age shouldn't be raised.”
His last two priorities address education and trade. Sanders wants to help graduates who leave college with high debt burdens and rewrite trade rules “so that American jobs are no longer our No. 1 export.”