Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who recently announced a bid for the Democratic nomination for President, strengthened his campaign’s talking points on May 2 when he commented on the federal minimum wage.
Speaking at an AFL-CIO union event in North Conway, New Hampshire, Sanders, who describes himself as a “democratic-socialist,” criticized the federal government’s position on the current minimum wage.
“That’s a starvation wage,” Sanders said of the federal government’s current rate at $7.25 per hour.
“Anyone who works 40 hours a week in America should not be in poverty. That’s the simple reality,” he added.
The veteran politician also attacked wealthier Americans and corporations by insinuating that the tax rates in America are unjust to poor and middle class families.
“They stash their money in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other hidden tax havens around the world,” Sanders said of rich Americans and wealthy banks and businesses.
“It is time they rejoin the United States of America. It is time they start paying their fair share of taxes,” he continued.
Since announcing his candidacy on April 30, Sanders has received widespread support from liberal Democratic donors. According to the National Sun Times, Sanders raised $1.5 million on the first day his campaign was official, ranking higher than the inaugural campaigns of Republicans Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. These funds were raised without the help of a super PAC, which Sanders proclaimed he would not form.
However, Sanders still has a tough battle before winning the Democratic nomination. He heavily trails frontrunner Hillary Clinton in nearly every poll and still lacks the funds to campaign effectively against her. Sanders may have an edge over the former U.S. Secretary of State since he is seen as the more liberal of the two and could possibly win over that section of the Democratic electorate.
Also, Sanders’ comments on the minimum wage and taxes are beliefs he has stood by for years. In August 2013, Sanders criticized Walmart for their “starvation wages” and said that top executives should understand the needs of their employees.
“Many of the workers in Walmart end up getting Medicaid, they get food stamps, they get affordable housing paid for by the taxpayers while the Walton family remains the wealthiest family in America," Sanders said at the time, according to the Huffington Post. "If that is not obscene, I don’t know what is."
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Photo Credit: Ben Swann, thehill.com