In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, a basic principle of American economic life should be that if you work 40 hours or more a week, you don’t live in poverty. Sadly, that’s not the case today.
While large corporations make record-breaking profits and top CEOs earn about 335 times more per hour than the average worker, millions of Americans are trying to survive on totally inadequate wages. The situation has become so absurd that there isn’t a single state in America where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment.
The current $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be raised to a living wage. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to raise it to $15 an hour by 2024 and then automatically adjust it to keep up with the rising cost of living.
Since 1968, the minimum wage has lost more than 25 percent of its purchasing power. That’s a major reason why more than 43 million Americans are living in poverty. Health-care costs, childcare costs, college costs, and housing costs are all going up. Wages are not. That’s got to change.
By phasing in a pay raise for tens of millions of workers, we can improve living standards, lift millions of Americans out of poverty, and provide a much-needed boost to our economy. Our bill will raise the wages of 41 million workers, giving full-time workers an extra $3,500 a year.