Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned that the U.S. is going to become a third-world country if paychecks keep shrinking.
Sanders was responding Wednesday to a report from the Social Security Administration that revealed half of all wage earners in the country made $28,031.02 in 2013. Thirty-nine percent made less than $20,000 per year.
“The latest report from the Social Security Administration makes it clear that the American economy continues a 40-year trend of moving in the direction of becoming a Third World country where the vast majority of people are struggling to keep their heads above water while the richest people in the country have never had it so good,” Sanders said in a statement.
The SSA found wages went down for most workers, on average, from 2012 salaries.
“What this new report shows, and what many other studies have shown over the last 40 years, is that the United States is experiencing the kind of obscene levels of wealth and income inequality that are not unusual in impoverished third world countries,” Sanders said. “Since 1999, median income has gone down by nearly $5,000 and more Americans are working longer hours for lower wages.”
“If we don’t act boldly to create millions of new jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, increase the minimum wage to a living wage, and end our disastrous trade policies, the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a Third World economy. We have got to act with a fierce sense of urgency to rebuild the disappearing middle class.”
The 73-year-old self-proclaimed socialist may be eyeing a 2016 presidential run and has made several trip to Iowa to gauge sentiment on the left.
“I am giving thought to running for president. But it is a very, very difficult decision. Not an easy decision,” Sanders told CNN early this month. “I have to assess whether there is the kind of support necessary all over this country in terms of a unprecedented grassroots movement prepared to take on the billionaire class that have so much power. That’s what I’m trying to ascertain right now.”
Sanders is proposing to kick-start job growth by raising the minimum wage to “at least” $10.10 per hour, investing $1 trillion in infrastructure construction, shifting to renewable energy and “rewriting our trade policies to make sure that American corporations invest in the U.S. and not in China.”