Sanders Dismisses Inflation Concerns About Minimum Wage Hike: "You May Pay A Couple Cents More For A Hamburger At McDonalds"

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JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Senator, up next is Cameron Miller (ph).

He is a filmmaker who has a question about minimum wage.

Cameron, good to see you.

CAMERON MILLER: Oh, thank you.

Thank you.

I'm all about everyone making as much money as they possibly can. However, if we increase the minimum wage, how do we ensure that that cost isn't passed onto the consumer?

SANDERS: OK. Here's where we are right now.

We have a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That's where we're at. You can do the arithmetic as well as I do. Multiple that number, or multiply $9.00 an hour or $10 an hour 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. And you know what? You come up with a sum, with an income that nobody can live on and certainly cannot bring up a family on.

All right. So here is my radical idea. You ready for a radical idea?

(CHEERS)

All right. My radical idea is that in America if somebody works 40 hours a week that person should not live in poverty. All right? That's the radical idea. I believe we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage, and that is $15 an hour over the next several years.

(APPLAUSE)

And I am proud to tell you I have been on picket lines with fast food workers in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. And these people deserve an enormous amount of credit for their courage. And we are making real progress.

Cities now like Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco are beginning, have passed legislation to raise the minimum wage over a period of years to $15 an hour.

Bottom line is in America today we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality. Rich are getting much, much richer. Top 20 wealthiest people in America now own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of America, 150 million people.

What my campaign is about is saying we are going to have an economy that works for working families and not just the top 1 percent. One part of that is to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, $15 an hour.

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: How do we ensure that once we increase that to $15 an hour that we're not creating a situation where those same people are now below the poverty line because prices are going to -- I would assume prices are going to increase.

SANDERS: Prices — look, the truth is yes, you may end up paying a few cents more for a hamburger at McDonalds. But you will be, if you're that worker going from $8.00 or $10 an hour to $15 an hour, you're going to be a lot better off.

And I'll tell you something else. We have 47 million people living in poverty today. We have people who go to emergency food shelves who work 40 hours a week, but they're not earning enough money to provide for their family.

When we put money into the hands of working people, you know what, when that happens they can go out and buy products. They can go shopping. And when they do that, they create jobs.

So instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires and thinking that's going to trickle on down, my view is you put money into the hands of working people who spend it and then create more jobs.

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