Bernie Sanders: Ordinary Taxpayers Subsidize Wal-Mart's Low Wages


Sen. Bernie Sanders joined CNN's Dana Bash Sunday morning to talk about his speech to the Wal-Mart shareholders' meeting this week:

BASH: OK, senator, you were in Arkansas this week at a Walmart leadership meeting where you called on the company to raise its entry-level pay from $11 an hour to $15 an hour. But they're already paying almost $4 above the federal minimum wage. And Congress, which you're a part of, is not doing anything to raise that. So, why should Walmart raise its wages on its own when it's already paying more than required by law?

SANDERS: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. When you say Congress is not doing anything, let's be clear...

BASH: I'm not saying you're not supporting it, but go ahead.

SANDERS: Well, actually it is my legislation that is, you know, the dominant legislation in the Senate, so let's be clear. It's not Congress, it is Republican leadership.

So, I have asked Mitch McConnell, who apparently supports the $7.25 federal minimum wage -- now, let me be clear, I think $7.25 minimum wage right now is a starvation wage. It is a disgrace. Minimum wage has not been raised in 12 years. So I am pushing very hard to make sure that we have a $15 minimum wage so that, if you work 40 hours many this country you can live with a shred of dignity. That's not a lot of money.

Now, I went to Walmart in Betntonville, Arkansas, to make this point, that the family that owns Walmart is the Walton family. As you may know, Dana, the Walton family is the wealthiest family in America. They are worth $175 billion -- $175 billion. They should be able to pay their workers a living wage, at least $11 an hour. And now you have the absurd situation that because they have a starting minimum wage in Walmart of $11 an hour, you've got many thousands of Walmart employees who are forced to go on Medicaid, food stamps and public housing. And guess who pays for that? It is the taxpayers of America. And I don't think the ordinary taxpayer should have to subsidize the wealthiest family in this country.

But it's not just Walmart, I'll be marching with McDonald's workers today. They need an increase in their minimum wage. So, the fight continues.

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