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Bernie Sanders: Americans Need Better Wages, Not Longer Hours

Image: Bernie Sanders: Americans Need Better Wages, Not Longer Hours
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By    |   Friday, 10 Jul 2015 11:26 AM

Americans are the hardest-working people in the world, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday, taking offense to comments made by GOP candidate Jeb Bush about people needing to work longer hours.

"Of course we need more full-time jobs rather than part-time jobs," the Vermont independent, a candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination, told CNN's "New Day" program. "But to suggest that people have got to work harder?

"People in the United States of America today are working the longest hours of the people of any major industrialized country."

Sanders told show host Chris Cuomo that in the United States, "we have 85 percent of men working more than 40 hours a week and 65 percent of women working more than 40 hours a week."

And rather than force people to work even more hours, "what we need to do is raise wages and income," said Sanders, an advocate of the $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Bush this week came under fire for saying that his "aspiration for the country is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see, which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time lows, [which] means that people need to work longer hours."

Cuomo argued that Bush wasn't talking about work ethic, and accused Sanders of twisting Bush's words. Sanders conceded that if Bush was talking about the lack of full-time jobs, then "he's absolutely correct."

Meanwhile, Sanders' campaign is attracting record crowds, and he says that's because he is focusing on issues important to Americans and trying not to run a negative campaign.

The middle class has been collapsing for the past 40 years, said Sanders, and people want to know why, and what is going to be done "about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality. People want to deal with this Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows billionaires to buy elections."

He claimed Americans are also interested in free tuition at the nation's colleges and universities, and said he thinks people are responding to his vow to take on the nation's billionaire class and save the middle class.

Sanders is facing the challenge of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and said he believe that she is "getting beaten up all over the place, and sometimes it's unjustified."

He called for Americans to focus on the issues, and pointed out that he disagrees with Clinton on many things, including the recent trade policy talks.

"I voted against the war in Iraq," said Sanders. "Secretary Clinton, when she was in the Senate, voted for the war in Iraq. I am prepared to break up the large financial institutions because I think Wall Street has too much power. She has not been clear on that."

But still, Sanders said he is not going to attack the former first lady and senator in personal ways, because he likes her.

"We have differences of opinions on issues and that's where my focus will be," said Sanders.

At the same time, he said, the focus overall should be on the nation's problems.

"This country faces enormous problems," he said. "And I think it's incumbent upon political leaders and the media to focus on those issues and not make politics into a soap opera."

Meanwhile, Sanders has not made many campaign promises, but he is promising to make Supreme Court nominees go through a litmus test to show how they'll vote on issues.

"I don't like litmus tests," he said, "but this issue is so important. The fact that we have billionaires today who are literally buying politicians, spending what will amount to billions of dollars to elect candidates to make the rich richer."

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Americans are the hardest-working people in the world, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday, taking offense to comments made by GOP candidate Jeb Bush about people needing to work longer hours.
bernie sanders, workers, jeb bush, minimum wage, work hours
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2015-26-10
Friday, 10 Jul 2015 11:26 AM
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