As experts warn that artificial intelligence (AI) could soon replace scores of low-level employees, everyone’s favorite socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is calling for the federal minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 per hour to $17 per hour.
“Now is the time to raise the minimum wage,” Sanders, who serves as the chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said on Thursday. “And let’s be clear, this is not a radical idea.”
According to the senator, “the overwhelming majority of Americans” from all political parties support hiking the minimum wage “to a living wage.”
“People support and understand that workers need a living wage,” he said.
The former presidential candidate said that on June 14, “the Senate HELP Committee will be marking up a bill to raise minimum wage to $17 an hour over a five-year period.”
Sanders would also cut the work week to 32 hours without decreasing the workers’ pay.
“It’s time to reduce the work week to 32 hours with no loss in pay,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian. “It’s time to reduce the stress level in our country and allow Americans to enjoy a better quality of life. It’s time to make sure that working people benefit from rapidly increasing technology, not just large corporations that are already doing phenomenally well.”
“As much as technology and worker productivity has exploded in recent years, there is no debate that new breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and robotics will only accelerate the transformation of our economy. That transformation should benefit all, not just the few,” he argued. “It should create more time for friends and family, more time for rest and relaxation, more time for all of us to develop our human potential.”
On Twitter, users were quick to point out that those very AI “breakthroughs” will eliminate the need for humans to do many jobs, especially if employers are forced to pay them $17 an hour to do them.
“Does that include AI when they replace millions of low level employees?” one user asked.
Does that include AI when they replace millions of low level employees?
— Bonnie Blystone (@blystone_bonnie) May 5, 2023
Others noted that small businesses won’t be able to operate under such a proposal.
It is apparent Bernie has never owned a business where he had to balance overhead and income. It is almost unaffordable to employ people and nearly impossible to find them! This will be the end of many small businesses and jobs! I own a small business-it’s really hard right now.
— Amanda James (@AmandaJames2016) May 5, 2023
Dear god. This will bankrupt manufacturing
— Henry Talbot (@IdahoHank) May 5, 2023
And what of all those employees who went to college, started at the bottom, and had to claw their way to making more than $20 per hour?
Does Bernie not realize that there were folks who graduated college & worked the past 2 decades to get over $20/hr & he’s wiping it all away to where I can work anywhere & make just a little less. Thanks Bernie!
— JPoli (@JPoli_chem) May 5, 2023
Others simply mocked Sanders for his scant grasp on reality.
“Why is he lowballing?” one user wanted to know. “Let it be $1000 minimum wage and 4 hr work week.”
Why is he lowballing? Let it be $1000 minimum wage and 4 hr work week
— Ignatius J Reilly (@Ign_J_Reilly) May 5, 2023
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