If Bernie Sanders here were just repeating useful political rhetoric we might cut him some slack – lying in pursuit of a political goal is hardly unusual now, is it? My problem is that I’m convinced that Bernie actually believes this rubbish:
The rapid rise of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral, economic, and political issue of our time. Yet, it gets almost no coverage from the corporate media.
How often do network newscasts report on the 40 million Americans living in poverty, or that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major nation on earth?
The US poverty – and child poverty – numbers are calculated before near all the things which are done to reduce said poverty. Everyone else not only uses a different standard they also measure them after the effects of taxes and benefits. That’s why those US poverty rates look so high. For example, when we look at the child poverty rate it’s about 20% or so before what is done to reduce it. It’s some 2 or 3% after all that is done. One thing the American welfare system is pretty good at being the reduction in child poverty.
Bernie should know this, if he does he should be pointing it out. As I say, my strong suspicion is that he simply doesn’t know these basic facts. There’s also this:
Until we understand that the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and that people cannot make it on $9 or $10 an hour, we’re not going to be able to pass a living wage of at least $15 an hour.
Hmm. That $7.25 an hour for a working year of 2080 hours (about right for Americans) puts you in the top 7.8% of the global income distribution. Yes, that’s after we adjust for different prices in different places. You’re in the top half billion of the 7 billion of us. That’s not a starvation wage. $15 an hour puts you into the top 1.1% of the world. Around 66 million in that distribution of incomes over 7 billion people.
There’re 160 million working Americans. They can’t all be in the top 66 million, can they?
It is actually quite fun to point out that $15 an hour is a top 1% income. It’s much more worrying to know that Bernie Sanders is either ignorant or lying about his signature subject, US poverty. But, you know, politicians.