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Bernie Buzz: Wal-Mart Welfare

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Reprinted from http://sanders.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm?gpiv=2100106150.230197.347&gen=1

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July 26, 2013

Wal-Mart Welfare

In the midst of all the discussion about welfare reform, it turns out that the major welfare beneficiary in our country is the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame. The wealthiest family in America is worth more than $100 billion. One way they got so rich is by paying workers so little that tens of thousands of Wal-Mart employees use food stamps to feed their families and Medicaid to pay doctor bills. So with the number of Americans living in poverty in America near a 60-year high, with the gap between the rich and the rest of us growing wider and with youth unemployment in America at staggering levels, one proposal Bernie backs is raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. It's been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. In addition to helping workers, a catch-up raise would have a side benefit. There would be "real savings for taxpayers who would not have to subsidize Wal-Mart because of its low wages," Bernie told Chris Hayes on MSNBC. Some Republicans don't just want to keep the minimum wage from going up. In a blunt exchange at a Senate hearing, Sen. Lamar Alexander told Bernie the minimum wage, on the books since the 1930s, should be abolished.

On College Loans, Republicans and Obama Win, Students and Parents Lose

In a betrayal of working families, the Senate passed a White House-backed bill that will make students and parents pay more for college loans. The interest rate this year will exceed the 3.4 percent rate in effect for the past two years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, interest rates are likely to double by 2018. Bernie voted against the bill that closely mirrored a version passed by the most right-wing Congress in American history. "What I don't understand is when you have a Democratic president, a Democratically controlled Senate, why are we producing a bill which is basically a Republican bill?" Bernie asked in The New York Times. What's more, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill lets the government rake in $184 billion in student loan profits over the next 10 years. "Making huge profits off of young people and their families who want nothing more than to fulfill the American dream of being able to go to college is," Bernie said, "obscene."

Alice in Wonderland

Republicans at a Senate hearing last week denied that climate change is even occurring, let alone that something should be done about it. They belittled a NASA report that June was the second warmest in recorded history. They scoffed at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the United States. "To deny the fact that the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that not only is global warming real, but that it is man-made is almost beyond intellectual comprehension," Bernie said. He likened the hearing to something out of Alice in Wonderland. Meanwhile, his idea of taxing carbon emissions that cause climate change "has been gaining surprisingly diverse and bipartisan support over the past year" according to NPR, "everywhere but in Washington."

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Bernie Sanders is the independent U.S. Senator from Vermont. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. He is a member of the Senate's Budget, Veterans, Environment, Energy, and H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, (more...)

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