Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday told the National Urban League that “we need some new thinking” in the United States in order to address the “enormous crises” facing our country.
“It is too late for establishment policies,” Sanders told the Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “It is too late for establishment politics. It is too late for establishment economics.”
Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke in back-to-back appearances before one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations.
Sanders spoke about the middle class working longer hours for lower wages, the growing gap in income and wealth in the United Sates and the undue influence of what he calls “the billionaire class” in America’s economy and politics. “Income and wealth inequality is the great moral, economic and political issue of our time,” he said.
In his remarks before the mostly African-American audience, he noted that a black man born today has a one in four chance of ending up in jail at some point in his life. “It is my very strong belief that it makes and lot more sense to invest in jobs and education rather than jails and incarceration.”
He said that is why he has proposed a $1 trillion construction initiative to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges, railroads and other bricks-and-mortar projects while creating 13 million decent-paying jobs.
Another Sanders proposal that would help all low-wage workers, but especially women and minorities, would be to more than double the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
He advocated child care and universal pre-K for working families, expanded Social Security for seniors, a Medicare-for-all health care system that makes health care a right for everyone in the United States and tuition-free public colleges and universities.
“When we talk about education, I trust that all of you know that we live in a highly competitive economy. To my mind it is insane that we have hundreds of thousands of bright young people who have the desire and ability to go to college but their families cannot afford the tuition. That is absurd. And that is why I have introduced legislation to make every public college and university in America tuition free.”
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