Speaking at a forum at a church in Baltimore, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday said the life expectancy for someone born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhood is almost 20 years shorter than for someone born in the richest neighborhood.
He said 15 Baltimore neighborhoods have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than Palestine’s West Bank.
He said Baltimore teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 face poorer health conditions and a worse economic outlook than those in economically distressed cities in Nigeria, India, China, and South Africa.
“Children in Baltimore have the least chance of escaping poverty of any big city in America,” Sanders said at the forum at the Carter Memorial Church of god in Christ.
Sanders prescriptions for addressing the problem include:
- Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
- Putting 13 million people to work rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure.
- Embarking on a crash program to provide affordable housing by constructing, rehabilitating and preserving at least 3.5 million affordable homes and apartments over the next decade. “We should not have buildings that I just walked past that are all boarded up when we desperately need affordable housing.”
- Creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans and job opportunities for young adults through the $5.5 billion Employ Young Americans Now Act.
- Rewriting job-killing trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and normalized trade with China which have cost Maryland 72,000 factory jobs, more than 41 percent of its manufacturing workforce.
- Reforming a criminal justice system that puts more Americans behind bars – at a cost of $80 billion a year – than any other nation in the world.
Watch a clip of the forum: