Over time, I drifted to spending more and more time trying to figure out how to improve the health of low-income New Yorkers and the most vulnerable among our neighbors. What I have learned over the years is that poverty and health challenges are intrinsically intertwined.
Bernie Sanders, to put this another way, doesn't need a focus group or a poll to tell him what he ought to stand for. He already knows what he stands for, and he'll freely tell you exactly what that is.
Starting next year, the Altadena Walmart, which opened in March 2013, will be paying all of its employees at least $10.50 an hour and will be paying $15 an hour by 2020. If you think that the Waltons -- the heirs to Walmart founder Sam Walton -- suddenly developed a social conscience, think again.
The Fight for 15 movement is gaining momentum. It has won victories in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, San Francisco, Seattle and SeaTac. Yesterday, a New York State Wage Board formally recommended a $15.00 minimum wage for the fast food industry in New York. Governor Cuomo could move that to into law after reviewing it. The University of California just announced it would raise its minimum wage for several thousand workers to $15.00. The $15.00 minimum is likely headed to a referendum vote in the District of Columbia next year. Pressure is now building on the president to act. He deserves credit for issuing orders raising the minimum wage of contract employees to $10.10, and requiring contractors to obey various workplace laws. Now federal employees are striking for $15.00 and a union.
This is a historic moment. It marks a huge shift in mainstream thinking about the economy. Workers have won a better life for themselves and their families. We've beat back CEO-backed trickle-down economics. But we won't stop fighting until all workers win higher wages as the movement grows stronger.
Lawmakers have failed to keep the wage apace with inflation so that its value is now less than it was five decades ago.
Not paying someone what they are owed is akin to stealing out of their pockets. Wage theft is a crime. And this crime disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable members of our society. Enforcing these laws is not only good economic policy, but also simply the right thing to do.
This is a hard issue and an important decision. But in the end, we have to acknowledge that something must be done to combat the rising inequality that is weakening our society. Ensuring that anyone who works full time can support their family is a solid step in that direction.
This is one of those moments when there is broad popular frustration, a moment when liberal goals require measures that seem radical by today's standards. If progressives don't articulate those frustrations and propose real solutions, rightwing populists will propose crackpot ones. Token gestures won't fool anybody.
Even though the first 50 years of the 20th century were pretty barbaric due to two extremely bloody world wars, I still believe the arc of history bends towards progress and the pace has accelerated in the last 50 years.
Candidate Clinton's speech today was another progressive salvo regarding the importance of addressing income inequality; ostensibly through a higher minimum wage, being tougher on Wall Street, taxing carried interest, and a host of other progressive favorites.
Two in five working Latinos would get a raise under the bill recently introduced in Congress by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour over five years.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has hired a corporate-sponsored lobby group and PR firm to conduct a so-called "study" of the minimum wage.
Who knows if the improving figures from the past 12 months are the start of reversing these trends? Either way, we must keep pushing for increases to the minimum wage, and for the enactment of more policies
I keep hearing the phrase "Bernie's the real deal" coming from Democrats these days. Most of what he says reflects positions he's held for a very long time. And the key point the media is so far still mostly missing is that Bernie's issues are what is causing his surge in popularity.
Why such success, and why so soon? I will suggest that Bernie Sanders has tapped into something very deep in the American psyche: the realization that America is at its greatest, and at its best, when it is standing for progressive values.