The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

U.S. Headed Toward Becoming Third World Country


U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said a new report that paychecks are shrinking and half of all workers in the United States made less than $28,031 last year is another sign of a 40-year trend which is moving the U.S. economy in the direction of a Third World country.

"The latest report from the Social Security Administration makes it clear that the American economy continues a 40-year trend of moving in the direction of becoming a Third World country where the vast majority of people are struggling to keep their heads above water while the richest people in the country have never had it so good," Sanders said.

According to a recent report, released every year by the Social Security Administration, average wages for all workers went down last year compared to 2012, except for the 110 wealthiest Americans making over $50 million last year who received a $14.2 million increase in average pay.

"What this new report shows, and what many other studies have shown over the last 40 years, is that the United States is experiencing the kind of obscene levels of wealth and income inequality that are not unusual in impoverished third world countries. Since 1999, median income has gone down by nearly $5,000 and more Americans are working longer hours for lower wages."

The report also shows that last year 39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 and more than 50 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000.

The median wage of $28,031 for American workers is lower today than it was in 1999, after adjusting for inflation.

Sanders concluded, "If we don't act boldly to create millions of new jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, increase the minimum wage to a living wage, and end our disastrous trade policies, the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a Third World economy," said Sanders. "We have got to act with a fierce sense of urgency to rebuild the disappearing middle class."

To reduce income and wealth inequality and rebuild the middle class, Sanders has called for the following:

  • Increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to at least $10.10 an hour.
  • Investing $1 trillion in rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports, railways, dams, water systems, and culverts to create at least 13 million new jobs.
  • Rewriting our trade policies to make sure that American corporations invest in the U.S. and not in China.
  • Transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency to create millions of new jobs.

Read the report here.

United States Senator for Vermont

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