Since the announcement that Amazon will increase wages for workers to $15 an hour, lots of people have been giving loads of credit to Bernie Sanders. In fact, only a small fraction of credit should be given to him.
The bill he introduced would have forced Amazon and other corporations to pay a 100% tax for employees claiming public assistance. I will state I have not read that bill but by logic one would have to assume the tax would only apply to full time employees who receive assistance.
So, his bill would have left open the option for companies to cut worker’s hours to part time and/or employ subcontractors. Then they would not be subject to the tax at all. In fact, this bill would have encouraged reducing hours for full time employees.
The bill would have done nothing at all for workers who are forced to work multiple low-wage, part time jobs or temporary workers paid on contract.
It was also introduced as a time when social support programs are being gutted, making it more difficult for workers to qualify for any benefits at all and if they do the benefits they receive are becoming less and less. Meaning that if such employers ever paid any additional tax due to this bill, the amount would have decreased over time as support programs are dismantled.
Nor would his bill have done anything for the many workers who fall into the gray area where they make too much for public assistance yet not enough to pay their bills consistently. That’s a gray area millions of Americans are no stranger to, including myself.
As of this time, I have no idea if his bill gained any cosponsors at all. Even if it did, it would have to be submitted for a vote if it ever got that far. Then there is no guarantee that Republicans or centrist Democrats would have passed that bill.
In the end, his bill was a red herring and nothing else. It did not in any way affect real wages in a positive way.
So, who are the real heroes in this instance? I nominate the Progressive media voices who have been talking about this issue continuously for several years now. Nothing about the subject has been reported on corporate media. Instead, they have been reporting that wages are increasing. Has YOUR income increased in the last 2–3 years? Or even longer? Even if it did, can it be in any way attributed to anything the government has done?
I credit the protesters who have marched, written, called elected officials. I credit those who have been trying to organize unions against state laws that favor the corporations. I credit those who have suffered time in jail for standing up for themselves and millions of others.
I credit the millions of people who have reduced or even stopped spending with unethical employers. Most cannot afford to do so for obvious reasons.
I credit We The People, who have banded together across party lines to accomplish something. No single party, no single name deserves credit for this happening. WE did this.
Keep in mind that this is only a token victory and the fight is far from over. That fight will not be over until every single full time worker in this country has an income which does not leave them destitute enough to need public assistance.