Sanders caught in $15 minimum wage embarrassment

After years of advocating a national $15 minimum wage, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is now struggling to defend himself after campaign staff workers revealed they are not receiving $15 an hour.

While staffers are getting $15 an hour for 40 hours a week, they are not being compensated for overtime, and some of his workers are doing up to 60 hours, which brings their hourly wage down around $13 or less.

Making the situation worse, Sanders has responded by cutting hours down so that his staff can meet the $15 an hour mark. The move vindicates what critics of the $15 minimum wage have been saying for years: mandating higher wages can result in reduced hours of work.

Sanders hasn’t backed off his stance for a $15 minimum wage, however, and tweeted Sunday evening in favor of a mandatory $15 minimum for other employers.

Meanwhile, his critics continue to post comments calling him out.

Another commenter expressed the hypocrisy inherent in Sanders’ position.

This loss of labor hours due to a bump in wage has been discussed in numerous writings by economists including Thomas Sowell, author of Basic Economics, published in 2011.

In the chapter Controlled Labor Markets, Sowell talks about some of the downsides of mandating higher wages.

“Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wage of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage because they either lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force,” he writes.

Right in the open seat of Vermont’s Senate Economic Development Committee has been economist Mathew Barewicz for the Department of Labor, and in January 2018 he warned lawmakers that a $15 minimum wage may hurt more Vermonters than it will help.

“Hours can be shifted or cut, positions can be removed, shifts can be shortened,” he told them.

He tells True North this week that while he can’t comment specifically on Sanders’ situation, again the notion of cutting hours to meet a high wage is nothing new.

“Generally speaking, it’s a response that employers have been known to take,” he said. “We still have a lot of individuals want more hours … employers are finding ways to change shifts, change schedules, adopt technologies, or change business practices [to reduce costs].”

In April 2018 Lindsay Kurrle, the commissioner of the Department of Labor,  wrote an op-ed that broke down his analysis further. She broke down a study conducted by the University of Washington on a $15 minimum wage implemented in Seattle which indicated that low-wage jobs declined by 6.8 percent.

“Perhaps most shockingly, because of a 9 percent reduction in hours, total net income for low wage employees fell by $125 per month, or $1,500 annually,” she wrote. “Put simply — the data shows minimum wage hikes lead to lower incomes, fewer hours and less jobs.”

Yet Vermont politicians within the state continue to echo Sanders’ calls for the wage bump. Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, who worked for Sanders during his years as mayor of Burlington, is one of those advocates.

“There is no policy right now that I’m aware of that compares with the potential magnitude of benefit as increasing the minimum wage,” he said before the 2018 session.

Policy writers also continue to back the proposal, including Yannet Lathrop, a researcher and policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project.

“Facing some of the highest costs of living in the nation, these workers need to earn more than $15 per hour today just to afford the basics,” she wrote. “By 2024, they will need even more. Analysis of EPI’s Family Budget Calculator shows that even single workers in the least expensive counties of Vermont [Essex and Orleans] need more than $19 per hour today to make ends meet.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Phil Roeder

10 thoughts on “Sanders caught in $15 minimum wage embarrassment

  1. Bernie and his $15 minimum wage is not the only embarrassment.

    He is a fellow traveler of SOCIALIST, former bartender, Ocasio-Cortez who said:

    “We can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America,” she said during a Dec. 5 panel discussion alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, another neo-Socialist who was honeymooned in the USSR.


    Bernie Sanders is a loud-shouting, arm-waving, multi-millionaire, SOCIALIST, getting close to 80 years old, with three houses, and a $70,000 Audie (supporting the GERMAN worker), and

    – Flying FOR FREE on private planes spewing CO2, for spouting his SOCIALIST and GLOBAL WARMING rhetoric nationwide on some else’s dime (his foundation is buying carbon offsets, a cost of “doing business”; a PR gesture!), and

    – Not liking a proper barrier to protect the US southern border (purposely enticing unskilled illiterates, not successful in their own country, to easily enter the US, because they will ultimately become Democrat voters!), and

    – Having his own tax-exempt foundation (don’t pay me, as I would have to pay federal and state income taxes, pay my tax-exempt foundation!), and

    – Promising more and more goodies to his favored supporters, including free health care for everyone, including 11 to 15 million illegals, and forgiveness of student debt (setting a poor example for their future behavior) to raise his fading poll numbers, and

    – Campaigning for even more US-style Socialism to benefit his foundation, a la Clinton and a la Gore, all smooth-operating, self-serving hucksters!! They know how to play the game to their advantage.

  2. Do as I say and not as I do Sanders got caught in one of his many crap cakes that he spews out.
    I can’t believe that anyone follows this fool. He keeps trucking all his capitalist made money to the bank so I guess he not as much of a fool as his followers are.

  3. Comrade Sanders pushes Marxisim under the dirty-secret ‘for thee, not for me’ official rules of the party.

    Women complained of rampant sexual harrassment in the 2016 campaign and of being forced to stay in quarters with strangers.

    Bernie hates people petiod. He and Jane both reportedly have extremely nasty temperments. His love of money is the root of his evil. And…his ‘best selling’ book was on that list bc his campaign is his largest customer…so yeah hes a fraud too.

    • You overlook that Comrade Sanders, avowed “socialist”, is very much the capitalist when it comes to legally paying as little tax possible on the proceeds of his book, yet hypocritically denounces those business owners who exercise the very same right. He’s nothing but a goddam (pardon my french) sanctimonious arschlech twoface.

  4. This man will do or say anything to remain in office or become President of the United States. He is a phoney with questionable financial dealings who will screw his own workers. He does not deserve to be in any political office and certainly does not deserve our votes.

  5. Socialist Sanders, is either a Hypocrite or a Fraud your choice !!

    I cannot believe that people listen to this Buffoon, I cringe every time the news
    mention he from ” Vermont ” …………. what a disgrace.

    Practice what you preach Bernie, you spew Socialism but make your money
    with Capitalism.

  6. If these people want to fix the cost of living that they are whining about — then cut the costs of government.

    • Strike the root!
      Cost of government only reflects the greatly diminished/diminishing value of the dollar, which began (Jekyll Island) 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act ==> gov’t deficit financing, money printing, currency dilution, “inflation”, banks extending credit far in excess of former 1:20 deposits/loans ratios, bank bailouts….. gotta stop, getting ill.

      Goldman et al receive token pp slap, pay pittance fines, no stir time for the perps cuz corporations have people rights but the human bad actors are never prosecuted.

      Fixing the cost of living problem — actual fixing– would mean fixing more than the US govt has control of because it’s endemic to the globe. No nation (Possible exception China–gold, bitcoin) uses a currency whose value is tied to anything of intrinsic value. Notice the trend curve of gold price stayed pretty flat until Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in the early ’70s. And then it was off to the races when other currencies tied to the US dollar followed the trend with decreased purchasing power aka “inflation”.

      We all know this crap cannot continue. The question of just when it all hits the fan is all that remains. I would suggest acting accordingly.

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