America was built by workers. Every family home, every country store, every county courthouse, every interstate and rural road was built by an American worker who put in an honest day’s work in pursuit of the American Dream.
If we are to keep the American Dream alive in our time, we must protect the rights of workers to organize for safe working conditions and a secure future. We must finally pass the Employee Free Choice Act to ensure that collective bargaining remains a fundamental American right. We must build on New Jersey’s success and guarantee every worker paid medical leave – both as a matter of basic decency and of public health.
And it is long past time to raise the minimum wage. We must ensure that every worker gets paid a living wage, and we must ensure that the minimum wage rises with inflation.
America is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. There is no reason why, after a lifetime of hard work, our workers should have to worry about making ends meet in retirement. We can and should afford to guarantee Social Security benefits for every American.
Despite the claims of alarmists, Social Security remains in fairly good shape: it can afford to pay out full benefits until about 2033, and even after that, the system will be able to pay out about three-quarters of promised benefits. With some relatively minor tweaking, such as expanding the Social Security wage base – and without slashing promised benefits to seniors – we can secure Social Security for generations to come.