Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Monday argued that the $15 minimum wage progressives are pushing for in the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill is a compromise. In her eyes, the federal minimum wage should be significantly higher than the $15 an hour that progressives have settled on.
“Not just Sen. Machin, but any person who thinks that a $15 minimum wage is the ‘crazy socialist agenda’ is living in a dystopian capitalist nightmare," she explained on MSNBC. "And we should not prop that up. We should not continue that."
The progressive congresswoman pointed to basic necessities, like baby formula and rent, that Americans are struggling to pay as a reason to push for a minimum wage that exceeds $15.
“There are basic goods that people can’t afford to live on on $7.25 an hour," AOC said.
The congresswoman said it's "deeply, deeply shameful" that the minimum wage conversation has to take place in the first place.
“Because when you take the minimum wage from several decades ago and you actually account for inflation and productivity gains to today, it should be $24 an hour,” Ocasio-Cortez explained. "We need other Democrats to understand how deep of a compromise $15 an hour is year."
AOC pointed out the "multi-year phase-in" that is built into the bill. It was a so-called "compromise" progressives made in order to get the minimum wage to increase.
"In almost every pocket of this country, you cannot afford rent if you are making minimum wage," she said.
The congresswoman argued that Americans should favor the minimum wage increase because "keeping wages artificially low" puts a burden on the federal government to pay for "social safety net programs that would not be necessary if people were paid a living wage to begin with."