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Bloomberg proposes increased minimum wage to aid ‘badly broken’ economy

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Story at a glance

  • Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg supports a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.
  • Major components of his economic plan include education and developing rural regions.
  • Bloomberg has been touting his experience as both a businessman and politician in a positive contrast to his rival candidates.

Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday formally supported a $15 minimum wage, according to a report in the Associated Press

Bloomberg’s backing comes on the heels of a minimum wage increase for 47 cities, counties and jurisdictions across the U.S. in the new year.

The former New York City mayor made the announcement during a discussion about his larger economic plan over the course of his Midwest campaign tour, which includes stops in rural Minnesota, Chicago’s South Side and Akron, Ohio. 

The framework of his plan proposes to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and include collective bargaining rights for workers. The current federal minimum wage is set at $7.25.

Bloomberg also says he intends to fund “major new investments in research and development,” as well as technological accessibility in local municipalities and rural communities. 

Bloomberg thinks that these moves could help with his stated goal to get  “hundreds of thousands” of U.S. workers into internship and apprenticeship programs, where students can earn both pay and academic credit for “on-the-job learning.” 

Bloomberg said one of the reasons for his proposals is that while the economy is working well for a number of people, it doesn’t work well for the “vast majority.”

“The reason I’m releasing this plan is one of the reasons I’m in the race: I know that our economy is working fine for people like me — and people like Donald Trump. But it is badly broken for the vast majority of Americans,” Bloomberg stated

Although Bloomberg also did not comment on other economic concerns, such as wealth inequality, taxes or tariffs, a campaign advisor told AP that the presidential hopeful would make statements on those issues in the upcoming weeks. 

The Bloomberg campaign has been quite active in the last few days, increasing his campaign staff and releasing more than $20 million dollars worth of ads.

Highlighting his experience as a successful businessman and politician, Bloomberg spoke about revitalizing communities that have been “left behind” by an increasingly automated economy.

“I know a lot of candidates say they’re going to create good jobs. But for me, creating good jobs is not something I just talk about. It’s something I’ve spent my whole career doing,” he said. “Others shake their fists and point to scapegoats and make promises that they can’t deliver on. I think we’ve had enough of that.”

Bloomberg made a late entry into the Democratic Primary field and has said that his plan to win the nomination is to skip the early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire and instead focus on later voting states like California.