Oct 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sanders criticizes Fed, touts Dems as “preferable" candidates for working class

Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he believes the Democrats are more "preferable" candidates for working-class voters than Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.

What they're saying: "I believe, and most Democrats believe, that at a time when half our people are living paycheck to paycheck, we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage. No Republicans support that," he said.

  • "Are you going to support a party that wants to give more tax breaks to the rich, cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, or are you going to support people prepared to stand up for working people? Now I'm not here to tell you that the Democrats are perfect. Believe me, they are not," Sanders said.
  • "But on virtually all of the issues including climate change, the choice is pretty clear. Democrats are far, far more preferable in Florida, Ohio, all over this country."

The big picture: Sanders said he also believes the Federal Reserve's interest rates increases have hurt the economy and have not helped curb soaring inflation.

  • "I think they're hurting the situation," Sanders said of the Fed's actions. "I think it is wrong to be saying that the way we're going to deal with inflation is by lowering wages and increasing unemployment. That is not what we should be doing."
  • "Inflation right now is an international problem. In Germany, it is 10%. U.K. it is 10%. Canada it is 10%. Inflation, globally, is caused by the pandemic and the break in supply chains. It is caused by, in my view, the war in Ukraine, obviously," he said.
  • "And it is also caused by incredible corporate greed. And I hope everybody understands that when you go to the gas tank — you fill up your car today — the oil companies are making huge profits, the food companies are making huge profits," he added. "We have to deal with that issue."

Why it matters: With another hot inflation report released last week, the Fed may seek another rate hike in November.

  • The Fed enacted its third consecutive 0.75 percentage point interest rate hike in late September and released new projections showing higher rates, higher unemployment and weaker GDP growth.
  • According to CBS News, the majority of voters don't put the majority of blame Democratic policies for the rise in prices, but 48 percent said the policies have contributed to higher costs.
  • Sixty-five percent of voters polled by CBS said the economy is getting worse. The GOP still holds a double-digit lead among independent voters who say they are in a bad financial situation or those whose lives have been made worse by higher prices.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a speech in August indicated that the central bank was nowhere near relenting on rate increases, adding that reining in inflation would bring "pain to households and businesses."

  • "These are the unfortunate costs of reducing inflation. But a failure to restore price stability would mean far greater pain," Powell said.

Go deeper: Banks brace for impact by hiking loan reserves

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