I see a nation where 63 percent of workers live paycheck to paycheck — paycheck to paycheck. What does that mean? It means that every day you are living under incredible stress — scared to death that if your car breaks down, if your kid gets sick, if your landlord raises the rent, if you get divorced or separated, if you become pregnant, if for whatever reason you lose your job, you will find yourself in the midst of a financial catastrophe.

by Bernie Sanders

As we enter the new year, as Congress begins its legislative session next week, and as we have just finished celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the great fighters for justice in our nation’s history, it is appropriate that we ask two very simple questions.

One: What is everyday life like today for the vast majority of our people — the working class of this country, the middle class and lower income Americans? What are the pains, struggles, and the hopes that they are striving for? And secondly, what is Congress going to do to improve life for working families? In the year 2023, amidst an explosion of technology, massive wealth creation, and transformational economic change, how can we make certain that all Americans have the decent standard of living to which they are entitled? Is this a utopian idea? Is this pie in the sky or can we actually accomplish it? I think we can.

Bernie Sanders waves at a crowd in Des Moines

Now you might think that these very basic questions are discussed often on the floor of the Senate or in the House of Representatives or in the corporate media. Well, if you thought that — you would be wrong.