Sanders says workers should reap AI benefits to shorten work week
Bernie Sanders shed light on how financial stress is eating up Americans, expressing that technology should benefit "not just people on top."
If the United States' current artificial intelligence and robotics boom results in more work being done faster, workers should reap some of the benefits in the form of extra paid time off, according to liberal US Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday.
He contends that unbridled capitalism destroys anything that stands in the way of the pursuit of profits, such as the environment, democracy, and human rights.
The left-leaning senator from Vermont expressed in May that the government should seize 100% of any income earned by Americans exceeding $999 million.
Sanders said on CNN's State of the Union that he believed a serious discussion needed to take place regarding "substantially lowering the workweek."
He continued, citing the parenting, housing, healthcare, and financial strains that most Americans face while living shorter lives: "It seems to me that if new technology is going to make us a more productive society, the benefits should go to the workers."
"And it would be an extraordinary thing to see people have more time to be able to spend with their kids, with their families, to be able to do more … cultural activities, get a better education. So the idea of … making sure artificial intelligence [and] robotics benefits us all – not just the people on top – is something, absolutely, we need to be discussing."
Sanders made the remarks after anchor Jake Tapper asked him about the United Auto Workers' demand for a four-day workweek.
About 13,000 members of the union went on strike Friday against the country's three largest automakers, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler-parent company Stellantis, after walking out of contract discussions the day before.
Americans largely support auto worker' strikes
Sanders backed the demands and recalled that the CEOs of GM, Ford, and Stellantis pocket hundreds of times their workers' median income. According to the Economics Policy Institute, the CEOs' remuneration increased by 40% between 2013 and 2022, while their workers' actual hourly incomes declined by approximately a fifth since 2008.
The gap, according to the UAW, demonstrates how employees were never completely paid for the sacrifices their managers requested of them during the 2008-09 financial crisis when they consented to massive cuts in the name of bailing out the car sector. Striking union members want a 40% salary raise, higher retirement benefits, and job security guarantees.
A recent Gallup survey shows 75% of Americans support the strikers in the car industry.
Former US vice-president Mike Pence blamed Joe Biden's administration for the dissatisfaction of car workers, expressing that "all those hardworking auto workers are living in the same reality every other Americans live, and that is wages are not keeping up with inflation."
Sanders, however, blames the industry's top executives, explaining that American people are fed up with "corporate greed" that enables the suffering of the working class.