Candidates Debate How to Raise Income for Middle Class Families

The Democratic presidential candidates discuss the most important issues at the ABC News debate.
6:39 | 12/20/15

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Transcript for Candidates Debate How to Raise Income for Middle Class Families
Welcome back tonight as you can see we have a packed audience here in New Hampshire and we're gonna continue we've already had a spirited conversation here at the top of the broadcast. About ice is about to concerns terror here on the home front and as we await Secretary Clinton backstage here we're going to begin on the economy we want to. Turned to the American jobs wages. And races in this country. And we believe Secretary Clinton will be coming around the corner any minute but in the meantime we want to start with a -- opening number and senator Sanders this question goes to you first anyway. In 1995. The median American household income was 52600. Dollars in today's money. This year it's 53600. That's twenty more years on the job which is to 2% raise. In a similar timeframe races for CEOs up more than 200. Sorry. We're gonna continue here and secretary you'll get a chance on this two bit. As I pointed out the CEO pay up 200% of that time for that family up just 2%. You've all said he would raise the minimum wage the senator Sanders what else speak to that household tonight twenty years just a 2% raise how is president would you get the Marines right away. Personal we recognize. That we have that he rigged economy as you've indicated. Middle class in this country for the last forty years he has been disappearing are we better off today the we wore when bush left office absolutely. But as you've indicated. For millions of American workers people in the hands shall all over America there work longer outlets low wages. Deeply worried about their kids so what we don't. First statement we make as we tell the billionaire class they tend not happy at all. First thought they're gonna sought paying their fair share of taxes. Second look at the good. If you raise the minimum wage to a living wage fifteen bucks a towel over the next several years. Next thing we do pay equity for women workers women should not be making seven an odd cents on the dollar event today. Real unemployment official unemployment 5%. Real unemployment tent percent youth unemployment all the talks. We rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Our roads our bridges our rail system we create. Thirteen million jobs with a trillion dollar investment. For the war in a competitive global economy. It is imperative that we up the best educated workforce in the world that is why I've got to have a tax on Wall Street speculation to make certain. That public colleges and universities in America ought. To which should free it. Governor O'Malley what would you propose that would be different how would you get to middle class or race and without waiting another twenty years for another 2% look. These are the things that we did in my own state through the recession. We actually. We actually passed a living wage we race a minimum wage. We actually race of the highest goals of any state in the nation are minority and women participation goals. Because we understood that the way you reinvigorate. And make fair market American capitalism work is to make the choices and the investments that include more people more fully in the economic success of your state. All through the recession we defended the highest median income in America and the second highest median income for African American families how. By actually doing more for education. We increased education funding by 37%. We were the only state in America that went four years in a row without a pennies increased to college tuition. We invested more in our infrastructure. And weeks squared our shoulders to the great business opportunity of this Ara. And that is moving our economy to a 100%. Clean electric energy future we created 2000 new jobs. Insert in the solar industry and we fought every single day to adopt more inclusive economic practices said David. The conclusion of all of those things as this they weren't hopes they weren't dreams. They weren't. Amorphous goals out there. We actually took actions to do these things and as president I have put forward fifteen strategic goals that won't make wages go up again for all American famines. Universal national service as an option for every kid in America the cut youth unemployment. And I am the only candidate on the stage to put forward a new agenda for America's cities so we can employ more people in the hearts of great American cities and get them back to work. Governor thank you Secretary Clinton. As you walk again I was talking about the median American household getting a 2% raise over the last twenty years. That CEO pay with in that same timeframe has gone up 200%. So for those families watching tonight how to get them a raise your president. But been talking to a lot of these families and this is it's such an outrage both because it's bad for our economy whereas 70% consumption economy people need to. Feel optimistic and confident they need to believe that their hard work is going to be rewarded and it's bad for our democracy. It's absolutely the case it of people feel that the game is rigged that has consequences. I think it's great standing up here with that the senator and the governor. Talking about these issues because you're not gonna hear anything like this from any of the Republicans who are running for president. They don't want to race seven. Increase in comes at the center of my economic policy. Is raising in comes because people haven't been able to get ahead. And the costs of everything from college tuition to prescription drugs has gone up of course we have to raise a minimum wage. Of course we have to do more to incentivized profit sharing like we see what's market basket right here in New Hampshire and New England where. We've got to do more unequal pay for equal work that means pass the paycheck fairness act so we have transparency. About how much people are making. That's the way to get women's wages up and that's good for them and good for their families and good for our. And there is a lot we can do. In college affordability I have debt free tuition plans free community college plans getting student debt down. I also am very act committed to getting the price of drugs down and there's a lot you can go to my secretary Hillary Clinton dot com and read about it. But I guess that's I don't think that that I would say is. This is that kind of debate we need to take to the Republicans in the fall secretary thank you feel.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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