On the road to enlightenment with the facts!
As a Thanksgiving deadline nears for action by the powerful congressional committee on deficit reduction, Bernie sounded an alarm over reports that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid may be cut. "The American people have been very clear. They understand how important Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are to the well-being of tens of millions of our people and they do not want to see these programs cut," Bernie said on Wednesday.
"This is a pivotal moment in American history. The rich and large corporations are doing phenomenally well while the middle class is declining and poverty is increasing. Now is the time to answer the question that the Woody Guthrie song poignantly asked, ‘Which side are you on?’ The Democrats on the Super Committee must resist Republican attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the must vulnerable people in our country. They must stand on the side of working families and the middle class. They must say NO to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and demand that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes."
Watch Bernie urge the super committee to protect Social Security »
I want to alert you to a very important issue which needs your immediate response.
As we speak, members of the so-called “Super Committee” are proposing a plan that would call for major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Please join me in doing everything we can to defeat this terrible idea.
In negotiation after negotiation, the Democrats continue to give the Republicans almost everything they want. Despite the fact that our deficit problems were caused by the greed on Wall Street which led to the current horrendous recession, huge tax breaks for the rich and two un-paid for wars, the President and the Democrats have gone along with trillions of dollars in cuts in programs for the elderly, the sick, children and the poor. Meanwhile, the wealthiest people in this country, who are doing phenomenally well, have not been asked to pay one penny more in taxes. Further, we have not closed one corporate loophole or cut military spending.
Enough is enough!
Ever since its inception, the Republicans have wanted to destroy Social Security. We must not allow them to succeed. Social Security is the most successful and popular federal program in existence. For 76 years it has paid out every penny owed to every eligible American and has played a major role in reducing poverty among seniors. Today, Social Security has a 2.5 trillion dollar surplus and can pay out all benefits for the next 25 years. Importantly, because it is funded by the payroll tax and not the U.S. Treasury, Social Security has played no role in causing the deficit.
We must also defend Medicare and Medicaid. Today, 50 million Americans are uninsured and many more are under-insured. Some 45,000 Americans die every year because they do not get to a doctor on time. Now is not the time to cut benefits for Medicare or throw children or lower-income Americans off of their health insurance.
Poll after poll shows that the American people are very clear about these issues. They want the wealthy and large corporations to begin paying their fair share of taxes. They want to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And that’s exactly what the “Super Committee” should do.
Please sign the enclosed petition demanding no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
. Please contact your Senator or member of Congress with the same message.
I look forward to working with you.
Thank you for your continued support.
Senator Bernie Sanders
The Occupy Wall Street protests are shining a national spotlight on the most powerful, dangerous and secretive economic and political force in America.
If this country is to break out of this horrendous recession and create the millions of jobs we desperately need, if we are going to create a modicum of financial stability for the future, there is no question but that the American people are going to have to take a very hard look at Wall Street and demand fundamental reforms. I hope these protests are the beginning of that process.
Click here to read my recent op-ed at the Huffington Post.
Let us never forget that as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, this country was plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, homes and life savings as the middle class underwent an unprecedented collapse. Sadly, despite all the suffering caused by Wall Street, there is no reason to believe that the major financial institutions have changed their ways, or that future financial disasters and bailouts will not happen again.
The question now becomes: how do we change the financial system so that it works for all Americans, not just the top one percent?
Here are several proposals that I am working on:
1) If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. Today, the six largest financial institutiions in America have assets equivalent to 65% of the United States’ GDP – $9.4 trillion dollars. It is time to take a page from Teddy Roosevelt and break up these behemoths so that there will be real competition in the financial industry and, when big banks fail again, there will be no need to bail them out.
2) Put a cap on credit card interest rates to end usury. When credit card companies charge 25- or 30-percent interest rates they are not engaged in the business of "making credit available" to their customers. They are involved in extortion, usury and loan-sharking.
3) The Federal Reserve needs to provide small businesses in America with the same low-interest loans it gave to foreign banks. When Wall Street collapsed, the Fed lent out $16 trillion in low interest loans to central banks around the world and every major financial institution in this country. Now, at a time when small businesses can’t get the loans they need, it is time for the Fed to create millions of American jobs by providing low-interest loans directly to small businesses.
4) Stop Wall Street oil speculators from artificially increasing gasoline and heating oil prices. Wall Street speculators are buying and selling billions of barrels of oil in the energy futures market with no intention of using a drop for any purpose other than to make a quick buck. We have got to end excessive oil speculation and bring needed relief to American consumers in lower oil and gas prices.
5) Demand that Wall Street invest in the job-creating productive economy, instead of gambling on worthless derivatives. The American people have got to make it crystal clear to Wall Street that the era of excessive speculation is over. The "heads, bankers win; tails, everyone else loses" financial system must end.
6) Establish a Wall Street speculation fee on credit default swaps, derivatives, stock options and futures. Both the economic crisis and the deficit crisis are a direct result of the greed and recklessness on Wall Street. Establishing a speculation fee would reduce gambling on Wall Street, encourage the financial sector to invest in the productive economy, and significantly reduce the deficit without harming average Americans.
Click here to read my full op-ed at the Huffington Post.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are shining a light on one of the most serious problems facing the United States — the greed and power of Wall Street. Now is the time for the American people to demand that the president and Congress follow that light — and act. The future of our economy is at stake.
Thank you for your support.
Senator Bernie Sanders
"Don’t yield, Mr. President," Bernie said after congressional Republicans walked out of budget talks on Thursday. Bernie announced plans for a major speech on Monday. A member of the Senate Budget Committee, he says at least half the reduction in red ink must come from new revenue from the wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations. "The budget must not be balanced on the backs of working families, the elderly, the sick and the poor while the wealthiest people laugh all the way to the bank," he said. Shared sacrifice is his term for asking as much from the millionaires as from the millions of Americans. He talked about the White House role at this pivotal moment during an interview with Cenk Uygur. "The American people have got to chime in very loudly and say, ‘Hey Mr. President, stand with us and be prepared to take on the big money interests and we’ll be at your back."
Watch the MSNBC interview »
Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, GE and other giant corporations paid no U.S. taxes despite billions in profits. In fact, they pocketed big IRS refunds. As congressional leaders and the White House haggled over how many billions of dollars to cut spending on programs for working families, Bernie tried to broaden the debate. He compiled a top-10 list of tax dodging corporations. It’s a scandal, Bernie told colleagues today. “We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed, but it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, and the most vulnerable in this country. The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute.”
Watch Bernie’s Senate floor speech on his top-10 list »