Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is fed up with the state of the country. In his words, “banks are too big to fail [and] their CEO’s are too big to jail.”
He says he’s fed up with the fact that the wealthiest 14 people in America saw their wealth increase by $US157 billion in two years, while 45 million Americans continue to languish in poverty.
In another example, as of 2013, the heirs of Wal-Mart own more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American population.
Sanders says he believes that as the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, the US shouldn’t be experiencing such drastic levels of wealth inequality.
He wants to make tuition free in every public university in America, saying “if we can afford to spend $US38 billion more on the military we can afford to spend more on education.”
He is not happy with the status quo, and he has made it his mission to “engage and defeat the billionaire class of America.”
Speaking in front of a packed house at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco Monday, Sanders touched upon some of what he considers the most pressing issues facing the US today:
- On Citizens United: “If we don’t overturn Citizens United, a handful of billionaires will own the United States…We need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.”
- On media coverage of politics: “Politics has become a game show type of activity and a game of survivors [with] all of the gossip on who’s going to win and not win.”
- On moderating CEO salaries: “If CEO salaries are of a higher percentage above a certain worker’s, it is not tax deductible.”
- On Indiana’s ‘anti-gay’ legislation: “The governor of Indiana is absolutely on the wrong side of history, and they know it. I go to schools all over Vermont — I go to conservative parts of my state, and I say to the kids, ‘What do you think about gay marriage?’ And literally, the kids shrug their shoulders and say, ‘What are you talking about, what’s the issue'”?
- On the political influence of the Koch Brothers: “The Koch family now arguably has — or soon will have — more political power than either the Democratic of Republican parties. We believe they will spend more money this cycle than either the Democratic or Republican parties.”
- On President Obama: “The mistake Obama made…when he went to Washington, he actually thought that he could negotiate with the Republicans.”
- On running for President in 2016: “Anyone who wakes up in the morning and has this passionate desire to become the President of the United States is somebody you should never vote for…Obviously, it’s no great secret I am giving thought to being President…The question I have to ask is, if you take on the Koch Brothers, and if you take on Wall Street and call for the breaking up of the largest financial institutions in this country, and if you take on the healthcare insurance industry, and if you take on the pharmaceutical industry that charges us the highest prices in the world for medicine, and if you take on the military-industrial complex and say to them maybe they should not be selling weapons systems to the military for huge costs — you know, if you take on those people you’re gonna have a little bit of pushback.”
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