Bernie Sanders has posted his speech, or FiliBernie, on his web site. Here are a few excerpts:
Here is one of the interesting ironies. There are lists of many very wealthy people who have come forward and said: Sure, I want a tax break. Everybody wants a tax break. But you know what, there are other priorities in this country, and I don’t need it. Two of the wealthiest people in the world–and these are billionaires–Bill Gates of Microsoft and Warren Buffett of Berkshire, say: It is absurd. We don’t need a tax break. [...]
Here is the important point I think many people do not know. I have to confess my Republican friends and their pollsters and their language people have done a very good job. This is the so-called death tax. I think all over America people say this is terrible. I have $50,000 in the bank and I want to leave that to my kids and the Government is going to take 55 percent of that, 35 percent of that. What an outrage.
Let us be very clear: This tax applies only–only–to the top three-tenths of 1 percent of American families; 99.7 percent of American families will not pay one nickel in an estate tax. This is not a tax on the rich, this is a tax on the very, very, very rich.
If my Republican friends had been successful in doing what they want to do, which is eliminate this estate tax completely, it would have cost our Treasury–raised the national debt by $1 trillion over a 10-year period. Families such as the Walton family, of Wal-Mart fame, would have received, just this one family, about a $30 billion tax break. [...]
This payroll tax holiday concept, as I understand it, originally started with conservative Republicans. I know the Vice President recently made the point this was originally a Republican idea. Why did the Republicans come up with this idea? These are exactly the same people who do not believe in Social Security. These are the same people who either want to make significant cuts in Social Security or else they want to privatize Social Security entirely.
Here is the point: They understand that if we divert funding that is supposed to go into the Social Security trust fund, which is what this payroll tax holiday does, this is money that goes into the Social Security trust fund that is now being diverted, cut back, in order to provide financial support for workers–but that is a lot of money not going into the trust fund. What the President and others are saying is not to worry because that money will be covered by the general fund. That is a very bad and dangerous precedent. [...]
The point is, what most economists would tell you is when you invest in infrastructure, you get a bigger bang for the buck. You create more jobs for your investment than, in most instances, giving a variety of tax breaks to the corporate world…. . It is not just creating jobs, it is creating jobs for very specific purposes, which makes our Nation more productive and efficient. [...]
[W]hat would happen if this agreement would pass? Does anybody seriously believe our Republican colleagues would then say: OK, well, we have an extension of tax breaks for the very richest people. We have lowered the tax rate on the estate tax. Those are good victories for millionaires and billionaires. We are going to go home now. We are not going to continue the fight. I do not think so. We are already hearing sounds about where our Republican friends want to go. [...]
They do not believe in things like the Environmental Protection Agency. They do not believe in things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal aid to education. That is the fight we will be waging. [...]
This fight is not going to be won inside the beltway in a Senate debate. It is going to be won when the American people stand and say: Wait a second. We cannot continue to give tax breaks to people who are doing phenomenally well right now. We cannot give tax breaks to the rich when we already have the most unequal distribution of income of any major country on Earth. [...]
I believe in the coming months you are going to see an intensification of efforts to expand unfettered free trade. I think that will be a continuation of a disastrous policy for American workers.