Archive for Sen. Bernie Sanders

Warren not running for president, Sanders "willing to consider," GOP doesn't have candidates for U.S. Senate

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2016 speculation jon stewart

Per the Burlington Free Press, 72-year-old Senator Bernie Sanders is well aware of the immense challenges one must confront in order to make a presidential run. However-- and this took me by surprise after hearing him declare repeatedly that he would not run-- he recently dropped a hint that contradicted his previous denials:

Still, Sanders says he is willing to consider making a run if no one else with progressive views similar to his ends up taking the plunge.

It is essential, he said, to have someone in the 2016 presidential campaign who is willing to take on Wall Street, address the “collapse” of the middle class, tackle the spread of poverty and fiercely oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

But then he jolted us back in time to recollections of Ralph Nader's candidacies, which would mean jumping through hoops to  get his name on the general election ballot in 50 states, not to mention being identified as "The Spoiler" candidate.

And don't get him started on the enormous demands of having to fundraise. He'd have nothing to do with corporate Wall Street money, which of course would whittle down his chances of raking in the big bucks.

And then there's that pesky "independent" label:

Sanders said if he does run, he would “probably” do so as an independent. It’s a label that has been of value to him in his statewide races but could become a complication as a presidential hopeful.“The disadvantages of being an independent are you not going to get in these big debates that you have on television,” he said. “But I’m very proud to be an independent.”

But then he added that he'd be "comfortable with an Elizabeth Warren presidential bid." Hey, so would a lot of people, including yours truly.

There's just one problem.

BuzzFeed:

Elizabeth Warren’s former national finance chair, Paul Egerman, has told several inquiring donors this month that, despite runaway speculation and a burning desire from the party’s left wing, the freshman senator will not run for president in 2016. [...]

One Democratic fundraiser said he spoke with Egerman roughly two weeks ago... “It’s not gonna happen” [...]

Lacey Rose, Warren’s press secretary, gave BuzzFeed the following statement: “As Senator Warren has said many times, she is not running for president,” Rose said.

Three attendees at last week’s Democracy Alliance meetings cautioned that there is already an understanding inside fundraising circles that Warren would not consider running unless Clinton bows out of the race — a possibility that looks increasingly unlikely...

On the upside, the National Journal is reporting on the 2014 U.S. Senate races and the Republican deficits therein:

Republicans are giddy about their chances to retake the Senate on the back of a disaster known as Obamacare. There's just one problem: The GOP doesn't have the right candidates to make it happen.

Sure, in the high-profile races of 2014, Republicans have recruited competitive contenders to take on red-state Democrats. But in the second-tier contests, the ones that could suddenly become competitive if the national mood turns increasingly toxic for Democrats, the GOP's cast of hopefuls ranges from the unknown to the unelectable.

The NJ described it as "the dearth of credible candidates." They nailed it. Why? Well, think about it: GOP credibility? Oxymoron.

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Bernie Sanders: You can't fix the economy simply by shredding the safety net

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GOP it's not about you

What oh what would we Progressives do without Bernie Sanders? In today's Los Angeles Times, he wrote an op-ed laying out in very clear detail how to make wise choices about how to fix the economy.

Sanders, thankfully, is a member of a budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent Senate and House members doing what they can, supposedly, to avoid another GOP government shutdown.

Senator Sanders explains how to move forward (as opposed to the same old backward, destructive GOP ideas), and how we managed to go from healthy surpluses to (unnecessary) deficits.

He reminds us that by the end of President Clinton's presidency, we had a a $236-billion surplus, and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, meaning we could have erased the national debt by 2011.

Too bad Republicans screwed that up.

And of course, they're blaming President Obama for the horrible outcomes of their horrible policies and horrible obstruction. Here's how it really went down:

  • GW Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq wars were not paid for.
  • Those wars cost us up to $6 trillion.
  • Those wars were put on our national credit card.
  • Bush signed Congress's costly prescription drug bill.
  • That costly prescription drug program was not paid for either.
  • Bush and Congress gave big fat tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
  • As a result, revenue went down.
  • The 2008 recession, caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, also caused revenue to drop.
  • Big fat surpluses turned into big fat deficits.

tadaa3Now gather 'round kiddies, because it's Hypocrisy Time!

Yay

Interestingly, today's "deficit hawks" in Congress — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other conservative Republicans — voted for those measures that drove up deficits. Now that they're worried about deficits again, they want to dismantle virtually every social program designed to protect working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

In other words, it's OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations.

booo

Sanders goes on to say that austerity doesn't work, because it clearly hurts those who are already suffering.

Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. [...]

At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.

He also thinks it would be a swell idea if Congress members started, you know, listening to the American people, especially because so many polls show that we don't want cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, according to a recent National Journal poll, 81% do not want to cut Medicare at all, 76% do not want to cut Social Security at all, and 60% do not want to cut Medicaid at all. Other polls make it clear that Americans believe that the wealthiest among us and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

So, Republicans (and even some Dems), how about paying more attention to us, the voters, instead of trying to grab it all for yourselves? It's not about you. It's about all of us. It's about We the People.

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VIDEO: Bernie Sanders Writes Law to Break Them Up: 10 Largest Banks Bigger Now Than Before Taxpayer Bailout

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banks too big to prosecute sanders v holder

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)  charges in a news release issued from his Senate office:

The 10 largest banks in the United States are bigger now than before a taxpayer bailout following the 2008 financial crisis when the Federal Reserve propped up financial institutions with $16 trillion in near zero-interest loans and Congress approved a $700 billion rescue for banks that some considered “too big to fail.” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. now says the Justice Department may not pursue criminal cases against big banks because filing charges could “have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”

“We have a situation now where Wall Street banks are not only too big to fail, they are too big to jail,” Sanders said. “That is unacceptable and that has got to change because America is based on a system of law and justice.”

[...]

As a result of this Obama administration economic injustice and the threat that letting the same rip-off artists who caused the American economy to collapse continue to run even bigger banks and financial entities, Sanders and his staff penned a bill. It's a short piece of legislation that gets right to the point in Section 3:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall break up entities include on the Too Big To Fail List, so that their failure would no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States or global economy without a taxpayer bailout.

[...]

If you want your dose of restoring economic accountability and justice to America, watch the Sanders/Sherman news conference on the law that would break up the too big to fail banks, [in the video above].

Please read the entire post here.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Having [Obama] go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism...”

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grand bargain social securitychained cpi social security

Hey, remember this? V.P. Biden “flat guarantees” no changes in Social Security, which “effectively takes Social Security off the table.”

So this happened: Obama budget would cut entitlements in exchange for tax increases:

President Obama will release a budget next week that proposes significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security and fewer tax hikes than in the past, a conciliatory approach that he hopes will convince Republicans to sign onto a grand bargain that would curb government borrowing and replace deep spending cuts that took effect March 1. [...]

Obama proposes, for instance, to change the cost-of-living calculation for Social Security in a way that will reduce benefits for most beneficiaries, a key Republican request that he had earlier embraced only as part of a compromise. Many Democrats say they are opposed to any Social Security cuts and are likely to be furious that such cuts are now being proposed as official administration policy. [...]

Overall, the budget request reflects Obama’s stark shift in strategy over the last month, as he has adopted a far more congenial posture toward the opposition...

“Millions of working people, seniors, disabled veterans, those who have lost a loved one in combat, and women will be extremely disappointed if President Obama caves into the long-standing Republican effort to cut Social Security,” Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats, said earlier this week, after reports surfaced that Obama might include the change in his budget.

“In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told the American people that he would not cut Social Security. Having him go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism that our country is experiencing today.”

"Disappointed" indeed.

Why does President Obama still not grasp that Republicans do not like him  (maybe he does), refuse to compromise (maybe he doesn't), and will continue to do everything they can to obstruct sensible Democratic plans and to make mincemeat of his legacy? They've always wanted him to fail, and they continue to want him to fail. They're doing whatever it takes to make that happen. As has always been the case, they have no intention of working with him, only against him, the well-being of the rest of us be damned.

Why does he still insist on bargaining from the center and moving right instead of starting from the left and moving center-left? Well, for one thing, as I've always said, he's no liberal, as I made clear in this post:

...President Obama’s willingness to cut Social Security benefits? Or his strong consideration of signing off on a disaster-in-waiting (see: State Dep’t. draft report looks promising for backers of Keystone XL pipeline)? Or his indefinite detention of detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Or his stance on wiretaps? Or his reluctance to go after Bush, Cheney, and company for lying us into a fraudulent invasion of a sovereign country and torturing prisoners? Or allowing nearly all of the Bush tax cuts to remain in place? Some liberal.

It's one thing to be realistic and understand where a deal will likely end up. It's another to break promises, to doom any chances of keeping the programs intact that those on the left (and most voters) hold dear and rely upon, and to cater far more to those on the right.

The GOP was going to reject Democratic ideas regardless of what the president came in with, so why not begin negotiations with a more Progressive stance and one that is more popular overall?

Here's an idea, why not eliminate the payroll tax earnings cap? Oh, and there's this. The sequester was designed to force Democrats into supporting a Grand Bargain.

The following chart is from StrengthenSocialSecurity.org. Please follow the link to see how proposed changes would also affect veterans, and so much more.You can find more charts and information here, too.

chart social security chained CPI

The important thing to know is that this change would cut the benefits of all beneficiaries, including current retirees, disabled workers, and others–even after politicians promised repeatedly that any changes to Social Security would not affect current beneficiaries. The COLA cut is a real threat to the financial security of every American who does currently or will rely on Social Security.

And please read Why Social Security Recipients Shouldn't Be Shackled With The Chained CPI. More here.

The always astute Dave Johnson (@dcjohnson) had this to say in an email:

The Obama budget is going to offer "Grand Bargain" cuts in Social Security and Medicare, hoping to get Republicans to offer tax increases. We are heading into a retirement crisis. The 401K experiment didn't work. Companies have pulled back on pensions. And the squeeze that has been on regular people for decades means that people also do not have the savings they need to get them through old age. And all the money went to the top. The last thing the country needs is cuts in essential services for the elderly.

Who Could Have Predicted:

"If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That’s no way to lead and move the country forward," Boehner said in a statement.

If they say they are offering to "protect"  the oldest and poorest from this, then what does this mean is going to happen to the rest?

Want to try to make a difference? Contact your Senators here. I just did.

grand bargain social security 2

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