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Quotes of the day: Bernie Sanders

Published Monday, September 07, 2015 @ 2:12 PM EDT
Sep 07 2015

(Photo by Blair Kelly and Tylor Bohlman, truthdig.com)

Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for President in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and is a politician who currently serves as the junior United States Senator from Vermont.

Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history. A self-described democratic socialist, he favors policies similar to those of social democratic parties in Europe, particularly those instituted by the Nordic countries. He caucuses with the Democratic Party and has been the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee since January 2015.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sanders attended Brooklyn College before transferring to and graduating from the University of Chicago. While a student, he was a member of the Young People's Socialist League and active in the Civil Rights Movement as a protest organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1963, he participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Sanders settled in Vermont in 1968, and ran unsuccessfully for Governor and U.S. Senator in the early to mid-1970s as a member of the Liberty Union Party. As an independent, Sanders was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont's most populous city, in 1981. He was reelected to three more two-year mayoral terms before being elected to represent Vermont's at-large congressional district in the United States House of Representatives in 1990. He served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to succeed the retiring Republican-turned-independent Jim Jeffords in the U.S. Senate in 2006. In 2012, he was reelected by a large margin, capturing almost 71% of the popular vote.

Since his election to the Senate, Sanders has emerged as a leading progressive voice on issues such as income inequality, universal healthcare, parental leave, climate change, LGBT rights, and campaign finance reform. He rose to national prominence on the heels of his 2010 filibuster against the proposed extension of the Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy. Sanders is also outspoken on civil rights and civil liberties, and has been particularly critical of mass surveillance policies such as the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. He has long been critical of U.S. foreign policy, and was an early and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much, while so many have so little.

CEOs of large corporations earn 400 times what their workers make. That is not what America is supposed to be about.

How could anybody defend the top 400 richest people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people?

I fear very much that for the first time in the modern history of our country the next generation will have a lower standard of living than their parents, and that would be a real tragedy.

If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.

If you can't afford to take care of your veterans, then don't go to war. These people are bearing the brunt of what war is about. We have a moral obligation to support them.

Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.

Let us wage a moral and political war against war itself, so that we can cut military spending and use that money for human needs.

No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure could send the world economy into another financial crisis.

Planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war. So is taking care of the men and women who use those weapons and fight our battles.

Right now, billionaires pay in to the Social Security trust fund the same amount of money as someone making $110,000 a year. And if we lift that cap to $250,000... Social Security will be solvent for the next 75 years.

The American people want to know that when they borrow a book from the library or buy a book, the government won't be looking over their shoulder. Everybody wants to fight terrorism, but we have to do it in away that protects American freedom.

The fact of the matter is that while tens of millions of American families are struggling to put bread on the table and are often one paycheck away from economic devastation, the wealthiest people in this country have never had it so good.

The Republicans are against every piece of legislation that would benefit working Americans. Why do they oppose raising the minimum wage, pay equity for women, ending our disastrous unfettered free trade policies and expanding Social Security? Government is supposed to represent all Americans, not just the billionaire class.

The rich people apparently are leaving America. They're giving up their citizenship. These great lovers of America who made their money in this country- when you ask them to pay their fair share of taxes, they're running abroad. We have 19-year-old kids who died in Iraq and Afghanistan defending this country. They went abroad. Not to escape taxes. They're working class kids who died in wars and now billionaires want to run abroad to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. What patriotism! What love of country!

The U.S. constitution is an extraordinary document. In my view, it should not be amended often.

The votes elected officials make should be based on the best interests of the American people, not the fear of retribution when shadowy groups spend millions of dollars on negative advertisements.

There are 492 billionaires living in this country and 16 million kids living in poverty.

They talk about class warfare- the fact of the matter is there has been class warfare for the last thirty years. It's a handful of billionaires taking on the entire middle-class and working class of this country.

Two-thirds of the directors at the New York Fed are hand-picked by the same bankers that the Fed is in charge of regulating.

We all remember Abraham Lincoln's wonderful remarks at Gettysburg in which he describes America as a country 'of the people, by the people and for the people.' Well, with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision we are rapidly becoming a nation of the very rich, by the very rich, for the very rich. And that is a horrendous tragedy. This is not the America that men and women throughout our history fought and died to defend.

We have billions to spend on a war but no money to take care of the very pressing needs of the American people.

What people are saying is, 'Enough is enough. The billionaire class cannot have it all.'

What the American people want to see in their president is somebody who not necessarily can win every fight, but they want to see him stand up and fight for what he believes, take his case to the American people.

What Wall Street and credit card companies are doing is really not much different from what gangsters and loan sharks do who make predatory loans. While the bankers wear three-piece suits and don't break the knee caps of those who can't pay back, they still are destroying people's lives.

When men and women stand together for justice, we win. When black, white and Hispanic people stand together for justice, we win.

When you pay at Wal-Mart starvation wages and you don't provide benefits, who picks up the difference? The answer is that many of the workers in Wal-Mart end up getting Medicaid; they get food stamps; they get affordable housing paid for by the taxpayers of this country- while the Walton family remains the wealthiest family in the country. If that is not obscene, I don't know what is.

You have given the wealthiest portion of the population a tax break, and now you are coming before the American people and saying, we don't have enough money to protect the sick and the old.

You know, I think many people have the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street. In truth that's not the case. The real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress.


September 8 is also the birthday of Sid Caesar and Thomas Szasz.



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