Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bernie Sanders' Program: The Cliff Notes


Bernie Sanders' platform is extensive, well-developed, and the result of a lifetime of studying the issues and taking strong positions and fighting for them from the early days as Mayor of Burlington to the floor of the US Senate.  For this reason it may be a bit overwhelming for some people.  The following are some major points of his agenda.

  • Environment: Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with a full understanding of the seriousness of global warming and climate change, and a plan to address it.  Bernie has consistently opposed the fracking industry.  Hillary Clinton has been a friend to this industry until recently when, as with many things, she changed her position during debates with Bernie.

  • Break up the big, "too big to fail banks" so we won't have to bail them out again, because if we don't it will drag down the economy.  See Bernie's ad on this below, and issues page here.

  • Free college in the US and college debt relief, paid for by a fraction of one percent tax on speculative Wall Street transactions.  It's time for the US to join many other advanced, industrialized countries in Europe and elsewhere in putting a premium on a highly-educated workforce.
  • There is much misunderstanding about how Bernie will change income tax rates.  If you are making less than $250,000 per year, the proposed changes don't affect you Bernie is committed to rebuilding the Middle Class which is now being destroyed, not further taxing it.
  • The US Constitution: Bernie opposes the Patriot Act, and believes the NSA should be reined in from violating the rights of innocent Americans not under suspicion for anything.  
  •  War and Peace: Bernie Sanders voted against the Iraq War, one of the most important votes of any congressman's or senator's life.  Hillary Clinton voted for it.  One thing worth noting: Active duty military are some of Bernie Sanders' biggest supporters.  Our soldiers trust Bernie.

Some Questions (and Answers)

  •  Bernie Sanders has called himself a socialist.  What does that mean?

Answer: First let's start with what it does not mean.  It does not mean "communism" or state ownership of the means of production.  Bernie has said:

“The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist — like tomorrow — remember this: I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street, or own the means of production,”
The fact is we in America already have socialism.  But much of it is in the form of subsidies for large corporations which don't need it.  Even the conservative Forbes Magazine wrote in 2014:

"The largest, wealthiest, most powerful organizations in the world are on the public dole. Where is the outrage? Back when I was young, people went into a frenzy at the thought of some unemployed person using food stamps to buy liquor or cigarettes. Ronald Reagan famously campaigned against welfare queens. The right has always been obsessed with moochers. But Boeing receives $13 billion in government handouts and everyone yawns, when conservatives should be grabbing their pitchforks."
Bernie favors programs which help build the Middle Class, and not the bottom lines of wealthy corporations.  Why is it only called "socialism" when it benefits the 99% rather than the 1%?

  • Can Bernie beat Donald Trump?
Answer: Not only can he beat Trump, he may the the only candidate who can.  Hillary leads Trump in national polls but Bernie leads Trump by much more than Hillary does.  There are many reasons for this.  If you want to be on the safe side and vote for the candidate who will beat Trump, then your choice is Bernie.