by Senator Bernie Sanders | September 18th, 2009 | Comments
Just the other day, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said “it is very likely that the recession has ended.”
Well, let me just suggest to Mr. Bernanke that today we have about 17 percent of our workforce – 26 million Americans – who are either unemployed, have given up looking for work because they no longer think a job is possible, or they are working part time when they want to work full time. That’s 17 percent of our population.
For those folks, I don’t think they believe this recession is over.
In fact, what they believe is that they are mired in the worst economic mess since the Great Depression.
by Senator Bernie Sanders | September 11th, 2009 | Comments
Americans have suffered for a year through the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. Millions of people have lost their jobs. We’re seeing people with very long-term unemployment. We are seeing older people who have lost their life’s savings and are now worried about how they are going to retire with dignity. We have seen people lose their homes, and we’ve seen people lose their pensions. We’ve seen, in many ways, the collapse of the American middle class.
What’s going on in Congress? I and some others have fought for an investigation to ask some simple questions: How did a handful of CEOs of major corporations precipitate this economic crisis? Who is accountable? Who should be going to jail? How do we make sure what happened in terms of the recklessness and irresponsibility on Wall Street doesn’t happen again? I wish that I could tell you that Congress is now doing that investigation. It is not.
We have got to understand what caused the problem in order to make the necessary reforms.
by Senator Bernie Sanders | September 3rd, 2009 | Comments
I am deeply concerned that we appear to be getting pulled into another quagmire from which we don’t know how to exit – this time, in Afghanistan.
Without the kind of national debate this country needs, we are sending more and more troops into Afghanistan – about 60 percent of all the foreign troops in the country are now Americans and that percentage is going to go up. We have already spent several hundred billion dollars in Afghanistan, and that number too will go up.
What I am not hearing is the national debate about what our exit strategy is going to be. We have been there now for eight years. How many more years will we be there? Originally we went in there to find Osama bin Laden; we have not accomplished that. What are our goals now?
by Senator Bernie Sanders | August 27th, 2009 | Comments
Ted Kennedy will go down in history as one of the giants of the U.S. Senate and one the most accomplished legislators in American history. He will also be remembered, by those who knew him, as an extremely warm and caring human being whose public service was a brilliant reflection of his love and devotion to his country, his friends and his family.
As a member of the Senate health and education committee, chaired by Senator Kennedy, I was always impressed by his intelligence, knowledge and seriousness of purpose. His career in public service was driven by a deep sense of compassion and a belief that, in this great country, every American should be entitled to quality health care, education and other basic needs as well as equal justice under the law.
His passion was that every single American has health care as a right of citizenship. He understood that there was something lacking in our country today when we remained the only nation in the industrialized world that does not provide health care to all people.
by Senator Bernie Sanders | August 21st, 2009 | Comments
At town hall meetings I’ve hosted in Vermont we proved something that makes us proud. We live in a state where people can have different points of view, yet we can listen to each other and treat each other with respect.
In Vermont, there are many others like me who think the best way to solve the health care crisis (and save $400 billion a year in the process) would be to replace private insurance companies with a single-payer Medicare-for-all system. Unfortunately, there are not many in the United States Senate who agree.
by Senator Bernie Sanders | August 13th, 2009 | Comments
For much of America, the all-American values depicted in Norman Rockwell’s classic illustrations are idealistic. For those of us from Vermont, they’re realistic. That’s what we do. When Norman Rockwell lived and worked in Vermont, the people he painted were from here. That town meeting depicted in the painting called “Freedom of Speech,” it took place in Arlington, Vt., where, as it happens, I will be hosting a town meeting on Saturday in a public park.
I don’t recognize the raucous and rowdy town meetings in other parts of the country that have grabbed big headlines this month. Those shouters and screamers talk about “freedom,” but what they are doing is trying to disrupt meetings. That’s the absolute opposite of what freedom of discussion is about. They are trying to shout down speakers and shut down town meetings because they are afraid to debate the real issues and the unprecedented set of problems our country now faces.
When I first entered Congress almost 20 years ago, there was no such thing as e-mail, and if you wanted to get a message out to the public, you had one of four major TV networks to choose from.
Today, e-mail is on the brink of becoming passé, and your choices for communicating with the public range from four TV networks and six cable news channels to a thousand blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and whatever social media outlet is six weeks away from becoming the next new thing.
While this has made life infinitely more complicated for my communications director, it has also made the world a more democratic place. Nowadays you don’t need to be a senator or a CEO or a celebrity to have a voice in the media, and if you happen to be a senator, a CEO or a celebrity, you have a thousand people each with their own respective audiences to hold you accountable. And as we all have come to learn only too well, there are plenty of senators and CEOs (maybe not celebrities) that need badly to be held to account.
by Senator Bernie Sanders | July 24th, 2009 | Comments
Our first teaser for the new weekly show “Senator Sanders Unfiltered,” hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders. The show will tackle the tough issues head on and by submitting your video questions, YOU can be part of it.