Friday, March 23, 2007

Sanders Blasts Republicans On Economy

In arguing for property tax reductions for middle-class homeowners on the Senate floor this week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gave a speech that really puts the Bush economy into perspective. The GOP likes to rave about how wonderful things are in the U.S. economy and Sanders spells out exactly why only the wealthiest among us seem to feel all this euphoria, while most average Americans are sucking wind:

Here's Senator Sanders:
"I wonder how the Bush administration can tell us how great the economy is doing when more than 5 million Americans have slipped into poverty since the President has been in office, including over 1 million children. That is not a booming economy.

"How can the economy be doing well when median income for working-age families has declined for 5 years in a row and when the personal savings rate in this country now is below zero, something which has not happened since the Great Depression?

"How can our economy be doing well when almost 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance since President Bush has been in office and when, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 35 million Americans struggled to put food on the table last year and hunger in America is increasing? If hunger is increasing, that, to my mind, does not sound like a booming economy.

"How can people talk about our economy doing so well when college students are graduating with about $20,000 in debt and some 400,000 qualified high school students don't go to college because they can't afford it? We all talk about education, education, education. Hundreds of thousands of young people cannot afford to go to college.

"How can our economy be doing great when home foreclosures have skyrocketed to the highest level in nearly four decades, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and when we have lost over 3 million good-paying manufacturing jobs since President Bush has been in office?

"How can our economy be doing so great when 3 million fewer American workers have pension coverage today than when President Bush took office, and half of private sector American workers have no pension coverage whatsoever?

"When the President of the United States and his administration tell us the economy is doing great, well, they are partially right. While the economy is not doing well for the middle class or working families of our country, it is doing very well for the wealthiest people in America. That is the truth.

"Today, the wealthiest people in our country are becoming much wealthier. In fact, they have not had it so good since the 1920s. That is the reality. The middle class is shrinking, poverty is increasing, the people at the top have never had it so good since the 1920s, and we have, as a nation, the dubious distinction of now having, by far, the widest gap between the rich and the poor of any major country on earth.

"Today, the upper 1 percent of families in America have not had it so good since the 1920s. According to Forbes Magazine, the collective net worth of the wealthiest 400 Americans increased by $120 billion last year to $1.25 trillion. The 400 wealthiest Americans are now worth $1.25 trillion at the same time that hunger in America is increasing and 5 million more of our citizens have slipped into poverty.

"If as a nation we are serious about addressing the long neglected needs of the working people of America and creating a more just society, we have to change our national priorities. The wealthiest people in this country are doing just fine. They are doing really well. It is time we pay attention to working families, to the middle class, to the people who are struggling."
Sanders may be a registered Independent, but he's a better Democrat than a bunch of people with a "D" next to their names and I'm very thankful the smart people in Vermont sent him to the U.S. Senate in November.