The Senate just passed a Budget Resolution, and in his Senate Floor speech yesterday morning, Bernie Sanders comments on the absurdities in the budget proposal just passed by Senate Republicans (Scroll for video).
Bernie describes the budget as “an absolute disaster for the working families of this country.”
Let’s take a look at what’s in it, shall we?
“People don’t even really believe you when you talk about what is in this budget.” – Bernie Sanders
Repealing the Estate Tax – which benefits only the richest of the rich Americans.
Bernie says, “And do you know what the Republican budget says to these guys? Hey, $157 billion increase in your wealth in two years? Not enough. We’re going to give your families a very significant tax break by ending the Estate Tax.”
He points out that The Walton Family, which owns Wal-Mart, owns more wealth than the bottom 42% of the American people. That’s 134,000,000 people. Here’s what that looks like…
Throwing 27,000,000 Americans off healthcare by repealing the Affordable Care Act
The Republican budget, by ending the Affordable Care Act, by cutting Medicaid by over 400 billion throws 27 million Americans off of health insurance. 27 MILLION AMERICANS — MEN, WOMEN, KIDS — OFF OF HEALTH INSURANCE.
I don’t want to make this all about me, but this is personal. Speaking as an American who has been through cancer treatment, who is in debt because of cancer treatment…giving insurance companies the ability to refuse to cover me, or to essentially cut out my ability to be covered by raising my rates due to “pre-existing conditions” is abhorrent.
It’s just immoral.
Bernie asks, “What happens to those people? How many of those 27 million people will die? Certainly thousands, because when they get sick, they’re not going to be able to go to a doctor. How many of those people will suffer because they had illnesses that could have been treated or cured, but they can’t go to a doctor?”
I want to know, too, Republicans.
Ending Medicare as we know it
“At a time when senior poverty is increasing, the Republican budget calls for ending medicare as we know it by turning it into voucher program.
What does that mean?
What the Republican idea is, that we give people a voucher — I don’t know that they have an exact amount for that voucher, maybe $8000, whatever — and they say, here’s a check for $8000. And you’re 85 years of age and you’re struggling with cancer. Here’s your check for $8000, and you go out to a private insurance company and you get the best deal you can.
You tell me what kind of private insurance you’re going to be able to get? How many days will it last you in the hospital?”
I know you all know that answer to this……not very many.
Cutting Pell Grants by More Than $85 BILLION Making College Education More Expensive for Some 8 Million Americans
“Instead of helping make us competitive in a global economy by giving us the best-educated workforce, what they do is move us in the wrong direction.” — by cutting Pell Grants.
Cutting Hunger Programs
“In the midst of this extremely wealthy nation, disgracefully, today we have millions and millions of families who literally are worrying about how they’re going to put food on the table and feed their kids tomorrow and next week.”
“We have people who are working 40, 50 hours a week but because their wages are so low, they don’t earn enough money to buy the food they need to properly take care of their kids, feed their kids well. And those families literally go to emergency food shelters all over America.”
And what is the Republican response to hunger in America?
“The Republican response is massive cuts — MASSIVE CUTS — to food stamps, to the W.I.C. program. The W.I.C program is a program designed to make sure that low-income pregnant women have good nutrition and that their babies have good nutrition.”
The Republicans say to cut that program. And while we are at it, cut the Meals on Wheels programs for fragile seniors.
Allowing the Expanded Earned-Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to Expire
When the rich are getting richer, when almost all new income and wealth is going to the people on top, what have the Republicans decided to do for the wealthiest 6,000 families in America, the top.2% — the top .2% of 1%?
What they say to these billionaire families is that we’re going to give you a massive tax break by repealing the Estate tax.
99% of the people will not gain one nickel from the repeal of the estate tax.
But to add insult to injury, while giving a huge tax break to the billionaire class, what the Republican budget also says is…
“Let’s see if we can raise taxes on lower income and working-class families by allowing the expanded Earned-incomeTax Credit and Child Tax Credit to expire.
These are tax credits that go to working families and lower income families who have kids. ”
“They’re going to allow that to expire at the same time as they give a massive tax break to the wealthiest families in this country.”
Don’t Worry….Just Put the Wars on the Credit Card
On the subject of the deficit, Bernie agrees that it’s a problem, but he points out one of the major causes, which “is that the United States under President Bush went into war in Iraq, went into war in Afghanistan.”
Bernie says, “Now, nobody knows what the end cost of that war will be by the time we take care of the last veteran 50 or 60 years from now, but the best guesses are that those wars will cost us $4 trillion to $6 trillion by the time we take care of the needs of the last veteran who served in those wars.”
“How did we pay for those wars? Every other country that we fought, Presidents had the courage to say wars are expensive, we’re going to raise taxes. Not in this case.”
“Those wars were put on the credit card, $4 trillion to $6 trillion and we didn’t pay for it.
But apparently my Republican colleagues haven’t learned a simple lesson — that you can’t be honest and worry about the deficit and then go to war and not pay for it.
What they have done in this budget is to increase Pentagon spending by another $38 billion next year and $186 billion over the next 10 years.
And how is that paid for? Oh, it’s not paid for. It goes on to the credit card.
They put it all into the so-called o.c.o. account — and this is, by the way, an account that many of my conservative friends have called an accounting gimmick. So here we are. Here we are, Mr. President, at a time when this country probably faces more serious problems than at any time since the great depression.
Middle class is disappearing, poverty much too high, the gap between the very, very, very rich and everybody else growing wider and wider, real unemployment much too high, young people unable to afford to go to college. And on every one of those issues, the Republican budget does exactly — the Republican budget does exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.
In the year 2015, we should not be voting or bringing forth a budget which makes the billionaires even richer while cutting programs for people who are struggling.
With an $18 trillion debt, we should not be increasing military spending by simply adding that money on to the deficit.”
I love Bernie.