RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Sanders writes: "When I look out into our country today, I see our great middle class, once the envy of the world, in a 40-year decline, with millions of Americans working longer hours for lower wages."

Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Des Moines Register)
Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Des Moines Register)

Now Is the Time for Bold Action

By Bernie Sanders, The Des Moines Register

13 July 17


hen President Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked out into America during the Great Depression, he saw a third of our nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. And he acted.

He imposed the toughest banking regulations our nation has ever seen. He radically transformed our country by signing into law Social Security, the minimum wage, unemployment insurance, programs that put millions of Americans back to work and a dramatic increase in taxes on the wealthy. The top 1 percent despised him for it. Instead of cowering, he took them on.

Three days before his first re-election, FDR stood on stage at Madison Square Garden and proudly proclaimed that the big money interests were unanimous in their hatred for him and he welcomed their hatred. He knew which side he was on.

When I look out into our country today, I see our great middle class, once the envy of the world, in a 40-year decline, with millions of Americans working longer hours for lower wages. I see 43 million people living in poverty, and the United States having, by far, the highest rate of childhood poverty of nearly any major country.

I see the United States experiencing more income and wealth inequality than at any time since 1928, with the top 0.1 percent owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent and with 52 percent of all new income going to the top 1 percent.

I see a political system in which billionaires are able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to help elect candidates who represent the rich and the powerful, while ignoring the needs of the working families of this country.

Despite the gains of the Affordable Care Act, I see 28 million Americans still without health insurance and millions more under-insured and unable to afford the outrageous price of prescription drugs.

I see hundreds of thousands of bright and qualified young Americans unable to go to college because their families lack the funds and millions of students overwhelmed with appalling levels of debt.

I see all of these problems and more.

The only way to confront these and the other very serious challenges we face as a country is to put forward a bold progressive agenda, like FDR did in his day — one that represents the interests of all Americans, not just the wealthy and the powerful.

The United States must join the rest of the industrialized world in recognizing health care as a right of all people, not a privilege. Instead of throwing 22 million Americans off of health insurance, which is what the extreme right wing wants to do, we should establish a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system to make sure that all Americans have quality health care.

At a time when CEOs of the largest corporations in this country make over 345 times more than the average worker, we must raise the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour.

We must also ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. Today, women earn just 80 percent of what their male counterparts make. That is grossly unfair.

At a time when over half of older workers have no retirement savings, we need to expand Social Security benefits, not cut them as some of my Republican colleagues want.

In America, children born into wealthy families have a far better chance of getting a good education than those born poor and even middle class. We must provide high quality, affordable education for all Americans — from child care to higher education.

At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we need a progressive tax system based on the ability to pay. It is unacceptable that one out of five large, profitable corporations pays nothing in federal income taxes, and that corporate CEOs enjoy effective tax rates that are lower than that of their secretaries. It is absurd that we lose more than $100 billion a year in revenue because corporations and the wealthy stash their cash in offshore tax havens around the world. That has got to end. The wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations must pay more, not less in taxes.

It is also unacceptable that financial institutions are allowed to engage in the same kind of risky behavior that tanked the economy during the financial crisis in 2008 and back in FDR’s day. Banks are supposed to facilitate productive and job-creating activities, not gamble with our economy. Right now, six huge financial institutions are underwriting more than 35 percent of the mortgages in this country and more than two-thirds of the credit cards. They are too powerful to be reformed. It is time to break them up.

A truly progressive agenda is not about Democrat vs. Republican, or progressive vs. conservative. It is about implementing an agenda for America’s future that’s both sound and fair. FDR’s courage helped the United States recover from one of the most devastating economic crises in our history, and it brought decades of good jobs and living wages. We must have the courage today to fight for a government and an economy that do the same.

U.S. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-Vt., a presidential candidate in 2016, will be the keynote speaker at CCI Action’s statewide convention on Saturday at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. For more information or to register, call (515) 255-0800 or go to your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+56 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-13 15:36
I just wonder if the mass media and the democratic party were not so obsessed with Russiagate there would be more coverage of the Bernie Sanders Movement. Russiagate is crowding out a discussion of the issues that Sanders wants us to focus on. Where is the discussion of the struggling middle class. And discussion of the lowest income earners is almost unheard of.

Personally, I don't care at all about the issues being raised in the Russiagate investigations. They all seem like "trumped up issues to me." Sanders is talking about the things that matter.

All Sanders needs to do is add an anti-war component to his platform. The US is in a classic "guns or butter" moment. It cannot have war all over the world and trillion dollar weapons acquisition programs and also rebuild the decaying social program. It can have one or the other, not both. Sanders should be saying this.
+28 # Brice 2017-07-13 22:32
I heard some interesting facts the other day in a podcast.

Russia's expenditures on the military budget is about $60 billions.

Russia's GDP is less than Germany's, France's, Great Britain's ... even Canada's - much less if you combine all these countries into a European Union.

This exaggeration of the threat of Russia who is just trying to protect itself is total BS. Russia can never be a threat to the US. We complain about Russian responding to be asked to accept Crimea back into Russia, while the US still bullies Cuba and the nations or South and Central America and is actively still seeking to overthrow Venezuela.

The Cold War is over, and military budgets need to go way down, and the US needs to start spending our military budget to protect the US, not US interests which are the interests of the very billionaires who are a threat to all the rest of us just as much as they are to Russia and all the other countries we seek to dominate.

It is time for Americans to stand up and demand to be treated like citizens, not like slaves. We need a social, moral and economic reckoning and redress in America. I think we all know Bernie gets this.
+4 # elkingo 2017-07-14 11:31
You're right on the (ahem) "money" and your note is crystalline clear. Russiagate is bullshit, even if they are complicit in dirty electoral stuff. It is the American (well, Western) imperOIList class that's maniclly and irrationally devoted to profits which is destroying lives the world over, not just here.
-6 # Farafalla 2017-07-14 00:00
"Personally, I don't care at all about the issues being raised in the Russiagate investigations. "
Really? Every opportunity to defend Trump on Russia is taken by this troll.
Even as the clock tics louder and louder like the tell tale heart.
+16 # LionMousePudding 2017-07-14 09:56
There is no defending of Trump for anything in my book.

There is analysis that most of this Russia Russia Russia Russia chorus is a nothingburger designed to hide the fact that the Democrats are barely fighting Trump's assaults on the people of this and other countries.

Lots of people in these comments agree.

It is an ad hominem and self-service argument to label everyone who disagrees with you a troll.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-14 18:25
Fara -- I don't think you'd know what a troll was if it bit you smack on the ass. For the record, a troll is someone who attacks or flames others on a website and does not contribute anything to the topic. Take a look in a mirror. For the record, I do not attack others. I respect the opinions of others. I'm looking for ways to contribute to our collective knowledge of a subject.
0 # Depressionborn 2017-07-16 19:52
RE: Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-13 15:36
WAR: "All Sanders needs to do is add an anti-war component to his platform."

Yes, RR, but why war? [what would happen if we ever stop our warmongering??? ] There must be a reason.
+55 # DongiC 2017-07-13 18:01
I am with you, Bernie, all the way.
+28 # tedrey 2017-07-13 22:45
Bernie still makes sense all the way.
+1 # Trumpistheswamp 2017-07-13 22:52
Here's a bold move Bernie, JOIN AND BUILD THE GREEN PARTY ASAP. The rethuglicans and corporacrats will NEVER agree with with your vision. They've got us in a stranglehold. A third party is the ONLY solution. Millions will join if you lead.
+11 # LionMousePudding 2017-07-14 09:57
A third party is the only solution in my book too

But not the Greens. That brand is sullied.

The People's Party will also attract the Republicans who believed Trump would be for the people.
+3 # Trumpistheswamp 2017-07-14 12:49
The Greens are sullied in the smallest of ways. I'm sure if Bernie started his own party I'd jump on that too, and if he went Green you'd be there for him.
-1 # Trumpistheswamp 2017-07-16 00:13
Sullied, schmullied! They are a nascent movement that will grow by leaps and bounds soon.
+7 # diamondmarge7 2017-07-13 23:02
Me, too!
+17 # Wise woman 2017-07-13 23:47
I have a feeling that Bernie will be able to fill Madison Square garden in the not too distant future. And you are correct RR, Bernie needs to address the war machine and the trillions that support it. If the trump people are so into nationalism and isolation, then they should support getting out of the middle east. We could rebuild every bridge, road, have free education and health care and plenty left over to address our climate issues and Planned Parenthood, etc. And that's just for starters.
+24 # grandlakeguy 2017-07-13 23:59
Bernie PLEASE.... be the hero that rips the lid of secrecy off of the scandal that no one will talk about...

There is no voter fraud that is just a distraction used by the criminal Republican party that has been tampering with vote counts for years!

The Democratic party is too spineless (or complicit?) to take a stand against the systematic theft of our freedom.

If the American people wake up and realize the fraud that has been inflicted upon them it will be the end of Republican rule!

Form a People's Party and take down our fake elections!
+2 # USADUDE 2017-07-14 01:24
The Russian trump connection is clearly strong. Bernies observations aren't new, we can discuss these and other issues there is no binary choice like our Kremlin apologist and his propaganda suggests.

As long as we are susceptible to Russian propaganda, active measures and corruption of one of our major parties we can't focus on our internal structures that need remediation. We can't look to politicians or politics to fix our inequality as long as our international competitors are mucking about in our inboxes hacking and exploiting our divisions. If Jr and his email clearly confirm collusion between DJT & Russia so focused on winning at all costs because that's all they know. There is nothing patriotic about trump. No sacrifice for our country never ever was won't start now.

Bernie brings up what Bernie brings up. Because as long as fake people like djt are running our country with help from Russia we will never elect a true public servant like Bernie. We just get treasonous bastards like mitch I don't see Russian meddling because it might cost me power so I will ignore my gang of 8 briefing because I want power for my party so let the Russians run amok why should I care they are helping me.
With treasonous behavior like that we should focus on Russian embrace of the GOP and trump. Got to keep focused on the act of war committed against our democratic form of governance while identifying domestic issues that need our attention. We can walk & chew gum simultaneously.
+12 # Anonymot 2017-07-14 02:38
Bold Action? Absolutely, starting with you, if it's not already too late.

You need to get OUT of the Democrat Party which is no longer democratic. Let Hillary have the ruin she made of it, she's a loser.

You need to take 2 Bold Actions:
1. Start a Progress Party.
2. Develop a realistic foreign policy, a
no-war policy. Being President of the United States is not just about your bread & butter social issues. There's a world out there!
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-15 06:05
Anon -- I'm coming to the realization that it is just too hard to start a new party in the US. I was a strong Obama supporter in 2008 but by 2012 I was finished with him and the demoratic party. I switched to the Greens and was active in Green party building. I voted Green in 2012 and 2016. But now I'm coming to the conclusion that the Greens aren't going anywhere.

I think it may be easier to push the Clinton/Podesta s out of the Demo party. The Clintons/Podest a are really organized crime bosses. They could be investigated for illegal financial transactions and be prosecuted. This would clean out the party.

But Sanders needs to declare a Democratic Party Convention this Fall or Winter. It will be a grass roots convention where members of the party can debate and pass resolutions reforming the party. He needs to assert at the Convention that Democratic party members are like "stockholders" or are the "owners" of the party. They determine the future of the party.

Don't invite the Clintons. This would be an overt hostile take over of the Demo party.

Note -- it was FBI director Robert Mueller who buried the investigation of criminal activity in the Clinton Foundation way back in the early 2000s. Mueller is part of the Clinton crime family. This will come out.
+2 # tm7devils39 2017-07-14 02:45
Bernie...Bernie ...if only you hadn't kept your misplaced loyalty to the DP - and joined J. Stein on the Green
ticket(like she asked you to do) - you would be president now and all the crap we have gone through, plus the
crap we will face in the future with Trump, would not have come to pass and we would have had a viable third
party. Most polls showed that with a Clinton/Trump run-off in the general election, Trump would win - whereas
the polls showed that with a Sanders/Trump run-off, you would have won. It really was a no-brainer.
I hope you can help get us back no track...but it will be an uphill battle...maybe an impossible one before
we implode as a country. It might be that we are past the point of no return.
A worse case scenario...Trump
being kicked out as POTUS and Pence filling the top which point we will fall even farther down the rabbit hole.
If only...if only...
+18 # Blackjack 2017-07-14 07:36
Bernie is the only politician paying attention to what real people are clamoring for. The MSM and the Dem Party have their own agenda--keeping the money rolling in to their benefit. If Bernie is successful, he will have to do it without mainstream Dems. That word "bold" scares them to death. They tossed it out of their vocabulary years ago!
+22 # Sweet Pea 2017-07-14 08:23
Bernie Sanders seems to be one of the very few politicians that has not been bought-out by the wealthy. The wealthy control our elections and therefore"own" the politicians who make laws to benefit the wealthy. It will only get worse if we allow it!
-5 # Trumpistheswamp 2017-07-14 09:05
So where is your"bold action" Bernie?? Joining and building the Green Party would be a bold action. We would have a party as big or bigger than both the rethuglican and corporacrat party OVER NIGHT if you got on board. We need it now, please step up!
+3 # Wally Jasper 2017-07-14 12:15
FYI, there is tremendous energy building to draft Bernie to form a People's Party, a party of the People, by the People and for the People. It would appeal to a much larger segment of society than the Green Party as it would be built around all the issues that affect the 99% of us—the issues that Bernie is continually addressing. Go to and get on board.
-3 # Trumpistheswamp 2017-07-16 00:19
The Green Party reflects the same values of which you speak, pro environment, anti war/imperialist , pro working class, anti billionaires class, pro human rights.... It's all there already, just needs a few charismatic souls to sell it.
+5 # LionMousePudding 2017-07-14 10:01
I read elsewhere that Bernie was backtracking on Single Payer.

Whether he was backtracking and the petition I also signed changed his mind; or whether the source was mistaken; I am so relieved to see him advocate it here.

+2 # elkingo 2017-07-14 11:12
Right on Bernie as usual. Covers all the main points and reads like a new Bill of Rights or even Constitution. But c'mon Bernie, why not go all the way? World socialism now. The only truly systemic answer. We can't truly be cool until the rest of the world is. And I don't mean the promulgation of 'gunpoint democracy" as all the recent presidents have enacted. Stop capitalism, you stop ISIS.

Was to Burlington, VT recently. You must have done a hell of a job: the place is lovely.
-1 # ericlipps 2017-07-15 06:36
"Why not go all the way"?

"World socialism now" is an impractical vision. One might as well ask for "Mars colonization now" (as Lyndon LaRouche does, or at least used to). Neither one is going to happen.

And in America, especially, socialism faces a long, tough uphill climb. The S-word has been profanity to most Americans since the 1880s. If Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee last year, the Trumpabteilung would have hammered him into the ground with it.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-15 17:17
eric -- you raise one of the great ironies of US politics. The term "socialism" is very much disliked and distrusted, but genuine socialist programs like social security, medicare, public schools, national parks, interstate highway system and many more are among the most valued parts of America.

Americans have been brainwashed by the capitalist class to believe that, as Thatcher said, there is no such thing as society. There are only individuals. So they just don't know that all people work together to have an interstate highway system or public schools.

You are right. The Trumpabteilung would hammer any socialist. But it needs to be explained to them how a society works. Just don't use the word socialism. They react to the word, not the programs.
-2 # elkingo 2017-07-14 11:14
I think they're right Bernie: GO GREEN!
0 # elkingo 2017-07-14 11:24
OK, so maybe not Greens. But a new 3rd party. Get out of the perpetual capitalist Rep/Dem much and mire. There is no real ideological Left party (i.e. Socialist) party in this country. Give us one!
0 # Shorey13 2017-07-14 12:02
All good, Bernie, but "bold action" is anathema to the Democratic leadership. They won't even agree to back National Healthcare, lest it disturb their friends and contributors on Wall Street.

As for the Green Party, it is a one-trick pony that has never, ever, promoted economic justice.

Please, please announce that you and Elizabeth Warren are forming a new, Progressive Party, with a platform including National Healthcare, vigorous anti-trust action, Net Neutrality, and a guaranteed universal income that will make the adjustment to AI (in all it's manifestations) less draconian.
0 # ericlipps 2017-07-15 06:43
A third party won't go anywhere in this country until the Electoral College is abolished. Like it or not, the presidency defines U.S. politics, and the EC is set up to virtually mandate a two-party system (because of the constitutional requirement that any candidate win an absolute majority of its votes to become president).

A strong third party would throw one presidential election after another into the House of Representatives , where people like Paul Ryan could control the outcome. And a third party which can't ever capture the presidency will never be strong.

So get rid of the EC and go to instant-runoff voting (look it up). Under such a system, a third party might actually have a shot. And build that party's base of officeholders from the bottom up, rather than leaping for the white House first.
-1 # USADUDE 2017-07-15 21:43
3rd party 3rd party blah blah Eric is 100% right. Do any of our friends advocating for a 3rd party or yet another new party have any idea how difficult ballot access in all 50 states would be/is? The Greens still don't have it. Folks the fight for the heart & soul of Team Blue Pill, no not viagra, the once & future Democratic Party, you know the party of FDR,JFK & that old warmonger I marched against as a child in the 60s. We don't have a viable alternative political vehicle ready to transform our country from oligarchy back to a representative democracy other then the sclerotic Democratic Party. So let's inject so life back into the old girl and show the money changers the door.

In a country where over 40% of eligible voters aren't even registered a 3rd party is a masturbatory exercise, feels good but doesn't bring about new life and will be ignored by corporate media and crushed by an avalanche of Koch network billions.

The fight is for control of the Democratic Party the only party that today can be used for progressive change in the USA. Yet another party only divides us. The moderate GOP were voted out of their party and took over our party with Clinton DLC money. Time for the real Democrats to reclaim the party of Social Security & Medicare/Medica id with a New New Deal that Bernie campaigned on and President Swamp Creature used to fool the Rubes who voted for a Grifter TV con man who didn't even make the decisions of who got fired on his TV show. No 3rd party

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.