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Sanders writes: "You can't be an American company only when you want a massive bailout from the American people. You have also got to be an American company, and pay your fair share of taxes, as we struggle with the deficit and adequate funding for the needs of the American people."

Sen. Bernie Sanders gestures as he speaks at the California Democrats State Convention. (photo: AP)
Sen. Bernie Sanders gestures as he speaks at the California Democrats State Convention. (photo: AP)

Are You With America or the Cayman Islands

By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

09 February 13


hen the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street drove this country into the deepest recession since the 1930s, the largest financial institutions in the United States took every advantage of being American. They just loved their country - and the willingness of the American people to provide them with the largest bailout in world history. In 2008, Congress approved a $700 billion gift to Wall Street. Another $16 trillion in virtually zero interest loans and other financial assistance came from the Federal Reserve. America. What a great country.

But just two years later, as soon as these giant financial institutions started making record-breaking profits again, they suddenly lost their love for their native country. At a time when the nation was suffering from a huge deficit, largely created by the recession that Wall Street caused, the major financial institutions did everything they could to avoid paying American taxes by establishing shell corporations in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens.

In 2010, Bank of America set up more than 200 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands (which has a corporate tax rate of 0.0 percent) to avoid paying U.S. taxes. It worked. Not only did Bank of America pay nothing in federal income taxes, but it received a rebate from the IRS worth $1.9 billion that year. They are not alone. In 2010, JP Morgan Chase operated 83 subsidiaries incorporated in offshore tax havens to avoid paying some $4.9 billion in U.S. taxes. That same year Goldman Sachs operated 39 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens to avoid an estimated $3.3 billion in U.S. taxes. Citigroup has paid no federal income taxes for the last four years after receiving a total of $2.5 trillion in financial assistance from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis.

On and on it goes. Wall Street banks and large companies love America when they need corporate welfare. But when it comes to paying American taxes or American wages, they want nothing to do with this country. That has got to change.

Offshore tax abuse is not just limited to Wall Street. Each and every year corporations and the wealthy are avoiding more than $100 billion in U.S. taxes by sheltering their income offshore.

Pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly and Pfizer have fought to make it illegal for the American people to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and Europe. But, during tax season, Eli Lilly and Pfizer shift drug patents and profits to the Netherlands and other offshore tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Apple wants all of the advantages of being an American company, but it doesn't want to pay American taxes or American wages. It creates the iPad, the iPhone, the iPod, and iTunes in the United States, but manufactures most of its products in China so it doesn't have to pay American wages. Then it shifts most of its profits to Ireland, Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Without such maneuvers, Apple's federal tax bill in the United States would have been $2.4 billion higher in 2011.

Offshore tax schemes have become so absurd that one five-story office building in the Cayman Islands is now the "home" to more than 18,000 corporations.

This tax avoidance does not just reduce the revenue that we need to pay for education, healthcare, roads, and environmental protection, it is also costing us millions of American jobs. Today, companies are using these same tax schemes to lower their tax bills by shipping American jobs and factories abroad. These tax breaks have contributed to the loss of more than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs and the closure of more than 56,000 factories since 2000. That also has got to change.

At a time when we have a $16.5 trillion national debt; at a time when roughly one-quarter of the largest corporations in America are paying no federal income taxes; and at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high; it is past time for Wall Street and corporate America to pay their fair share.

That's what the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act (S.250) that I have introduced with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is all about.

This legislation will stop profitable Wall Street banks and corporations from sheltering profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes. It will also stop rewarding companies that ship jobs and factories overseas with tax breaks. The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated in the past that the provisions in this bill will raise more than $590 billion in revenue over the next decade.

As Congress debates deficit reduction, it is clear that we must raise significant new revenue. At 15.8 percent of GDP, federal revenue is at almost the lowest point in 60 years. Our Republican colleagues want to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, the veterans and the most vulnerable by making massive cuts. At a time when the middle class already is disappearing, that is not only a grossly immoral position, it is bad economics.

We have a much better idea. Wall Street and the largest corporations in the country must begin to pay their fair share of taxes. They must not be able to continue hiding their profits offshore and shipping American jobs overseas to avoid taxes.

Here's the simple truth. You can't be an American company only when you want a massive bailout from the American people. You have also got to be an American company, and pay your fair share of taxes, as we struggle with the deficit and adequate funding for the needs of the American people. If Wall Street and corporate America don't agree, the next time they need a bailout let them go to the Cayman Islands, let them go to Bermuda, let them go to the Bahamas and let them ask those countries for corporate welfare.

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+130 # Rick Levy 2013-02-09 19:55
The greed and hypocrisy of corporate America are mind boggling. State socialism for these "persons", social Darwinism for everyone else.
+61 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-02-10 03:56
If Bernie Sanders can get his bill passed to reduce tax avoidance, he is truly a hero. What he does not state is that tax avoidance is legal. Tax evasion is not illegal. That is why corporations can legally avoid paying taxes to the U.S. treasury. So, I say to Bernie (whom I think is a great asset to America)what I say to the fat lady when she goes to the beauty salon, "good luck to ya!!!!!"
+27 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-02-10 12:04
Clarification: While tax avoidance is legal, and the IRS allows those who qualify to take exemptions and deductions to legally avoid paying taxes in those instances, tax evasion which was formally illegal in many instances by lobby power has become legal.
+6 # Cassandra2012 2013-02-10 15:24
Quoting Eldon J. Bloedorn:
If Bernie Sanders can get his bill passed to reduce tax avoidance, he is truly a hero. What he does not state is that tax avoidance is legal. Tax evasion is not illegal. That is why corporations can legally avoid paying taxes to the U.S. treasury. So, I say to Bernie (whom I think is a great asset to America)what I say to the fat lady when she goes to the beauty salon, "good luck to ya!!!!!"

And to the fat guy in the steam room?
+1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-02-10 22:50
As long as they don't lobby to make illegal IRS loop holes and deductions legal, they have a chance "to become beautiful." I hope they don't choose a beauty salon.
+2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-02-11 19:06
Frankly, I'm very happy that we have RSN. Why? Creates healthy discussion and healthy activity among those of us who like and want and pledge to uphold Democracy. OK, I'm on a fixed pension, yet I contribute what I can to Reader Supported News. For those who have not yet resolved to kick in some "bucks," I quote Shakespeare: "our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt." The good we may lose is if RSN cannot pay their excellent staff because some of us do not contribute, donate some well-earned cash. (I know, it's not easy. What is worthwhile that is "easy?")
+31 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-02-10 08:44
Yes, Rick, and sooooo thankful I am for Bernie Sanders and other so brave and determined truth tellers. It's hard to present, and even harder to hear - truth re. all our greed and power staph infection, creating longtime and ever worsening Bushwhacking and Kochsucking (a.k.a. enslavement of all we the sheeple while the villainaire rulers delight in their coup d'etat). But truth is critical, as is critical thinking by our so MSD'd (manipulated, spun, distracted) people.
+75 # KrazyFromPolitics 2013-02-09 20:24
For years before the financial debacle of 2007, I have wondered if the Caymans, or Switzerland, or, now, the Netherlands or any country siphoning off money for the purpose of tax avoidance is an act of war. Not unlike laundering crime money. What the hell, we have been at war since WWII. Yet, I don't recall any of the counties that we have engaged since WWII doing anything to justify attacking them in our so-called police actions without a declaration of war by Congress. Korea? Viet Nam? Even Iraq ! was about the oil not Kuwait.

Yet, for years small "neutral countries" hidden money, aka part of the national treasure, with no consequence. I'm sure it has been this way, because off-shore accounts smell of unaccountable white-collar crime.

I hope Senator Sanders' bill gets traction, but I'm not hopeful.
+102 # Virginia 2013-02-09 22:49
I think Bernie needs to be speaking directly to the President.
+28 # cmp 2013-02-10 01:43
Very well put, Virginia. Very well put.

We saw how Occupy was brutally beat back and smeared in over 25 cities.. So, the Congress? Senate? Right now?

But, this pure corruption of a 2 tiered tax system runs much deeper than just revenue.

These colonialist, Trans National Corps will never truly invest in a Country they've already colonized unless they are forced, (tariffs & taxes are much higher) and that ain't gonna be happening any time soon..

Or, we can at least start chipping away at some of their monopolistic domination tools to create some kinda competition..

If, the People continue to welfare all their domestic labor costs plus some Chump Change left over to further buy / bribe their Political Stooges.. Then, who in the heck will ever be able compete with that? This, just has to stop.. Now!

I never thought I would say this.. "Uhm, maybe, we should have Bernie speaking to the WTO for us, too.." lol.!
+36 # overanddone 2013-02-10 04:31
I think Senator Sanders is and needs to be talking to US. To You And Me And Rick Levy,and Krazy From Politics And Dave M.
To all Americans, We still have a voice, it is our wallet our paycheck that they hear, not the words on this site or those like it. Its is accounts closed, credit cards canceled. Find out the Companies that steal from us (US) and refuse to do business with them, refuse to invest in them, local banks and credit unions can handle the banking, local stores the goods we buy at Walmart and if no alternative exist such as gasoline let's do all we can to buy less. Sure pound on your congressman and Senators but in the end they will do just like BOA they will side with the biggest campaign donors.
+16 # flippancy 2013-02-10 06:08
Quoting Virginia:
I think Bernie needs to be speaking directly to the President.

If you've been paying attention you would know he has done that numerous times.
+19 # Lolanne 2013-02-10 08:49
Quoting Virginia:
I think Bernie needs to be speaking directly to the President.

Yes, and so do we!
-15 # RLF 2013-02-10 09:11
Schumer will stop this bill...a fake Democrat like Obama.
+5 # tm7devils 2013-02-10 23:47
If Sanders was president...we would know exactly where the buck stops...and its course would be changed!
+5 # pbbrodie 2013-02-11 09:08
I think Bernie needs to BE the President!!!
+32 # DaveM 2013-02-09 22:51
I would happily move to the Cayman Islands, but I don't have enough money to qualify for residency there.
-113 # Doc E 2013-02-09 23:11
Sanders should move to N. Korea, his mecca of "freedom!" Lower taxes and quit attacking those who create JOBS and it won't be an issue.
+38 # rockieball 2013-02-10 08:32
Just what jobs have they created, outside of lawyers and bookkeepers?
+33 # RLF 2013-02-10 09:14
You're probably one of these assholes that think industry needs an amnesty to bring all of their off shore money home to create jobs. They already took the jobs overseas...that is WHY they need the amnesty. They aren't gooing to change that until there is no advantage...mea ning you sir, need to make Chinese wages and then everything is hunky-dorey!
+29 # jon 2013-02-10 09:37
"Lower taxes and quit attacking those who create JOBS and it won't be an issue."

This old canard is so painfully obviously - and historically - baseless, I can only wonder why it is still knee-jerk reaction offered with all evidence to the contrary.
+16 # X Dane 2013-02-10 13:37
It sounds to me like you do not realize that the taxes are the LOWEST they have been since the presidency of EISENHOWER???

Look it up. It is true, and there are many, that can certainly afford to pay more tax. The people,whose MONEY are making MORE MONEY!!

They are certainly not working hard and earning their money by their own sweat, unlike the poor and the middle class.
+3 # pbbrodie 2013-02-11 09:12
Why did you address this to Jon???
Doc E is who you should have been addressing. Jon was pointing out the absurdity of Doc E's comment about lowering taxes.
+2 # X Dane 2013-02-11 13:30
Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I didn't pay enough attention to the quotation mark.

I apologize Jon, please excuse the mistake.
0 # Depressionborn 2013-02-12 14:16
Imagine a time when the government knew nothing about the money in your bank. It cared nothing about how much you made, where you made it, and what you did with it. You could take your earnings in gold, silver, paper, or anything else, and never filed a sheet with the government.

How you earned a living was none of the business of the political class. For that matter, your bank account could be under a false name and absolutely no one cared.

This was the world of a mere 100 years ago in the United States. That's why it was called the "land for the free."

Back then, all federal revenue -- tiny by today's standards -- came from a tax on imported goods.
0 # Merschrod 2013-02-10 16:29
Bull Roar
+62 # angelfish 2013-02-10 00:25
I'm beginning to believe that Bernie Sanders is the ONLY Politician in Washington who gives a Rat's A** about this Country and her struggling people! NO ONE speaks truth to power like he does. The rest of them are tone deaf and focused on their OWN personal agendas. Keep on keeping on, Bernie. You're the squeaky wheel that WILL eventually get the grease! God Bless you and keep you safe and healthy!
+15 # X Dane 2013-02-10 13:29

I think Bernie Sanders,...who I admire...
Has constituents, who are more sensible, ....and I really think, are more... intelligent, as opposed to many of the deep red southern states or purple states.

Consequently, he is not in need of all that corporate money, and can be more honest and forceful.

Before you hit me over the head, for my remark about the red states.....Ther e's LOUIS GOMERT, an idiot who is re-elected time after time and another idiot in Georgia, Brown, . He is unbelievable, and now is considering running for Saxby Chamblis' seat I think. The voters who send these guys to congress are NOT bright.
+66 # Joe Bob 2013-02-10 01:02
Time to arrest the Bankers, take their Cayman accounts down, take all their profits and taxpayer handouts and nationalize the banks.
Follow Iceland's lead.
Spank the Banks
We are weenies.
+10 # angry 2013-02-10 01:08
The handwriting is on the wall. Tax havens have been exposed and the US will now shut them down. Especially with Bernie's Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act. But before they go, the politicians on the other end will confiscate the loot, claiming it to be illegal. What a happy ending.
+45 # X Dane 2013-02-10 01:18
I wonder if it is possible to turn things around since all these companies are sitting on so much money and have the politicians in their back pockets. It seems a vicious catch 22. I wonder how we can break the deadlock???

I sure wish Bernie Sanders a lot of luck.
He is the most courageous person in Congress. And we all need him.
+4 # grouchy 2013-02-10 04:17
Sure you can do it that way! The system is rigged to let it happen. Great too if you have the bucks to flow with the tide.
+24 # sandyclaws 2013-02-10 06:37
When a bank robber was asked why he robbed banks, he said because that's where the money is! Maybe we should move our troops to the Cayman Islands from Afganistan. A lot safer for the troops and we'll make money instead of spending it!
It's no wonder corporations have these welfare plans, they own the best congressmen money can buy. Get rid of the Republicans and we can get the corporations paying taxes again and also get our jobs back.
+34 # walt 2013-02-10 07:20
Despite all the blame being thrown around, this is the ultimate source of the world deficit--offsho re tax havens.

People have a right to demand an end to it and that corporate profiteers and vulture capitalists pay their share as Bernie states.
+28 # Linwood 2013-02-10 08:40
Deficits, a skewed tax code, unacceptable levels of inequality, persecution of whistle-blowers , undermining of public education, erosion of civil rights... The list is too long. But everything that's wrong with this country, EVERYTHING, can be fixed with public financing of elections. The fundamental question is, how do we do that?
+16 # bobby t. 2013-02-10 09:43
John Hope Franklin, one of my teachers and a great American historian, taught me a theory explaining revolutions: The Theory of Rising Expectations.
This theory says if you feed high expectations, in our case "The American Dream," to the lower and middle classes, and then snatch it away from them, you fuel the disappointment (a very strong emotion, like the one the early Americans felt when they felt they were British "citizens" and the English passed the Stamp Act and the Tea Tax without their approval, in effect telling them they were not citizens and had no say in how they were going to be treated.)and that emotion can lead as in America, France, and Russia, the Arab Spring,to giant and bloody revolutions.
FDR knew this, and in order to save capitalists from revolution from an American Communist Party,he created the two (other)great socialist programs we have, Social Security, and Medicare.
He also created huge job programs to help the people suffering from the starvation and everything else during the depression. He never got the love from the rich in our country. They stupidly cursed him instead. He saved their butts, and they still talk about him as the anti-Christ and cash their SSI checks monthly...,
+7 # X Dane 2013-02-10 13:10
bobby t.

I thought I was correct, but to make doubly sure I Googled it, and I AM CORRECT.
It WAS Lyndon Johnson, and congress during his term in office, which started Medicare and medicaid. Look it up yourself
+12 # bobby t. 2013-02-10 09:57
Obama tried, but failed in my estimation, to do the same thing FDR did, pass a socialist health plan, and wound up with a mess, ObamaCare. It is a first step alright, right into a swamp. It may be a fatal mistake.
FDR would have gotten us single payer or at least the public option.But that would have pissed off the drug companies and huge insurance companies that give millions every year to pay off Washington. In the first month of the first term, the drug companies made a deal with the president and gave him eighty billion towards Obamacare over ten years. Eight billion a year. They will make three trillion in that time. Use the math people.
Note how the Drug store chains fix prices because the job to stop them went from D.C. to the states somewhere along the line from the Sherman Anti Trust Act. I never see Bernie talk about that one, as it too affects millions of people on Medicare who can't afford their drugs.(My daughter lives in England because of that system. Her husband has MS.)
Single payer, and free college education laws would be enough to stop a revolution here. In the next four years, our president better get on the stick, both for the "forty seven percent" and for the World because of climate change. The World is watching, and thankfully, so is Senator Sanders.
Bernie, please start talking about the drug store heist of the public. Thanks in advance.
+9 # motamanx 2013-02-10 12:33
Obama didn't have much help from the party of NO. In FDR's time there were honorable Republicans. That doesn't seem to be the case now. It's a cabal somehow dedicated to the fact that the opposition should never get any credit for anything. Mitch McConnell is a pimple in the ass of progress.
+3 # Rain17 2013-02-10 17:42
The other thing is that FDR had many, many more Democrats in the House and Senate than Obama did. At their peak I think Democrats controlled 75% of the seats in both Houses of Congress. Obama never came close to having majorities that large.
+4 # X Dane 2013-02-10 13:03
bobby t.

I think you give FDR too much credit. He did NOT institute Medicare.....Ly ndon Johnson did. Social Security was a big step in helping the less well off, and really a hated step by the majority of the wealthy. He would never have been able to implement medicare ....roo.
+5 # Rain17 2013-02-10 17:31
FDR would have probably been able to get us the public option or single-payer because he had overwhelming Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. When you factor in conservative and moderate Democrats, Obama never had enough votes for the public option or single-payer. So the comparison to FDR is just not apt. If FDR had to deal with the Congresses Obama faced he would have had significant difficulties getting the New Deal passed.

I have dealt with the healthcare crisis firsthand. I saw firsthand how an uninsured relative of mine put off care until it was too late, dying of cancer. Now I can't say that having insurance would have saved her--there are those with great insurance whose cancers get detected who still die--but she would have had more options. Obamacare and the state exchanges would have helped her and perhaps might have saved her life.

Obamacare is probably the best healthcare reform we will see in near to midterm unfortunately. The problem is that there is a significant minority, if not a majority, of Americans who honestly believes that "only those on welfare" don't have access to health insurance. They believe that, were it not for their decision to "have cell phones, cable TV, and Internet", they could afford insurance. Alternatively there are tons of Americans, including many liberals, who believe that you can show up at the emergency room, get care, and not have to pay. More in next post.
+5 # Rain17 2013-02-10 17:36
Continued from last post. . . .

I literally have had the same argument over and over again with many friends, including many of whom who happen to be Democrats and liberals, that, no the emergency room isn't free. Now perhaps they don't collect from everyone who shows up there, but they damn sure will send collection agencies and garnish paychecks. Indeed a New York Times article I read about a year mentioned how one hospital in MN hired a contractor to hound patients to get money at each step of the way. This company even embedded staff with doctors.

And then yet you have others who are resistant to any form of national healthcare because "they don't want to lose the right to pick their own doctor". The irony is that insurance companies often decide which doctors they'll visit. But they fear having to report to some large, scary, Soviet-Style building staffed with unfriendly bureaucrats whose only mission in life is to prevent them from seeing their doctor and getting the care they need. They fear having to wait months on end for care, even though many doctors here in the US don't have openings for several weeks.

Alternatively you still have others who believe that national healthcare will result in "higher taxes for a social welfare benefit program that will reward and enable pathological/ir responsible behavior". More in next post.
+7 # Rain17 2013-02-10 17:41
...Continued from last point

In their fantasies they envision their taxes supporting a welfare program where the beneficiaries will be "those people"--i.e., the mythical uneducated, unemployed welfare queen with five kids getting all these checks every month--and they will have to wait in line while said welfare queen rushes to the front. They don't think they will get good care and they think their tax dollars will promote/reward/ enable irresponsible behavior.

The tragedy is that most Americans who have benefits through work will never see the flipside of the US healthcare system. They don't believe that there are those who want coverage, but can't afford either due to low salary, their employees not offering it, or having pre-existing conditions. In their mind it's "only the lazy and shiftless" who don't have insurance.

For those reasons we are not likely to get single-payer or national healthcare anytime soon. There are too many Americans opposed to it. Against this backdrop that President Obama was able to get ANY healthcare bill passed is a miracle.

Obamacare was hardly a panacea and it doesn't come close to solving the healthcare crisis. But it does provide some help to some people and it is a step forward. I'll glad take it over having nothing at all.
+3 # X Dane 2013-02-10 22:31
Rain 17
Thank you very much for setting it straight.
You are so right about the attitude of a great many of our country men and women.

Obamacare certainly is far from perfect, BUT it is the needed START, I am sure it will be improved upon as time goes on, and now a lot of people with preexisting conditions can get help.

Imagine,.... giving birth, means you have a preexisting condition?? And if you had skin problems when you were a teenager and saw a dermatologist.. ..same thing.
0 # Selwick 2013-02-11 17:31
Brilliant analysis. Thanks Rain17
+15 # wwway 2013-02-10 10:07
The wealthy buy the politicians who make the rules too look after the wealthy.
As part of his 2008 campaign Obama spoke of this problem. Americans generally don't seem to be willing to do much about it.
In the 1950's talk of the rich included Swiss bank accounts. As emerging middle class evangelicals moved to the right there were dreams of Mercedes and Swiss bank accounts. This may speek to the lack of will to address tax cheating. Trouble is, middle class Americans don't have Swiss or Cayman Island accounts and their dream is still worth letting the rich get off scott free. The thinking is irrational but serves the wealthy very very well doesn't it?
+14 # Walter J Smith 2013-02-10 11:42
It is so refreshing to read a decent, civil politically informed voice of sanity!

How uncharacteristi c of US Senators!

Here are the primary reasons for socialism: 1) the grotesque bipartisan political irresponsibilit y in Washington, D. C.; 2) the alarmingly obscene criminal behavior of US corporate giants; 3) the predictable political & moral lethargy of the US voter.

Why is there even a question about whether or not we have the radical collapse of education in the US?
+7 # Dhimmi 2013-02-10 11:54
My Representative and my Senators insist that they love America and have to give in to endless debt for our country's good. NOW is not the correct time to go cold turkey on deficit spending. NOW has never been the correct time.

Bernie, please start a Twelve Step Program for elected officials who love re-election more than America.
+3 # motamanx 2013-02-10 12:30
I pushed the red thumb by accident! Should be PLUS 1.
+8 # wrknight 2013-02-10 12:39
Here's a two step program for getting rid of elected officials who only love corporate America.

1. Educate voters on which elected officials truly love America by showing them the voting records while in office.

2. Get the voters to the polls on election days.
+1 # X Dane 2013-02-10 22:33
wrknight in a blue state
+9 # Dr Peter Sloane 2013-02-10 12:27
Sometimes these huge numbers are so big that they're almost impossible to Comprehend. However here in The U.K. our National Health Service - The Envy of the World had a budget of £110 billion $180 billion for the whole of 2010. Every body here gets free health care. FREE health care for $180 billion. Now there's perspective. Put's the bankers bail outs in scale. Mind you, our banks aren't far cleaner than yours.
+6 # bobby t. 2013-02-10 12:40
If you read my blogs above, please note that I said the President met with the big drug companies one or two months into his first term, and of course way before the legislation passed for ObamaCare.
I read this on the back pages of the NYT.....
This was an immediate tip to me that he intended to get that mess,instead of single payer.And perhaps an immediate change once the republicans get the white house?
The question is: Did he figure he could never press for single payer which was really needed to help us get out of our economic mess by raising taxes to pay for single payer? Did he realize he couldn't pass anything rational like that with a rightwing house?
Or did he intend to help all the corporations involved in that important part of our economy, the healthcare business?
My thinking, or intuition is that the mayor of Chicago had something to do with that decision.
I believe that Sanders and a lot of you out there had the same thoughts in mind. I felt it was a great moment in our history and it was a huge mistake by the government.
I also think it led to the type of feelings and thoughts I have read online ever since. There seems to be a big lack of trust. And I do not blame anyone who feels that way. It is dangerous, and it is getting a pushback which is making matters worse. Obama has to make a move to have us trust him again. Right now, I don't. I wish I did.
+5 # Rain17 2013-02-10 17:55
I'll be straight up with you. Like anyone else in his position, I suspect that President Obama looked at the makeup of Congress; and he quickly realized that the votes were NEVER going to be there for the public option or single-payer. Maybe that is why he met with PhRma! early on to arrange the necessary deals so that they would hold their fire. After all it was PhRma! who single-handedly defeated the Clinton Healthcare Plan in 1993-1994.

That being said I don't agree with how Obama pushed the bill. I think he wasted way too much time trying to get Republican support when it was patently clear to even the most uninformed observer that the GOP was never going to agree to support any bill, even the supposedly "moderate" Olympia Snowe. I think he failed miserably in the messaging of the bill and compromised too much way too early. He could have pushed for single-payer and the public option, even if he (privately) knew Obamacare was the best that he could get.

Obama and the Democrats lost the messaging war. I remember how, right after the inauguration, Patients United Now and Conservatives for Patients Rights were running ads "warning against a government takeover of healthcare". I remember how the media was talking about "death panels" and so forth.

Continued in next post. . . .
+6 # Rain17 2013-02-10 17:59
.....Continued from last post.

By May 2009 it was clear to anyone that the bill was in trouble. The messaging war was steadily being lost. And then, when the summer finally arrived, it was the Tea Party who stormed all the townhall meetings. Like on most other policy issues the right was out there early getting their message, shaped the terms of the debate, and were able to put the pro-reform side on the defensive.

But the bottom line here is that national healthcare, the public option, or single-payer never had the votes. The votes were NEVER going to be there. As I wrote in a post above too many Americans believe that the uninsured lack coverage "because they are lazy and irresponsible". Or alternatively they fear "losing the right to choose their own doctor". Yet others believe that you can show up at the emergency room, get care, and not have to pay.

Until these attitudes change you are never going to see single-payer or the public option in the US. That Obamacare passed in the political climate at the time is a miracle.
+5 # Martha Luehrmann 2013-02-10 15:50
Hear, hear, Bernie! Go get 'em!
+2 # bobby t. 2013-02-10 16:16
x dane, thanks for the correction. there are two major bills he signed and i can't think of the other. fdic was also important, etc....
+10 # Sweet Pea 2013-02-10 16:26
Why is it that Bernie Sanders is one of the few people in congress that seems to have a brain and compassion for the people?
+7 # X Dane 2013-02-10 18:16
Sweet Pea.
It is because he is not beholden to corporations or wealthy individuals.
Vermont has intelligent voters who vote for him.

He does not need to go begging for money to run a campaign, and consequently, he doesn't owe anybody but his constituents.

PUBLICLY funded elections is the answer.
+3 # bobby t. 2013-02-10 20:31
many thanks rain17 for your thoughtful and i believe correct remarks. of course FDR had a huge advantage as did LBJ when he passed the civil rights bill and medicare.
all everyone has to do to alleviate the crap that is spread about socialized medicine is speak to a person from canada or england.
yes there is waiting for "elective" surgery, but emergancy stuff is done at once without charge. my son-in-law is alive because he lives in europe, england mostly, and spain now to warm up. he also used france's system when he owned a hotel in Poe. He has MS and needs about a thousand bucks or more of meds right now as he came out of remission. both england and france agreed to give him the meds he needs even though it is very expensive. i play bridge with canadians and every one of them would not trade their system of national health with ours, taxes or no taxes.
-9 # FDRva 2013-02-11 04:06
Bernie Sanders is always 'heroic' in his rhetoric--when the chips ARE NOT down.

On economics, war and civil liberties the Obama Administration very much resembles the Bush Administration.

My grandfather fought such folks in WWII.

Many, since, have warned of 'Fascism with a Democratic Face.'

How ironic that that face belongs to Barry Obama.
+2 # tomtom 2013-02-11 11:04
Now, if we could, also, pass a bill to prevent Homicidal Maniacs from Dodging Prison, for Politicians and Arms Manufacturers., we could save lives and tax dollars.
+1 # DRPJJ 2013-02-11 22:38
Bernie is blowing in the wind if he thinks there is anything that will bring the crooks in our government to justice. Our "Representative s" do not represent us. Its the 1% that benefits from any action taken, no matter how good the intent. We put euphonistic names on bills that ordinary people misconstrue -such as "Right to Work"- when in fact its right to work for less pay and for whatever the employer wants, as in the sweatshops of old, and currently in those countries now manufacturing our goods, so the profits can be hidden away in the Caymen, etc.
Even Fuedal landowners realized the serfs had to win sometimes in order for them to keep their lands producing, but our rich believe they are entitled to everything, including not paying for living in a country where they can become super rich, but believe those without jobs, education or homes are miscreants of a welfare system. We need 300 Bernies to take over from our current government, because just one crying in the wind won't do.

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