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Excerpt: "... a group of people in the House whose views represent a small minority of the American people are holding this Congress hostage. It is time for the American people to stand up and say, enough is enough; the function of the United States Congress is to represent all of our people and not just the wealthy and powerful."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses the issue of deficit reduction, 06/28/11. (photo: LAT)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses the issue of deficit reduction, 06/28/11. (photo: LAT)

Elections Have Consequences

By By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

15 July 11


e are at a pivotal moment in American history, and many Americans watching the deficit talks in Washington are confused, perplexed, angry and frustrated.

This country, which has paid its debts from Day 1, must pay its debts. Anyone who says it is not a big deal for this country to default clearly does not understand what he or she is talking about. This is a nation whose faith and credit has been the gold standard of countries throughout the world. Some people simply say we're not going to pay our debt, that there's nothing to really worry about. Those are people who are wishing our economy harm for political reasons, and those are people whose attitudes will have terrible consequences for virtually every working family in this country in terms of higher interest rates, in terms of significant job loss, in terms of making a very unstable global economy even more unstable.

Our right-wing friends in the House of Representatives have given us an option. What they have said is end Medicare as we know it and force elderly people, many of whom don't have the money, to pay substantially more for their health care. So when you're 70 under their plan and you get sick and you don't have a whole lot of income, we don't know what happens to you. They forget to tell us that if their plan was passed you're going to have to pay a heck of a lot more for the prescription drugs you're getting today. They we're going to throw millions of kids off health insurance. If your mom or dad is in a nursing home and that nursing home bill is paid significantly by Medicaid and Medicaid isn't paying anymore, they forgot to tell us what happens to your mom or dad in that nursing home. What happens?

And what happens today if you are unemployed and you're not able to get unemployment extension? What happens if you are a middle-class family desperately trying to send their kids to college and you make savage cuts to Pell grants and you can't go to college? What does it mean for the nation if we are not bringing forth young people that have the education that they need? They forgot to tell us that. And if you are one of the growing number of senior citizens in this country who are going hungry, they want to cut nutrition programs. And on and on it goes. Every program that has any significance to working families, the sick, the elderly, the children, the poor, they are going to cut in the midst of a recession when real unemployment is already at 15 percent and the middle class is disappearing and poverty is increasing. That's their idea.

Shouldn't the wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations contribute to deficit reduction rather than just the elderly and the sick and working families? They say no. They're going to defend the richest people in this country - millionaires and billionaires - and make sure they don't pay a nickel more in taxes. We're going to make sure there is no tax reform so we can continue to lose $100 billion every single year because wealthy people and corporations stash their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands or Bermuda, and that's just fine. We'll protect those tax breaks while we savage programs for working families.

Those are the choices that our right-wing Republican friends are giving us. Default with horrendous economic consequences for working families in this country and for the entire global economy or massive cuts to programs that working families desperately need.

Neither of those options is acceptable to me. Neither are those options acceptable to the vast majority of the people in this country. Every single poll that I have seen says that the American people want shared sacrifice. They don't want or believe that deficit reduction can simply come down on the backs of the weak and the vulnerable, the elderly, the children, and the poor. They believe that the wealthy and large corporations also have to participate.

In all honesty, I also must tell you that I have been disappointed by President Obama's role in these discussions. He has brought forth and idea which I categorically reject, that we should make significant cuts in Social Security, that when someone when someone reaches the age of 85, they would lose $1,000 as opposed to what they would have otherwise gotten. This senator is not going to balance our budget on the backs of an 85-year-old person who's earning $14,000 a year. And this senator does not agree with the president that we should raise eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, because I don't know what happens to millions of people who have worked their whole lives, finally reach 65 anticipating Medicare but it's not going to be there for them.

One of the most important lessons in all of this is that elections have consequences. Many people now are beginning to catch on to that. It is no secret that our right-wing Republican colleagues did very well in November 2010. They captured the House of Representatives.

If you believe that we have to start investing in America and creating the millions of jobs that this country desperately needs, elections have consequences. If you believe that we have to address the deficit crisis in a way that is responsible, in a way that asks the wealthy and large corporations also to play a role, in a way that calls for cuts in defense spending and bringing our troops home as soon as possible from Afghanistan and Iraq, you have got to be involved in the political process.

In my view a group of people in the House whose views represent a small minority of the American people are holding this Congress hostage. It is time for the American people to stand up and say, enough is enough; the function of the United States Congress is to represent all of our people and not just the wealthy and powerful. your social media marketing partner


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+31 # lark3650 2011-07-15 21:39
I couple of nights ago I watched a movie starring Gary Cooper and directed by Frank Capra - Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. I found this dialog interesting and something the people of this country who have been blessed with so much should think about.....

Longfellow Deeds:
“No matter what system of government we have there will always be leaders and followers. It’s like the road out in front of my house on a steep hill. I watch the cars climbing up everyday. Some make it up the hill lickety-split, some have to shift into second, and some sputter and shake and slip back to the bottom again. Same car, same gasoline but some make it and some don’t. And, I say the fellows who can make the hill on high should stop every once in a while and help the ones who can’t. That is all I am trying to do with this money.”

“It’s like I’m out in a big boat and I see one fellow in a rowboat that is just tired of rowing and another fellow who is drowning. Who should I rescue, the man who is just tired of rowing and wants a free ride, or the man who is drowning? Any ten-year-old child could tell you the answer to that!”
+30 # brianf 2011-07-15 22:24
Bernie, please run for President. So many people would want you to win, and even if you don't, you'll be able to keep Obama honest, help steer the focus of the debate closer to the things that really matter, like global warming and climate change, like the sucking of life and wealth from the middle class and poor to further enrich the rich and the inhuman corporations, like the dying oceans where a mass extinction could soon become unstoppable.

We have to get people to focus on what really matters, like the future of life on earth. It is in very grave danger. The Republicans playing with fire in their handling of the debt limit. They are playing with an inferno in their denial of global warming.
+2 # Jorge 2011-07-19 00:18
Yes Sen. Sanders, challenge this Corporatist President (Tricky Barry) for the Dem nomination. (And please do not keep calling those Repugs as Right-Wing Friends, they are not friends, they do not deserve any respect, they want to destroy the middle class). Sen. Sanders is the closest thing we have to another FDR (desperately needed now). Sanders and Warren for Pres/VP.
+31 # klondikekitty 2011-07-15 23:35
Senator Sanders, i applaud your honesty AND your irate feelings of unfairness towards the wealthy elite and the major corporations, who both believe they will survive and flourish without any help from us middle-class, second-class citizens . . . To them, i say, "And who is going to be left to buy your products, service your vehicles and pump your gas?" and "What are you going to do when you will actually have to get out of your Escalade and take care of yourself?" All these right-wing IDIOTS in the legislature who think they can just roll over the American people indefinitely are going to be surprised when the voters go to the polls in 2012 and kick their butts out of Congress for their selfish, egotistical and greedy behavior!
+21 # m 2011-07-16 00:35
Break up the extremely Narrow Global Corporate grip just a very few massive Global Corporate Conglomerates have on almost all Media Enterprises in America and maybe we will have shot at getting the TRUTH and HONEST REFLECTIONS OF REALITY out to ALL AMERICANS.

How is that possible now, when almost all pipelines for FREE SPEECH and Our Constitutionall y Mandated FREE PRESS are owned and so easily exploited by just a few Global Conglomerates.

If just 5-6 Global Conglomerates own almost all of it, think of the power even just one massive media empire would have in deliberately swaying, manipulating, conning and even stirring anger and division among Americans over straw man nonsense just to break us up into many small groups of Americans against Americans so as to shred any TRUE Majority Political, Social and Economic Interests and Power to pieces.
They could use and coordinate their Cable, TV, Radio, Newspaper, Entertainment, Book Publishing, etc. to pump out the nonsense and validate each other in the process.
When you really think about it, Americans are literally being talked and manipulated into giving it all up--everything, even OUR Republic-- to Global Corporate Interests in the convoluted name of 'Liberty, Freedom and Prosperity for ALL.'

It probably amounts to the Biggest, Most Massive Hoodwinking in Human History...
+18 # john madey 2011-07-16 02:22
When a small group of Nazi sympatihizers in the US did what they could to aid Hitler before and during World War 2 we called them what they most deservedly were: traitors. And the same term was aptly applied to the small group of Communist sympathizers who did what they could to compromise by stealth the United States most important national assets.

S now we have a small group of right wing ideologues in the Congress, a distinct minority who are exploiting their power to bring the country to ruin to effectively seize power from the country's legitimate elected leaders analogous to the strategy of the radical Bolsheviks after the 1917 Russian revolution.

So what do you call these misguided individuals who place their ideology above the greater interests of the country ?

If the Nazi and Communist sympathizers of past decades were traitors to their country, it seems that we now have a new set of traitors in the Congress seeking to exploit their narrowly based power to promote their equally narrow and misguided ideologies.
+6 # maveet 2011-07-16 16:59
Absolutely. Anti-American TRAITORS.
+2 # MylesJ 2011-07-18 12:46

The best comment I've read called Cantor the lead suicide bomber. If he can't have religious purity he will kill the country and be proud of the destruction he caused.
+1 # Jorge 2011-07-19 00:22
Cantor represents the American Taliban.
+16 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-07-16 05:12
Bernie Sanders, I and so many others esteem and applaud you. My only concern in this otherwise so impressive and right on the button article you've written is your assumption that elections are actually electing. Mass elections fraud, including phoney baloney polling that is covered unquestioningly in today's 'mess' media, sets the stage for the karlroving (a.k.a. dirty tricks) erzatz 'elections' that are full of software screwups , disenfranchisem ents, etc. etc. etc.

I mourn the lack of truthful investigation of soooooo much. And, heading the list is investigation of mass election fraud, both overt (i.e. mass funds allowed to be poured into campaigns of Kochsucking pols) and covert, such as no honest, looksees into admissions by software experts, such as the man in the documentary "The Uncounted" who admitted to having his services purchased in Florida by you can guess whom, to 'fix' the software to miscount just enough to swing the elction in the outcome our villainaire rulers wished for. Then there's Ohio and sooooo much more. Dieboldt could be more appropriately named Diedemocracy.

Sorry, but the change we so long and hope for isn't gonna be coming until this election fraud nightmare is recognized and fixed.
+11 # SouthBrun 2011-07-16 05:17
You tell them Mr. Bernie "The Speech" Sanders. You are my hero.
+14 # shirley brazda 2011-07-16 07:19
Yes, Bernie: please run for president! We are living like characters in "The Emperor's New Clothes," and I am drained from the effort. I've worked tirelessly for President Obama, and contributed a lot of money to him and the Democrats. Now it's TIME TO STAND UP. I say this in my church, I say it to my friends, and I am ready to do what's required. What's missing is a figure to rally around. Please, Bernie, run for president.
+14 # miltlau 2011-07-16 07:22
DRASTICALLY increase taxes on incomes over 4% million per year and DRASTICALLY increase taxes on estates of over $50 million.
+13 # genierae 2011-07-16 07:59
I urge all who read this to go to The Center for Media and Democracy, at PR Watch, and read about ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). A whistle-blower has exposed this organization as a Koch sponsored series of meetings where corporate-polit ician committees secretly vote on "model bills" that were designed to change state laws to suit the corporate agenda. This is a cold, heartless attack on the rights of workers and consumers, and even attacks the air and water we consume. We are nearly destroyed by these greedy, inhuman people. Enough!
+6 # genierae 2011-07-16 09:39
I need to add that every one of these so-called legislators is Republican. Big surprise, huh?
+10 # Peacedragon 2011-07-16 09:02
I agree with those who say

+5 # Tee 2011-07-16 10:03
Please run for president. Our president believe that a balance needs to be achieved by equally represented all at the table. But to give this present right wingers equal access is like giving equal access to a poisonist snake and a non-poisonist snake.

He is trying to be a referee between those losing jobs, houses, union rights, and those making millions and billionaires of dollars.

Roosevelt comforted the middle class and discomforted the rich. This president needs to be remained who voted for him and why. Please run Senator Sanders.
+4 # Tee 2011-07-16 10:12
Also, running as an independent, who now make up at least about a third of the electorate; I'm an independent; will not be a direct challenge to the president who is a democrat. So you can't be blamed for taking votes from the democrat.

Please run. You will immediately gain countless supporters like myself who worked hard for Obama's election and are very disillusioned. You can raise money through the internet and use the federal compaign matching funds.

Run Bernie run!
+6 # r morris 2011-07-16 12:11
the lowest level in Hades is reserved for "traitors"
+3 # DPM 2011-07-16 17:00
senator Sanders needs to change his political affiliation long enough to run in the Democratic primaries, then see what happens.
+1 # Md99 2011-07-16 20:20
Sorry, but until we can select " None of the above", we only vote against something and the difference is small. We need to vote out self serving member and our current system does not make that possible.
+2 # Kurt 2011-07-18 12:45
Last fall, the president gave a great deal to the wealthiest among us, in the name of helping many others in trouble (continued Bush tax breaks for the rich for extended unemployment assistance for the masses; the President appears to be doing it again - giving the wealthiest among us something in return for them not destroying our economy ....again. Why is Obama so willing to give so much to so few and hurt so many? Increasingly appears that our "Democratic" president is really just a mid-range Republican - and I've come to wonder if he was virtually a "plant" - two actual conservative candidates, one just so extreme (Plain and co) that it makes the more middle of the road Republican seem OK (Obama). Dont look at his party - look at his behavior and actions - is he behaving like even a mid-range Democrat, or more like a mid-range to conservative Republican. Once we realize that Obama is really a Republican, then we can begin to think clearly about what the next step is.

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